I’ve just bought one of these babies for my wife… She likes them hot and cool and fashionable and, while I could do with a few extra horse-power, she fell in love with this GORGEOUS Samsung “ultrabook”. The end result was a happy wife and a husband a few thousand bucks poorer.
The Series 9 900X3A (NP900X3A) 13 inches laptop is a really gorgeous machine, I have to agree, and it has some good power under its hoods: 10 times faster than your ordinary netbook, but as light and much thinner than one, it has, in fact, the same power of my development 15.6″ Dell Inspiron 1564 notebook which uses a first gen Core i5 430M processor running at 2.27GHz, while the amazingly beautiful Samsung achieves it with a second gen Core i5 2467M running at 1.60GHz (which means more battery life), and the Samsung still has the advantage of an incredibly fast 128GB SSD that puts the Inspiron hard drive performance to shame!
This IS a pretty powerful machine! … But then, a few hours after the initial install my wife started complaining about the sluggish internet browsing experience she was having with her baby…
WHAT!?! How could a fast machine like that have any problems in simple internet browsing (Facebook, gmail, not even a Flash-based site)!?! She must be wrong… but she was right. It was taking 1 minute to open gmail, 2 to 4 minutes to open Facebook… It was not sluggish, it was UNUSABLE!!! And that was certainly NOT a CPU-related performance problem.
I remembered that I’d read one article reviewing the laptop where the author was having WiFi issues, with drops in the signal quality only centimeters away from the router. Click here for the article. WiFi problems could explain the internet slowness. To test if my WiFi was working properly I did a PING on the router address and these were the results:
The PING was taking very long to respond. A normal response time would be less than 32ms. The average was 781ms, and this was one of the best results I’ve achieved, because now and then the PING wouldn’t reach the destination at all!
But then I remembered that all went so smoothly when I started up the laptop for the first time. I’ve tested the internet download speed and it was over 1MB/s, which is my nominal contract speed. So, what happened to turn this speedy beast into a slug? What was different then? And then: EUREKA! When I first turned on the laptop it was running on power with the AC ADAPTER connected because the battery comes uncharged and the manual says to do so at the first power on. Then I’ve connected the power adapter and did the ping test again:
An average of 24ms for the ping with the router on separate room with two doors in between is not a bad result at all! In fact it is better than what my Inspiron achieved at the same time (31ms).
I immediately thought that this smelled like a configuration problem, more specifically a Power Management/Savings Settings problem. And I was right! Samsung is so plain stupid that it setup a customized power management profile (ironically called “Samsung Optimized”) which set the WiFi power settings to MAXIMUM POWER SAVINGS while running on battery, and that’s what was causing all the WiFi problems (and slow internet browsing performance). In my Dell Inspiron this setting is on MEDIUM POWER SAVINGS mode, and it works perfectly well running on battery. To be completely sure of success I did set the Samsung settings to MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE when running on battery too, as depicted in the following screenshots:
The PING test now achieves the same (and expected) results with or without the AC Power Adapter connected, so the WiFi problems are resolved and internet browsing is as fast as your connection can be. All problems solved.
What pisses me off is that this very stupid configuration choice made by Samsung may be affecting A LOT of people in the world. I’m certain that it affects ALL owners of the models sold here in Brazil. This is NOT A SIMPLE problem to diagnose, since it only happens when the machine is running on battery over WiFi. Most people will only notice it when they use the computer in a hotspot, and they will probably blame the hotspot or the ISP quality. Return it to Samsung and they will tell you there are no problems with the hardware, and they will be right! The problem lies in the intern they’ve allowed to setup the power management profile for the laptop! (after all this DOES SAVES power, I’ll grant it)
This has the potential of ruining an otherwise incredible notebook on the market. Well, if that happens, then we’ll have an almost exclusive model, which is cool…
If this helps you, or if this pissed you off too, let me know in the comments bellow. You’ll need to register though, because I was being targeted by hundreds of spams daily, I had to prevent anonymous/unregistered comments. Sorry for that!