The Asus ExpertBook B9 series is aimed at offering a thin and light solution for your everyday work needs. With the all-new ExpertBook B9400, the company is now pushing it as an Intel Evo platform based laptop. While some might think that it is just a new sticker slapped onto the laptop, but it’s much more than that.
According to Asus, the ExpertBook B9 enterprise laptop is the world’s lightest 14-inch laptop. Is that claim enough to let your wallet drop some cash? Let’s find out in this review:
Asus ExpertBook B9 Review: What is Intel Evo?
Before we even talk about the laptop’s build quality or its benchmark numbers, first let’s understand what is Intel Evo. Intel Evo is basically a new platform created for thin and light laptops. It requires the laptop to match certain criteria to qualify for the Evo badging.
First and foremost, the laptop should be running on the latest Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPU. The laptop should also have at least 8GB of dual-channel memory for that extra bit of performance. Going further, the laptop is also required to have at least a 256GB NVMe SSD for those faster boot times.
While the aforementioned is making sure you get the best performance for your everyday tasks, there is more to Intel’s Evo requirements. The laptop should come with an instant wake feature, which allows it to wake from sleep and login in less than 1 second. Furthermore, the laptop should come with either a fingerprint scanner, facial recognition or gaze unlock feature.
Intel Evo based machines should also have a thin and light form factor and should come with at least one USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 port. The laptop should also support WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0. Lastly, the laptop should support USB Type-C based fast charging.
As for the Asus ExpertBook B9, it does check the right boxes and thus comes with an Intel Evo badging.
Asus ExpertBook B9 Review: Build, Display and Design
As mentioned above, Asus claims that this is the lightest 14-inch laptop in the world. At just around a kilogram, the laptop sure does feel quite lightweight in hand. Combined with the 14-inch form factor, it is one of the most convenient laptops to carry around. Also, it is worth noting that the panel is surrounded by very thin bezels making the display look quite immersive.
The build quality itself is not the best. While the chassis feels quite robust, the hinge raises my concerns. Even with a little bit of shake, the display falls towards the back. This should not be a problem with a laptop that is being marketed as a thin and light solution for enterprise users as the audience targeted here will like to use it even in a moving car or a train. Also, I did not really like the finish on the device as it does not offer a premium vibe.
As for the display, the Asus ExpertBook B9400 sports a 14-inch FullHD IPS panel. It comes with an anti-glare coating on the top to reduce deflections. Considering the display is just 14-inch in size, the 1080p resolution feels quite enough. The panel is also sharp and covers 100% sRGB colour space. It also offers great viewing angles. However, the panel does not get bright enough, which means you might struggle using it outdoors under direct sunlight.
Asus ExpertBook B9 Review: Performance
Asus ExpertBook B9400 is aimed at enterprise audience who want a thin and light laptop for their work on the go scenarios. Considering that, Asus has slapped in 16GB of RAM. Thanks to Intel Evo, these are running in a dual-channel configuration to offer maximum performance. It also gets 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD that helps in faster boot times and faster app loading times. The laptop is powered by the Intel Core i7-1165G7 Tiger Lake quad-core CPU. This is combined with the Iris Xe graphics, which can prove useful for light gaming and photo editing.
In terms of real-world performance, the laptop did not show any signs of lag or hiccups when I was using it for casual work. My casual workload includes WhatsApp running at all times combined with at least 3 Windows of Google Chrome open with 4-5 tabs in each of them. This is topped off with Spotify playing music for me.
As for the benchmarks, I did run Cinebench R23 and got a score of 1804. When I ran the tests in loop, I did notice some thermal throttling. However, that is expected as it is an ultrabook and it does not have good enough ventilation.
The laptop was not designed keeping high-performance games and apps in mind. Instead, it aims to deliver a snappy experience in casual workload. And for that, it comes with the instant wake feature where the laptop is able to wake up from sleep in less than a second.
Asus ExpertBook B9 Review: Keyboard and Trackpad
Asus manages to offer a great typing experience on its laptops. The keyboard on the ExpertBook B9400 is no exception. The keyboard does not feel cramped and it offers ample amount of key travel. Overall, it was a great typing experience and I have no such complaints here.
As for the trackpad, it uses Windows Precision drivers for a smooth experience. The touchpad itself also offers a great feel. It can also act as a Numpad, which can prove really helpful for people who need to perform quick calculations.
Asus ExpertBook B9 Review: I/O, Connectivity and Security features
In terms of the I/O, the ExpertBook B9400 comes with two USB-TypeC Thunderbolt 4 ports. Both the ports support fast charging, display connectivity and data transfers. Besides that, the laptop also gets a full-sized HDMI 2.0 port, a Micro HDMI-to-LAN port, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A and a Headphone/Microphone combo jack. There is also a Keningston lock slot available. While the I/O feels seems quite good, I would have appreciated a SD card or at least a microSD card slot.
As for the connectivity, the ExpertBook B9400 supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 as it is required by the Intel Evo platform.
As this is an Intel Evo based machine, it needs to have quick unlock features. For that, the ExpertBook B9400 comes with a fingerprint scanner as well as Windows Hello based facial recognition.
Asus ExpertBook B9 Review: Battery Life
Asus ExpertBook B9400 comes with a 66W 4-cell battery. In real-world usage scenarios, I was able to get a little over 9 hours of battery life. With such battery life, I was able to wrap up all my office work before the battery died, which is quite impressive. I was able to achieve such battery life with the Windows power plan set to Balance (Better Performance) and the brightness set at roughly 60 per cent.
As for the charging, the Asus ExpertBook B9400 was able to charge from 0 to 100 in less than 2 hours with the included Type-C charger.
Asus ExpertBook B9 Review: Verdict
Asus ExpertBook B9400 enterprise laptop is an impressive machine overall. The lightweight chassis and Intel Evo features make the laptop a great option for a work laptop. At a starting price of Rs. 1.15L, the ExpertBook B9400 is not a cheap laptop. But it is a machine that will last you long without any major issues.