Samsung's produced some very impressive laptops from its Ativ Book 9 line, and for 2015 the company is putting forward a new ultrabook that could be its strongest answer to Apple's MacBook Air yet. The 2015 Ativ Book 9 includes a 12.2-inch display that bests Apple's ultraportable in resolution at 2560x1600. It's also capable of getting super bright, jumping up to a brightness level of 700 nits when you activate its outdoor mode. You'll want to reserve that for emergencies though, since leaving it on surely eats away at the Ativ Book 9's battery — normally capable of lasting 10.5 hours on a charge — in no time at all.
Otherwise, the appearance of this 2015 Ativ Book 9 is similar to others in Samsung's recent lineup. It's all aluminum with a nice trackpad and great keyboard; the company says it's improved those keys further thanks to a scalloped design that's friendlier to your fingers. Inside there are changes, however. This Book 9 features Intel's Broadwell Core M processor, so it won't get you the blistering power of a Razer Blade or MacBook Pro, it'll handle most desktop tasks without any real issue. And on the plus side, it's fanless — something even Apple can't yet say about its lightest laptop. Samsung's also putting an unusual focus on audio with the 2015 Book 9, talking up a built-in Wolfson lossless audio player and native FLAC support as perks for those seeking studio-quality music playback.
Oh, and there's a huge focus on security, too. You can hide individual apps from nosey Starbucks neighbors by hitting Fn10 to select which windows to conceal. And if you're concerned about the NSA constantly streaming a live feed of your webcam, there's also an option to lock down the Book 9's camera and microphone, as seen below. Samsung's put all of this together for a decent price. The 2015 Ativ Book 9 starts at $1,199.99 with 4GB of RAM (that's really not enough) and a 128GB SSD, but paying $1,399.99 gets you 8GB memory and a larger 256GB SSD. It'll start hitting retail in the first quarter of 2015.
Today's announcement isn't entirely a surprise. The new Ativ Book 9 actually appeared on Amazon a tad early. Most of the specs on Amazon's listing are dead on, with one bizarre exception: the processor. Amazon lists the Ativ Book 9's chip as a 0.8GHz Apple A4 processor. We'd expect Amazon to fix up that odd mistake — or internal troll — in short order now that the new Ativ Book 9 is official. What Samsung has here lines up pretty nicely with what we're expecting to see from Apple's next major MacBook Air revision, which will reportedly ship with a Retina display. Samsung impressively got the jump on its rival, but hopefully Mac users won't need to hold out terribly long for something similar.