Asus ExpertBook review: Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9400) review: light as a feather, shines brightly
Lightweight and sturdy
Rich surround sound
The Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9400) is the Taiwanese company’s latest laptop for business users. The 14-inch device we reviewed is powered by an 11th-generation Intel Evo Core-i7 processor, with 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM in a lightweight, slim frame. Its price starts at Rs 1,15,489, excluding taxes. Here are our top business laptop takeaways to help you make up your mind.
Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9400): design and displayThe 14-inch Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9400) comes in a very light construction and can be easily lifted and held with one hand. The ExpertBook B9 weighs less than 1 kg, in fact only 880 grams. It also has a slim profile, with a thickness of 14.9mm.
The laptop chassis also lifts up a bit on the hinge side when you open the cover, so that the laptop opens at an obtuse angle at the hinge, leaving a small open space underneath. the chassis along the entire length of the laptop. This is intended to help the sound from the built-in speakers travel better and feel richer to the ears and dissipate heat build-up. To give you a better idea, the laptop screen is slightly elongated near the hinge, seen only when you open the laptop, and with such a design, does not appear to be attached directly in the middle where the screen and frame should come together in a conventional manner. This is what Asus calls an “ErgoLift hinge”.
The body of the Asus ExpertBook B9 is made of a Lithium-Magnesium alloy and is completely in a matte finish, including the screen. The laptop cover opens quickly with one hand, whether on a table or on the bed. The hinge is 180 degree flat type, which means the laptop can easily be opened like a wide slate on a table so that everyone on the table can see the screen in a business meeting . This option would be appreciated once life hopefully gets back to normal and we can say goodbye to virtual office meetings.
As for the physical connectivity options, there are four on the left edge of the chassis: two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, one HDMI port, and one RJ45 via micro HDMI.
On the right edge, the laptop gives you a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port and a Kensington lock slot.
The laptop comes with a spill-resistant backlit keyboard whose keys make a much less noticeable sound when typing. The stroke of the wrench is approximately 1.4 mm. The Asus NumberPad10 is an LED-lit numeric keypad that can be activated by tapping its icon in the upper right corner of the touchpad.
The design of the Asus ExpertBook B9 will be particularly praised for the laptop’s lightness factor and can be criticized for its alloy body which is likely to break if the laptop falls off a table or if a heavy object is hit. somehow falls on the laptop, although the company claims that the ExpertBook B9 (B9400) has achieved US military certification MIL-STD 810H, passing several tests such as pressure test panel (can withstand 30kg force on the cover and bottom without damaging the LCD panel), shock test, drop test (“Drop from 120cm when power on to simulate office accident” ), humidity and altitude test, etc.
The ExpertBook B9 features a 14-inch Full HD anti-glare display with a matte finish. Against the light in an artificially lit environment, the screen does not reflect the background at all, which is a big plus. The display panel is thin but seems sturdy enough. Often times when you lift the laptop with one hand, holding it off the chassis with the screen open, it may tilt back slightly. This is not advisable, but we have tried any way to see how the chassis takes the weight of the screen. There are 4mm thick frames on the sides of the display panel.
Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9400): performance
The business laptop we reviewed is powered by a 2.80GHz 11th Gen Intel Evo Core-i7 processor (12MB cache, up to 4.7GHz, 4 cores) paired with 16GB of RAM. LPDDR4X 4266 MHz, although the RAM is expandable to 32 GB. It runs Windows 10 Pro operating system and supports Intel Iris Xe graphics and RAID technology. It also supports up to Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax.
Asus has thought out and taken care of certain small features which are nevertheless necessary in the professional life affected by a pandemic. The keyboard comes with dedicated buttons for taking screenshots and for turning the mic on or off. There is a physical toggle to turn off the webcam if desired. There are a total of four microphones in the laptop to help you clearly convey your voice inputs in a virtual meeting
The device’s proximity sensor wakes up the screen when you return to the office after a break; if you are within a meter of the laptop, the screen will wake up. A few times the proximity sensor recognized that I was nearby as I walked past it to take care of other things. All in all, this is a nice little helper for business users who have a lot on their minds all the time.
The device starts to heat up while charging and we found that it can become uncomfortable for someone typing on it at the same time, especially on the left side of the keyboard. However, the chassis temperature rises during charging but does not soar so as to make the key surface incredibly hot. As soon as the device is fully charged, which it does in about 90-100 minutes, typing is more manageable.
The device’s battery lasts 5-6 hours if you are working on a graphics heavy application, otherwise we would give you around 7 hours of use on lightweight applications like Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Google Docs, etc. The battery drains fairly quickly after hitting around 17%, losing juice in 15-20 minutes at rest. If you are working on an app, it will take 10-15 minutes to fully unload.
The RAM could handle over 30 Google Chrome tabs, open simultaneously, with a slight delay of 5-6 seconds for some of them to load. On top of that, a 1080p video on YouTube loaded quickly.
While Asus claims that you can use the touchpad to “control the cursor” even when the LED-lit numeric keypad is on, we found it a bit difficult to select something on the screen and, more importantly, d ‘record the click as we did to find the right spot on the touchpad, tap or double-tap for the desired function to take effect. Cursor movement is smooth, of course, but it’s difficult to type and select when the numeric keypad is on.
The audio performance of the Asus ExpertBook B9 is excellent, with a surround sound effect. Asus claims to have used smart amplification technology paired with Harman / Kardon certified speakers in the unit. The raised frame, made possible by the “ErgoLift Hinge”, allows sound to propagate more easily than in a flat frame. The audio output to the speakers is also strong; we played music on YouTube and the sound filled the room at only about 60-70% of the volume. Also, there is minimal distortion at high volume levels if you play a calming electronic track. You would love to listen to some soft music on this laptop and we can even recommend it for watching a movie or two. The laptop comes with Cortana and Alexa voice recognition support. For the audio of the ExpertBook B9, Asus gets top marks.
The Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9400) is a complete business laptop. It’s light as a feather, has a sturdy alloy construction with an ErgoLift hinge, the screen is Full HD, non-reflective, connectivity options are plentiful, and performance is fast on some heavy loads, with a few ifs and buts. Overall, if you’re looking for a lightweight Windows laptop that’s designed for a seamless working experience, the Asus ExpertBook B9 (B9400) is a great choice.
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