ASUS ExpertBook B9 Review: Ridiculously light and long lasting battery for a laptop

With laptops now being the epicenter of work whether home or on-the-go, especially at this time of COVID-19. ASUS recently released its new B9 Expert Book series for an upgraded experience, especially for professionals or enterprise groups.

The unit we have here is the ASUS ExpertBook B9450-BM0173R (Intel Core i7), particularly the one with the price tag of Php149,995.

Processor Intel Core i5-10210 Processor Intel Core i5-10210 Processor Intel Core i7-10510U Processor Intel Core i7-10610 Processor
Display 14″ IPS 1920×1080 FHD Display 14″ IPS 1920×1080 FHD Display 14″ IPS 1920×1080 FHD Display 14″ IPS 1920×1080 FHD Display
RAM 8 GB 2133Mhz RAM LDDR3 onboard 16 GB 2133Mhz RAM LDDR3 onboard 16 GB 2133Mhz RAM LDDR3 onboard 16 GB 2133Mhz RAM LDDR3 onboard
Storage

512GB

PCle Storage (Dual M.2 NVMe PCIe® 3.0 x4)

512GB

PCle Storage (Dual M.2 NVMe PCIe® 3.0 x4)

1TB

PCle Storage (Dual M.2 NVMe PCIe® 3.0 x4)

2TB

PCle Storage (Dual M.2 NVMe PCIe® 3.0 x4)

Battery 33WHr Battery 66WHr Battery 66WHr Battery 66WHr Battery
OS Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 Pro
Battery 870g weight (33WHr) 995g weight (66WHr) 995g weight (66WHr) 995g weight (66WHr)
Price Php109,995 Php119,995 Php149,995 Php169,995

 

Ridiculously Light and Feels Sturdy

To get things out of the way, this laptop we have is just 995 grams, just 5 grams shy to a kilo. But still technically around 200-300 grams lighter to the average ultraportables and we can feel the difference.

The laptop is made of magnesium-lithium alloy chassis which ASUS claims to be 38% lighter, in translation to experience everyone who lifts up the laptop for the first time always smile cause of its lightness.

Lifting and holding the B9 is a unique one, the magnesium-lithium alloy material different than most materials on laptops for sure. It feels like a smooth sanded surface with a cold-to-the-touch feeling, but at the same time kinda tricks your mind that you’re holding plastic. I know its weird, but its nothing cheap and the impression is purely good every time you lift it up.

It’s great that ASUS now has the technology to go a thin while without sacrificing on too much I/O ports, the important Type-C, USB-A, and even full-size HDMI is achieved on a thin profile of 14.9mm.

There is also a LAN adapter via a micro-HDMI adapter should you need ethernet port capability, quite rare to see this adapter but welcomed in the package nevertheless.

A dedicated fingerprint is also located for your log-ins of passwords or Windows 10 Pro itself, while a dedicated IR camera is also located at the top of the bezel which we appreciate.

The keyboard layout is standard with clean layouts and most importantly quiet, it’s even quieter than most keyboard compared to the ZenBook or even a Macbook. For me, it’s important especially exposed to lots of video/audio calls that needs a lot of typing.

Lastly, the ExpertBook B9 has a certification of MIL-STD 810G US military standard for tons of durability tests. Though we didn’t try them out in our review, the point that it can endure lots of carry-ons in events and abuse in my bag is a testimony that it can be a companion, especially for on-the-go professionals.

Display

The 14″ FHD display with a matte finish is great, the thin bezels at the side and top webcam still visible with a dedicated slide to cover function. What’s even nice is that the overall size fits on a 13″ laptop cause of its nano bezels.

Colors are accurate, which are great for proofreading artworks within a team. This is a plus value for marketing or executives that approves visuals, so you don’t have to battle out with the graphics team that the colors are washed or too saturated.

Performance

The Intel Core i7-10510U is one processor that I am quite familiar with using the ASUS ZenBook Duo, or even the Huawei MateBook X Pro. The only difference this time is that the B9450 does not have an external graphics card, like the NVIDIA MX250.

Overall the performance we didn’t even mind the lack of graphics as our purpose of the laptop was pure work of conference calls, opening excel sheets, powerpoints, tons of google drives and even editing some light photos in Photoshop from time to time and all of these applications passed with flying colors.

Loading is fast in applications, boot up is no problem and we appreciate the small gestures of things in the power management being brought up for battery saving from time to time in order to maximize your battery.

