Samsung's 11.6-inch ultraportable has been refreshed with more competitive pricing and Intel Sandy Bridge processors. The refresh presages a similar update from Apple for its MacBook Air, though it remains to be seen if Apple can match Samsung's more aggressive pricing.
Like Apple, Samsung offers 13.3-inch and 11.6-inch ultraslim, ultralight, aluminum-clad laptops. But Samsung is trying to distinguish itself by keeping ahead of Apple on the performance curve.
Samsung's first 11.6-inch Series 9 model (NP900X1A-A01US) used Intel power-efficient "Nehalem" class Core i series processors and graphics silicon. The newest 11.6-inch offering bumps up to Intel's latest Sandy Bridge power-efficient chips.
That puts Samsung two generations ahead of Apple--at the moment, at least. Apple's current MacBook Air models house Intel's older Core 2 Duo chip and Nvidia graphics.
Samsung has also upped the size of the largest solid-state drive offering to 128GB, matching the 11.6-inch MacBook Air.
And it trumps the Air in price, to boot. An 11.6-inch Air with a 128GB solid-state drive, 4GB of memory, and a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo processor is priced at $1,399. Samsung's Sandy Bridge-based model with a similar configuration (see chart below) is priced at $1,249. … Read more