+Flexible as a 2-in-1 and very portable
+Included S-Pen works well and stores in the case
+Comfortable keyboard and accurate touchpad
+Has a USB-C port that supports charging
+Excellent build quality
-Battery life is only average
-Some bloatware, especially Samsung apps
-Speakers could have more bass
This is a very good 2-in-1 from Samsung. It doesn't have any noticeable weak spots. It has a good mix of ports that includes USB-C, is light, and very well constructed. The pricing is on par as well when compared to others with similar build quality. This device is recommended for daily use, business travelers that want an ultrabook but with a larger screen, and students.
I picked up the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 15 with Intel 8th Gen CPU from my local Best Buy. I wanted a travel friendly Windows 2-in-1 with a good screen, keyboard, touchpad, USB-C compatibility, and battery life. My daily driver to this point has been a 2017 MacBook Pro 15 with Touch Bar and I have been testing out many recent Windows laptops including the 2017 models of the Dell XPS 13 (regular and 2-in-1), 2017 ThinkPad X1 Carbon, 2017 Surface Pro, 2017 Galaxy Book, 2017 Spectre x360 13, and others. My thoughts are based on being a frequent business traveler that spends a lot of time in Microsoft Office & Office 365 and the web. I also play some light games like World of Warcraft and League of Legends.
I really like the design. It's a professional and clean silver aluminum body with a dark interior that makes the key lettering pop. The hinges are sturdy and fairly firm to minimize screen wobble. Fingerprints tend to show up on the inside in the keyboard deck area, but are easy to wipe clean. The rounded edges of the body make it easy to carry and nothing digs into your hands. It weighs under 4 pounds, is thin, and very easy to carry around or toss into a bag. The fit and finish is excellent.
The laptop comes with a 15-inch touchscreen at 1080p resolution. It looks good and I think is still an adequate resolution for this screen size. A higher resolution would draw more power and I don't think the tradeoff is worth it for a mobile device. Plus, there is less of a chance of running into Windows text scaling issues. While it doesn't have the thinnest bezels, they are still quite slim and look good. Light bleed is a little more noticeable on this model versus the 13.3 inch model I also own. Text and video are both clear and HDR is supported. The panel is pleasing to look at and is plenty sharp for standard use.
The 3-stage backlit keyboard has a good amount of travel, is relatively quiet, and is easy to type on. My biggest gripe with it is the fact that functions like volume and screen brightness are not the default action for the function key row. I checked the BIOS and there doesn't seem to be a way to enable these by default. The touchpad glides well and makes a satisfying click. It supports gestures and tracks accurately. The device includes the S Pen that slides into the case which is very convenient so you always have it with you and you don't have to worry about figuring out how to attach or secure it to the device like other similar devices. The S Pen does not require batteries and while thin, provides a good mark-up experience. Having used the Apple Pencil and new 2017 Surface Pen, I find it works just as well as those two for casual use.
2 USB 3.0
1 DC Power (1.5mm)
1 USB-C that supports charging and display port - Note - I use the Apple USB-C to HDMI adapter to charge the device and plug it into my monitor with one cable.
1 Headphone/Mic combo port
1 micro SD card
There are two downward firing speakers on the bottom of the case that get loud enough. The audio is clear, but there is a distinct lack of bass that is common in most laptops. They are fine most casual use, but not as good as the newer MacBook Pro models which have amazing audio.
A quad core i7-8500 powers the device and I have not run into any issues with daily tasks. It scored a 4883 on the single core and 14691 on the multi-core Geekbench 4 tests, which is on par with the 2017 MacBook Pro 15's i7-7700HQ processor. There are switchable integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics which are ok for light games, but you are going to have to turn details way down to achieve a decent frame rate. It also has a 2GB Radeon 540 dedicated graphics chip that helps run a bit better (about 50% more powerful than the integrated Intel chip) and both have no trouble driving my Dell 34 inch ultrawide monitor. The included 16GB of DDR4 RAM and SATA 3 256GB SSD are not upgradeable. Wireless performance is good and uses the Intel 8265 card. Bluetooth 4.1 works as expected.
Battery life is just ok. It has a decent sized 54Wh battery and gets about 6-8 hours of casual use with battery saver on. It's not quite as strong as competitors in the early stages of ownership, so I may need to dig into the power plan settings to see if I can make some tweaks. Since the device can charge over USB-C, a portable power bank is an option to help augment the battery. It is worth noting that the 54Wh battery is a bit on the small side when compared to other 15 inch machines, but it also does not have to drive a 4k screen.
The front facing 720p webcam can best be describes as serviceable. It's fine for web conferences, but it's not going to win any awards. Windows Hello facial recognition is supported and works very well.
Heat & Fans
The device gets warm towards the middle back when under load, but the keyboard and touchpad are still comfortable to type on. If you are doing some heavy processing, it will get warm on your lap. The fans are not audible doing normal tasks, but do ramp up if playing a game or other processor intensive tasks. I was not able to detect any coil whine (the bane of every Dell laptop I have used).
The device ships with Windows 10 Home and the Creator Update. There is quite a bit of bloatware installed including McAfee, Samsung Apps, and various Windows store games. The first thing I did was clear all of that stuff off. I would much rather have the Microsoft Signature edition install that you typically only get from the Microsoft Store and other vendors like Lenovo, but a little time doing app housekeeping or a fresh install resolves this. Samsung includes an app for driver updates, but it can also pull from the standard Windows 10 update process. For whatever reason, this newer Samsung Update app is not as good as previous versions as I constantly have to remind it what model of Samsung laptop I have. It also doesn't seem to indicate very well what drivers need updates versus what is already updated. I'd much rather they go back to the old version which was simpler to use and worked very well.