Samsung's dual-OS Ativ Q will no doubt dominate the headlines emanating from the company's Premiere 2013 event that just wrapped up, but for some of us the star of the show was another Windows device, the Ativ Book 9 Plus. This horribly disjointed name has been attached to a laptop the likes of which we've literally never seen before.
The 13.3-inch screen squeezes in an unprecedented 3200 x 1800 resolution, and what's dramatically more, Samsung promises it'll go for a full 12 hours of use. Compare that to Apple's newly refreshed MacBook Air, which can go for 13 hours but has to power a much tamer 1440 x 900 display. The Ativ Book 9 Plus also has a touchscreen, which the Apple machine lacks.
Most impressive about Samsung's new flagship laptop, however, is its build quality. Not since the current Air design was introduced by Apple in late 2010 have I felt this enamored and pleased with the construction of a new portable computer. The aluminum unibody exterior is perfectly rigid and robust, and the hinge opens up to a full 180 degrees. The display is well supported whatever angle you choose to position it at, and the single piece of glass covering it lends this machine a subtle elegance.
Whatever Intel and Microsoft may believe about hybrid tablet-laptop devices, there's just no getting away from the fact that the best Windows 8 machines are likely to be purely one or the other. The Ativ Book 9 Plus proves this point by being a perfectly streamlined expression of the ultrabook ideal. Without the physical compromises inherent in creating a convertible device, Samsung has perfected a hardware design that is every bit as delightful and robust as the MacBook Air. And let's not forget about Asus' Zenbook line or Acer's extremely competent Aspire S7. The world of laptops looks to be growing ever richer in desirable machines, with Samsung's star shining brightest tonight.
Tom Warren and Aaron Souppouris contributed to this report