ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9400) Review: Raises the bar for Business Laptops.

ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9400) Review: Raises the bar for Business Laptops.

With a number of great laptops to choose from, the office laptop market has become extremely competitive. There’s no space for bringing a knife to a gunfight, so you can’t get away with slipping in a subpar machine in our industry. ASUS has opted to raise the bar even further with its new Expertbook B9400 business laptop.

The ExpertBook B9 is the world’s lightest 14-inch laptop, according to ASUS “a business laptop There is, however, more to it than just movement.

I’ve been using the ExpertBook B9400 as my daily driver for a few weeks now, and the laptop hasn’t lost its lustre even after the honeymoon period has passed. Here’s a detailed look at the ASUS Expertbook B9400 business laptop.

ASUS Expertbook B9400 specifications

  • Processor Intel Core i7-1165G7 (2.8 GHz) (12M Cache, up to 4.7 GHz, 4 cores)
  • Iris Xe Graphics from Intel (Intel Iris Xe Graphics)
  •  RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X
  • 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 RAID1 SSD + 512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 RAID1 SSD Storage
  • 14 Objects Displayed “FHD IPS anti-glare display with a 94 percent screen-to-body ratio

ASUS Expertbook B9400 Performance

The ExpertBook B9400 is a thin and light business laptop powered by an Intel i7 Tiger Lake CPU from the 11th generation.

It is equipped with Iris Xe graphics and 16GB of RAM. On paper, the laptops look to be loaded with sophisticated hardware capable of operating virtually anything. The best part is that it’s all packed into a chassis that weighs less than a kilogramme.

To assess the performance of this laptop, I first ran our regular suite of test programmes to see how it fared. Let’s get this party started.

As a result, the Intel Core i7-1165G7 is marketed as one of the most powerful Tiger Lake CPUs. It’s a quad-core processor with a base clock frequency of 2.8GHz and a turbo frequency of up to 4.7GHz. During the break between my test programmes, I noticed that the CPU only runs at 1.2Ghz while the laptop is idle.

Cinebench R20 gave the ExpertBook B9400 a score of 1810. The findings from the HP Pavilion Laptop 13 with the Intel Core i5 1135G7 CPU are better than I expected.

I got similar results after running Cinebench R15 and Cinebench R11.5, however I should mention that I started to detect significant thermal throttling, with scores decreasing substantially. The CPU clock rate began to drop by about 8-10% as well.

When the temperature reaches 90 C, the CPU begins to significantly throttle down. The CPU hit 45W TDP throughout the test and then varied to 28W on average. On battery power, the CPU significantly underclocked, and I noticed a drop in performance in the benchmark scores as well.

The ExpertBook B9400 scored 4957 in the PCMark 10 benchmark, surpassing most other laptops on our list, including the Ryzen 7 4700U-powered HP ProBook Aero 635 G7. The ExpertBook B9400 did not pass PCMark 10’s Digital Content Creation test, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to edit photographs or videos.

The graphics are handled by the Intel Iris Xe iGPU, which has shown to be a reliable alternative for most laptops. In the synthetic 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, I earned a score of 4831, while it received a score of 1285 in 3DMark’s Time Spy test.

Due to the form factor of the ExpertBook B9400, I do not recommend playing games on it. Furthermore, at 1080p at low settings, the Xe graphics can only achieve playable frame rates for most games.

Because of the thermal constraints of the chassis, I was able to run games like Shadow Of The Tomb Raider at low settings, but the experience wasn’t consistently good enough to keep me enthralled. Temperatures in typical use case settings, on the other hand, are just OK.

The ExpertBook B9400 will prove to be a dependable computer in everyday usage, as it did during my testing period. I completed all of my homework without issue. Yes, even with a swarm of tabs open at any given moment, the laptop performs wonderfully with the famed Chrome browser.

Boot and loading times are extremely rapid thanks to the laptop’s super-fast SSD. My test equipment had a 512GB+512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 RAID1 SSD. In a business context, the Raid 1 configuration is very desired for security and reliability reasons. Even if a drive fails completely, the system can still work by utilising the backup disc.

