It’s not just that the new Pro’s ultra-high-resolution display is unique, at least for now. Its basic form factor–15.4″ screen, no DVD burner–is almost unheard of in the Windows world. Samsung’s 15″ Series 9 is at least vaguely in the same ballpark, and is an interesting computer in its own right. But it’s not all that similar: It’s lighter, cheaper and less powerful. You can’t compare it to the new MacBook Pro and come to any definitive conclusions about which is the better value.
Amusingly, Tim Stevens of Engadget attempts to prove otherwise:
The only other contender we can think of is the 15-inch Samsung Series 9, which starts at a more palatable $1,500. At 3.5 pounds and 0.58 inches deep, it’s barely thicker than the 13-inch version, which is saying a lot, since that’s one of the thinnest Ultrabooks in its own right.
The 15-inch Series 9 is far skinnier and lighter than the MacBook Pro, then, but it matches the MBP in build quality, thanks to a rock-solid unibody aluminum chassis and some funky aquamarine keyboard backlights. Ultimately, too, both deserve to be handled with kid gloves: whichever machine you choose, you’ll find the smooth metal finish is quite vulnerable to scratches and greasy fingerprint smudges.
It’s with the display that the MacBook Pro starts to justify its higher starting price. On its own, the Series 9’s matte, 400-nit 1600 x 900 panel is still worlds better than what you’ll find on most laptops. Certainly, it’s a triumph for Ultrabooks, which tend to get saddled with subpar displays, even on higher-end machines. Still, the Series 9’s SuperBright Plus screen can’t compete with the MBP’s tightly woven pixels and wide, wide viewing angles. On the inside, too, the new MacBook Pro offers potentially better specs, with options for twice the RAM and a more spacious 768GB solid-state drive. It’s also offered with multiple Core i7 processor options, whereas the Series 9 is only available with Core i5, and with integrated graphics only.
These unflattering comparisons aside, the 15-inch Series 9 is still one of our favorite Windows machines — heck, one of our favorite laptops, even. It remains a sterling choice for Windows fans, or anyone who’s willing to spend $1,500 on a notebook, but not $2,200-plus. The two are also well matched when it comes to battery life: the difference in runtime is only about 20 minutes. Even so, if the Retina display MBP is aimed at people who demand the very best, it sweeps at least two key categories: specs and display quality.
But ultimately fails.