MacBook Air, Samsung Series 9, ThinkPad X1 compared

Last month (June 2011), both Samsung and Lenovo launched in South Africa their new ultra-portable laptop contenders.

These notebooks are equipped to take on Apple’s MacBook Air and, in the case of the Samsung Series 9, are priced to do so as well.

Samsung goes a step further by being completely brazen in the exterior design the Series 9. There are a few differences, such as the ports and jacks being put on collapsible compartments on either side of the notebook, but its similarity to the MacBook Air is uncanny.

Specifications compared

Ultraportable notebooks
Macbook Air - Lenovo X1 - Samsung Series 9

The table below compares some of the key technical specifications of the devices to one another.

Component MacBook Air 13″ 128GB MacBook Air 13″ 256GB Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Samsung Series 9
CPU Intel Core 2 1.86 GHz, 6MB shared L2 cache Intel Core 2 1.86 GHz, 6MB shared L2 cache Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 Intel Core i5 2537M (1.40 GHz, 3MB cache, turbo up to 2.3 GHz)
RAM 2GB DDR3 (4GB max) 2GB DDR3 (4GB max) 4GB DDR3 (8GB max) 4GB DDR3 (8GB max)
HDD 128GB SSD 256GB SSD from 320GB 7200rpm (160GB SSD max) 128GB SSD (max)
Display 13.3″ 1440×900 LED backlit 13.3″ 1440×900 LED backlit 13.3″ 1366×768 LED backlit, Gorilla glass 13.3″ 1366×768
Graphics Nvidia GeForce 320M Nvidia GeForce 320M Intel HD 3000 Intel HD GT2 integrated
Optical drive None None None None
Recovery media USB USB TBC CD
Battery 50 Wh 50 Wh 38.4 Wh (integrated) 6300 mAh
Weight 1.32 kg 1.32 kg 1.69 kg 1.31 kg
Price R12,999 R14,999 R8,500-R12,500 R13,999

It was disappointing to note that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 had a smaller resolution than the X300 that came before it, causing it to fall short of the MacBook Air in terms of native resolution.


We could also not locate the the X1 at any of the retailers and dealers we contacted, but Lenovo revealed that the retail launch of the ThinkPad X1 is estimated to be the end of July or beginning of August.

It should be noted that a direct conversion from the US price to Rand won’t provide an accurate expected local price as US prices are given without any sales tax or customs added.

At the time of writing the 13-inch MacBook Air was listed as out of stock at ZAStore, but was on special at DigiCape. A 128GB model was going for R12,320 while the version with 256GB of storage was priced at R14,215.

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MacBook Air, Samsung Series 9, ThinkPad X1 compared