The CrystalDiskMark benchmark gave me fast sequential read rates of up to 2597MB/s, but with a somewhat higher write latency. The obvious downside of Raid 1 storage is that it has the capacity of a single drive but requires two drives since data must be written to both drives.

ASUS Expertbook B9400 Display

The ASUS Expertbook B9400 features a 14-inch FHD IPS display with anti-glare coating to reduce deflections. ASUS does not provide a variety of screen options for this model, so you are limited to this conventional matte IPS display.

While the display does not particularly amaze me with what it has to offer, there is a lot to like about it, and it looks to be acceptable for day-to-day use.

The 14-inch display is surrounded by tiny bezels on all four sides. The bottom bezel, while being not particularly small, is hidden under the keyboard deck because to the ErgoLift hinge, which keeps it out of sight.

The top bezel is also just thick enough to house a camera, which features a physical privacy shutter and an IR sensor for quick Windows Hello facial verification.

The 1080p resolution looks to be enough for the 14-inch display, since anything higher would be inappropriate for a laptop of this size.

Because it covers the whole sRGB colour gamut, the display is sharp and provides excellent colours for all sorts of media. It also has exceptional viewing angles, which means that even when seen from a wide angle, the screen information does not distort or the colours do not reverse.

I also didn’t observe any screen flickering or bleeding, and the panel had no problems with uniformity or bleeding.

The ExpertBook B9400 has a maximum brightness of 400 nits. It’s not the brightest display on the planet, but it’s quite useable even in the dark. I would have like a brighter panel, but this is an upgrade over last year’s model, which had a maximum brightness of 300 nits, so I’m not complaining.

The display also has a high contrast ratio, which aids in making dark colours look even and free of visible bleeding. The laptop’s hinge allows you to open the lid up to 180 degrees, making it a perfect choice for quickly showing something to your colleagues during a conference.

Overall, the ExpertBook B9400 has a fantastic display that leaves little room for complaint. If it were up to me, I’d add a brighter panel or one that supports touchscreens.

Even without them, the screen of the ExpertBook B9400 is good for day-to-day use. In fact, if you don’t mind the smaller size, you may even use it for light photo/video editing on occasion.

ASUS Expertbook B9400 Battery Life

Before I go into the battery life, I’d want to point out that ASUS has two laptop versions. The lightest one has just a 33Whr battery, which is unlikely to be useful if you desire a long battery life. The kind with a 66Wh battery is the one to go for, albeit even this variety weighs close to a kilogramme.

So, how long does the battery on this laptop last? To be honest, it’s rather beautiful. In fact, I’d say that its battery life is one of its strongest points.

In PCMark 10’s battery test, the ExpertBook B9400 lasted 839 minutes at maximum brightness. A PCMark 10 score of 13+ hours is quite commendable. It outlasted almost every other laptop we’ve examined here at Digit.

Similar statistics can be found in real-world applications. During my assessment period, I was able to exceed 10 hours of usage every day. In fact, I kept coming back to this laptop for work because of how battery efficient it is and how I could rely on it to get my work done without having to worry about charging.

On a typical weekday, I scan the internet, research and write stories for the website, do some picture editing, listen to music, and watch YouTube or Twitch videos/streams. Depending on the application, your mileage may vary. However, I am convinced that the ExpertBook B9400’s battery life will not disappoint you.

The 11th generation Intel Core CPU consumes little power while idle, requiring between 3.4W and 5.9W. You can surely improve battery life by tweaking the energy profiles or lowering the display brightness. The laptop is charged using a USB Type C port, and the battery can be fully charged in under 2 hours.

ASUS Expertbook B9400 keyboard, trackpad, and I/O

ASUS laptop keyboards have always been reliable for me, and this one is no exception. Despite its small size, the keyboard is not cramped. The keys also feature sufficient tactile feedback and a good amount of travel. This keyboard is quite easy to get used to, and I had a lot of fun typing on it.

