Samsung's Expanded Line of Ultrathin Laptops Pricey, But Sleek

Samsung's ultrathin laptop expansion comes just in time for the back-to-school rush, and that's not a bad thing if you can afford it.

The company's Series 9 line has five new models. Although there's now a wider range of 11-inch and 13.3-inch laptops for consumers to pick from, these are still high-style, premium laptops, much like the original Samsung Series 9.

The 13.3-inch Samsung Series 9 initially launched in February and was very promising as the first true competitor to the MacBook Air, the gold standard of ultrathin laptops. But both the 13.3-inch Series 9 and its 11-inch brother also boasted premium prices, $1650 and $1150, respectively -- even slightly more than the MacBook Air.

The five new models range in price from $1049 to $2049 and offer more processor, memory, and storage options to choose from, while retaining the sleek duralumin design, backlit keyboard, and ultrathin, lightweight (2.89-pound, 0.62-inch) form factor.

For the same specs as the original Series 9 we reviewed -- a Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD -- you could get model NP900X3A-B01US, with a friendlier $1349 price tag. This model is now the lower-end of the three 13.3-inch Series 9 laptops and is priced at about $300 less than the Series 9 when it first launched.

If you want more storage space, you could upgrade to the mid model with 256GB SSD, but it'll cost you $300 more, for a $1649 retail price.

For more than $2000, the 13.3-inch Series 9 model NP900X3A-A05US features an Intel Core i7 processor, 6GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD.

The more compact 11-inch Series 9 version low comes in two models, both with a Core i3 processor. The lower-end model has the same memory and storage configuration as the original 11-inch Series 9 laptop: 2GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. It's $100 cheaper, however, at $1049.

For $200 more, the new 11-inch model upgrades, thankfully, with more memory as well as storage space: 4GB of RAM and a 128 SSD.

The result is a buffet of Series 9 laptop models.

Although the prices are still on the high end for budget-conscious students, prices have come down for the base Series 9 models. Those folks with some money to spend should be pleased with the added variety and performance upgrade options.

Follow Melanie Pinola (@melaniepinola) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter.

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