Thermal Management

We won’t be showing any thermal photos of the laptop, but simply describe what our observations are. The ExpertBook B9’s fans are quiet enough even at high performance and the fans are in full blast.

At the bottom, the hottest part will be near the vents and on the top panel will be near the function keys. Areas that are not really frequently touched, so its fine for overall use and additionally we didn’t get any point of the laptop was too hot to handle to the touch.

True to its claim – I didn’t need to charge for a day

No need for sugar coating for this feature, while ASUS claims you can go up to 24 hours on the B9, our experience was simply a delight. By far the B9 holds the longest battery I had on a laptop with decent specifications, but I’m glad to say that I was able to use the B940 for 14 hours in the office without a charger.

Speaking of charging, the laptop comes with a Type-C cable PD 65W Adapter. A much better solution now compared to those annoying proprietary charging ports on previous laptops, while charging time took around 2 hours in our experience while charging the initial charging of 30 minutes was enough to give more than 40% in our watch.

Most certainly, laptops are now catching up to how fast should they charge similar to smartphones with rapid charging technology. We welcome this innovation and hope to see this optimization more in more laptops in the future.

Audio & Outstanding for Conference Calls

One great feature of the ExpertBook B9 is its microphone and audio quality for conference calls, so far its the only laptop I was able to use that the built-in speakers are audibly clear for voice calls and doesn’t echo into the calls, unlike other laptops.

Plus the keyboard of the ExpertBook B9 is quiet, perfect for conference calls while typing notes or checking out some details. This is one very important feature in laptops that I think manufacturers should focus more now, especially the rise of work from home is really important.

The speakers have advertised that sounds are by Harman / Kardon, while we have to agree that the speakers are clear and pleasant, the soundstage isn’t really that loud as much as we want to be. Since the price point is already bordering a lot of laptops with better speakers, we think ASUS could have fitted this one with louder ones.

But, imagine in the future if the laptop with great microphones can cancel out annoying rooster sounds, dogs barking, and even your annoying keyboard being on the way of your calls.

Nice to have but not always useful

The B9 has the Numpad 2.0 which has an illuminated touchpad to make the keypad a Numpad, but most of the time we forgot this exists and just proceeds to the normal number rows. Unless you’re into financials or accounting, we think this is really not that useful.

Also at the bottom is an indicator light for charging and even activating Alexa as the laptop is Alexa ready. But the problem here in PH, we don’t have Amazon services natively, so you have to find a way to port Alexa through a VPN and getting a US server. In our case, we weren’t able to do this and it’s just disappointing since it would be nice to call out Alexa for some smartphone integration.

Callouts

One minor callout I would tell is that the edges of the laptop are subjective for more scrapes than any other body of the laptop. This is the corner of the screen and keyboard with the coating now dissipating.

There is an added layer for the egolift hinge, and its working perfectly when placed on a flat surface.

Upon checking, it’s most likely from my laptop bag bumping off into items inside. But, this is particularly the first time I saw this. So perhaps it’s best to always put it inside the envelope case included in the package

Conclusion

Using the ASUS ExpertBook B9 for more than a month made me realize how important a business laptop can do for my work. Conference calls are clear, fewer distractions from external noise, and the portability of a ridiculously light laptop without worrying for a charger is though to let go.

Now I understand why most established professionals wanted a lighter laptop instead of a powerful one. Yes, ASUS has the ZenBook lineup for a similar target market, but the security and additional details that the ExpertBook offers is something enterprise business would consider especially the security division.

What we love

  • 2x PCI-E NVMe SSD storages for expansion in the future
  • Outstanding keyboard and video/audio conference
  • Great Display
  • Great Battery Life
  • Ridiculously light
  • Build-Quality is definitely felt for its price

What can be improved

  • Corners have signs of wear and tear but can just be careful with the case
  • Price is steep, but we gain are understandable for people who can afford it.

Should you want to go 120g lower, the entry-level configuration is a lighter version at 870g for a less battery-packed of 33WHr. But that technically cuts the battery life up to 12 hours or in half. So if you’re not into looking into chargers in your work, you can highly consider that.

With that, we award the ASUS ExpertBook B9 our Hungry Geeks Approved Award. It’s very rare you experience a laptop that can really fit your needs. There are some compromise or features that aren’t really that useful but technically not to be worried about.