I’m also a great fan of the ExpertBook B9400’s massive touchpad, which also serves as a Numpad. NumberPad 2.0, believe it or not, makes it easier for ‘Sheet Ninjas’ like me to work with Excel sheets. The touchpad is also quite trustworthy for tracking due to its matte glass texture. It also lacks specialised keys, so there’s more room for sliding your fingers for motions. When I was using this laptop, I didn’t miss my mouse at all.

Despite the fact that there is less space to deal with on a tiny chassis like this, ASUS has addressed the port issue very well.

On the left side, there are two USB-C 3.2 Gen2 Thunderbolt 4 connections, an HDMI port, and a small HDMI port that may be used as a LAN with the included micro HDMI-to-RJ45 converter. On the right side, there is an audio jack, a USB-A 3.2 Gen2 connection, and a Kensington lock.

ASUS Expertbook B9400: Design And Build Quality

According to ASUS, the ExpertBook B9400 is the world’s lightest 14-inch business laptop. Even with a 66Whr battery, the gadget weighs less than a kilogramme. I can speak to that because I used it as my primary machine for a long time.

It is without a doubt one of the lightest laptops I’ve ever used. Holding it around will make you appear to be carrying a file. I’m sure I’ve carried files and folders that weight more than this laptop.

I was first sceptical of this machine’s build quality because tiny and light laptops, especially ones of this calibre, might appear flimsy at times. The ExpertBook B9400, on the other hand, proved to be incredibly robust due to the materials used by ASUS for its chassis design. The laptop is made of a magnesium-lithium alloy, and ASUS has used multiple layers to ensure its durability.

ASUS also boasts that the ExpertBook B9400 has met MIL-STD 810G military-grade specifications, which means it won’t give up on you if you put it through a lot of abuse. There was some bending on the keyboard deck and lid, but nothing compared to other thin and light laptops I’ve used, such as the HP Pavilion Laptop 13.

I’d also want to praise ASUS on the ExpertBook B9400’s beautiful design. It comes in only one colour, ‘Star Black,’ and looks to be a sophisticated piece of technology intended for a professional setup. A closer glance at the laptop reveals some dazzling metallic flakes in the surface, which give the chassis a particular flare.

In terms of design, the ExpertBook B9400 competes with perennial favourites like the HP Spectre and the Dell XPS series. The ExpertBook B9400 also has other innovations, such as the ErgoLift hinge and the NumberPad 2.0 feature.

ErgiLift efficiently elevates the laptop off the ground, allowing for extra cooling space and making the keyboard deck more comfortable for typing at an angle.

The NumPad 2.0 is a feature that allows you to summon an LED Numpad with the touch of a sensor for people who are unfamiliar with it. It’s a nice touch to be able to use the touchpad for input while still having the Numpad available to enter numbers or perform calculations.

Overall, the ExpertBook B9400 is an enticing piece of hardware. ASUS has lately released some eye-catching laptops, and the ExpertBook B9400 is unquestionably in the same class of laptops that are built to justify their price tags. The ExpertBook B9400 is one of those laptops that you’d expect business travellers and jetsetters to have with them at all times.

The ASUS Expertbook B9400’s price

In India, the ASUS Expertbook B9400 will cost Rs 1,15,489 (excluding GST). It will be sold at ASUS retail locations as well as other offline partner retail locations.

Verdict

The ASUS Expertbook B9400 is the company’s most powerful ultrabook to date. It’s astonishing to me that despite its low weight, the ExpertBook B9 doesn’t sacrifice on any essential functionality. It’s compact, has good build quality, plenty of connectors on the sides, and is packed with powerful technology that can handle demanding tasks without breaking a sweat. Intel’s EVO branding speaks for itself here.

ASUS has also nailed the battery life of this laptop, with the laptop lasting as long as 13+ hours on PCMark’s battery life test.

The ExpertBook B9400, on the other hand, is not without flaws. I would gladly recommend this over any other compact and light ultrabook in its class if it weren’t for the horrible speakers and the display’s very low brightness level.

For the time being, it is in the hall of fame for establishing a new benchmark for business laptops, leaving almost nothing to complain about.


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