LAS VEGAS—Samsung is using CES to show off its first-ever gaming laptop, the Notebook Odyssey, as well an update its Notebook 9 series.
I got some hands-on time with the units at CES, and saw some promising features and design cues. The Notebook 9 15-inch was announced previously, but Samsung showed us a new version with discrete graphics that still maintained the light size and weight.
The Odyssey, which will come in 15.6- and 17.3-inch screen sizes, is built to be easily upgraded. A panel on the bottom can be removed to expand storage and memory. It’s also equipped with a special cooling system called HexaFlow, which can be easily seen on the underside.
Both sizes feature full HD displays and seventh-generation Intel Core i7 processors, but will likely sport different graphics cards. The 15-inch model is confirmed to include an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, while the card used in the larger Odyssey is still being finalized.
Differences don’t end there: the 15-inch version has a maximum solid-state storage capacity of 256GB in addition to a 1TB hard drive, while the 17-inch unit can hold a 512GB SSD and the 1TB hard drive. The larger version also has a maximum of 64GB of memory, while the 15-inch model tops out at 32GB.
The 17-inch Odyssey includes USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.0, while the 15-inch only includes USB 3.0 and 2.0. The units also use different keycaps (0.5mm volcano keycaps on the 17-inch, 0.3mm crater keycaps on the 15). The 17-inch model’s keys feature customizable RGB backlighting, while the 15-inch is just backlight.
Both are shipping in black, but Samsung is considering shipping a white version. The key lighting was really striking against the white chassis, and the color stood out compared to the sea of black gaming laptops we’re used to. The Odyssey will be available early this year, starting at $1,199.
The 15-inch Notebook 9, meanwhile, is super light and portable for its size, weighing just 2.73 pounds. It’s durable thanks to a single-shell chassis, and still felt sturdy for its weight.
What’s new, though, is a model of the laptop that features a discrete Nvidia 940MX graphics—not high-end gaming hardware, but still good enough for gaming, and a feat in a system with its dimensions. It also includes a Core i7-7500U processor and 16GB of memory.
The screen is non-touch but sports full HD resolution. The system also boasts USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, two USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 2.0 port. For storage, there’s a 256GB NVMe solid-state drive on board. There are several Notebook 9 SKUS available, starting with the 13-inch i5 at $999, the 13-inch i7 for $1,199, the 15-inch i7 for $1,199, and the 15-inch i7 with the 940MX at $1,399.