Samsung's Series 9 laptops have a lot to prove. Since the day Samsung showed the first one off at CES last year, they've consistently been priced higher than the equivalent MacBook Air, and that can be a pretty hard sell. If you want a premium Windows machine, though, a MacBook Air just won't do. So when I reviewed the 15-inch Samsung Series 9, I was hopeful that its $1,500 price tag meant it would be the Windows ultrabook of choice going forward.

If you read my review, though, you already know that presumption wasn't quite true. The 15-inch Samsung Series 9 is a gorgeous machine, but in an attempt to stretch the thin form factor to larger dimensions, Samsung wound up with a wobbly hinge, dull speakers, and an unremarkable screen. When I got the chance to test the smaller, cheaper 13-inch version of Samsung's flagship notebook, with Intel's newer Ivy Bridge processors to boot, I leapt at the opportunity to find out if it could make up for its larger relative.

Today, we're looking at the $1,299 Samsung Series 9 with standard specs: a 13.3-inch, 1600 x 900 screen, a brand-new 1.7GHz Core i5-3317U processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB solid state drive, and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. In nearly every way, it's a miniature version of the 15-inch machine. Is it the Windows experience we've been waiting for, though? Let's find out.