Asus announced the ExpertBook B9 back at CES earlier this year, and it has now finally arrived on Malaysian shores. Being productive at work is already dreadful enough, and you needing to lug a heavy laptop around with you for the whole day is worse. We reached out to Asus and got a unit on our hands early for review. So this is the ultra portable, featherweight Asus ExpertBook B9 laptop review.
|Display||14-inch IPS FHD (1920 x 1080)|
16:9 Aspect Ratio
|CPU||1.8GHz Intel Core i7-10510U|
|RAM||16GB LPDDR3 2133MHz|
|Graphics||128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Storage||2 x 1TB NVMe PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSD|
Dual slots (Max up to dual 2TB)
|Ports||2 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C|
(up to 40Gbps, DisplayPort, and PD support)
1 x USB-A 3.1 Gen2
1 x HDMI 1.4
1 x Micro HDMI-to-Ethernet RJ45
1 x 3.5mm Audio Combo Jack
1 x Kensington Lock Slot
|Networking||Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (802.11ax)|
|Battery||4-Cell 66Wh lithium-polymer long life rechargeable battery|
65W AC Adapter
USB-C Fast Charging
|Operating system||Windows 10 Pro (1909)|
|Weight||2.2 pounds (995 grams)|
The Asus ExpertBook B9’s chassis is made out of magnesium lithium alloy, which Asus claims is lighter and stronger compared to the magnesium-alloy used by most laptops these days. That itself is the main factor of how the laptop can be super lightweight – 870g to be exact. On top of that, the laptop is also thin at just 1.49cm. That’s equivalent to a PS4 game disc cover or a standard B5-sized notebook.
I’ve never held a laptop that light before, so it definitely impressed me even before I opened it up. The ExpertBook B9’s surface has this smooth matte finish to it, however, it does feel a little plasticky, and it suffers a bit of flex in the keyboard deck.
While the matte-textured surface looks great, it doesn’t attract fingerprints, but it does tend to get scuffed and dusty quite easily.
That being said, Asus claimed that the ExpertBook B9 laptop has passed the MIL-STD-810G US military standard tests. This lets it withstand shock, drop, vibration, humidity, altitude, and high/low temperatures. Not only that, Asus also did a few more tests to let it endure in its hinge, ports, panel pressure (my cats tested this out for themselves), and keyboard durability too.
While it isn’t a convertible PC, the ExpertBook B9 can also open up to 180-degrees, meaning you can lay it flat all the way down.
Being a laptop geared for business, the ExpertBook B9 has all the connectivity ports, and most of the business features you’d expect. It’s got all the latest I/O ports including Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, USB-C, USB-A, and an audio jack.
It also runs on Windows 10 Pro, has a fingerprint sensor, and a 720p IR camera that supports Windows Hello login. To protect your privacy, the laptop has the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a built-in camera shutter and a dedicated button to turn off the camera.
The Asus ExpertBook B9 has a 14-inch NanoEdge display fitted into a 13-inch laptop’s body. That is because the bezels are only 4mm thin, giving it an incredible 94% screen-to-body ratio.
On top of its Full HD IPS panel is an anti-glare coating. The display is just bright enough to allow me to see what’s on the screen even under bright sunlight.
The FHD display itself is decent. It has vivid colours and its blacks are acceptable. Details are crisp, and it has a nice high contrast when viewing videos with FHD resolution and above. Viewing angles are great too, with no distortion of colours when looking at the screen from the sides. Apart from that, readability is great too especially if you’re going through walls of texts at work everyday.
There isn’t a touch screen onboard. While I hoped Asus would’ve included one, in retrospect, it would’ve increased the laptop’s price a whole lot more. In return, it beefed up hardware performance to make up for it.
The Asus ExpertBook B9 is a laptop that has made working from home a pleasurable experience. Because of how light it is, I was able to just carry it with me to wherever corner of the house I wanted to sit in.
Opening up the laptop, the IR camera and fingerprint reader works like a charm and has never failed to log me in.
The keyboard feels amazing to type on, and the keystroke travel distance is just right for my hands. However, I did need to get used to it at the beginning because the keyboard layout leans more towards the right side, so I had to shift my hands a little to the right to get the hang of typing faster on the ExpertBook B9. It may not be mechanical, but the keys still feel really comfortable when pressed on.
The trackpad is very wide, and it is smooth matte surface to navigate on. Navigation gestures were fast, and the trackpad is super responsive, no complaints here.
The Asus NumberPad 2.0 is also built right into the trackpad, all you need to do is long-press the NumPad icon on the top right corner. Even with the virtual numeric keypad there, you can still use the surface as a trackpad.
Asus also included the MyASUS software that opens up a plethora of information and tools for the ExpertBook B9. These features include:
- Serial number checking
- Warranty info
- Customer support
- System diagnosis
- Software update
- Hardware settings
- Message center
- App deals
- Link to MyASUS
There are several notable features in hardware settings that I think I should point out. You can tweak the battery health charging, giving you customisation over the recharge-ceiling settings. From a 100% to 80% and 60%, these will theoretically help prolong the battery’s physical life depending on how your day or usage is. If you’re out and about, you can set it to 100% for maximum charge. But if you’re home and the laptop is plugged in, it can be set to 60% to extend the batteries’ lifecycle. Pretty sweet feature if you ask me.
The MyASUS software also lets you choose your own fan profile. You can set it to Dynamic to let it automatically adjust to your laptop’s working status, or you can go full blast on “Velocity” mode to further increase cooling. And don’t worry, even on high fan speed, the laptop is almost silent.
Apart from that, you can also turn on the “Tru2Life” mode to increase video quality, allowing videos to be sharper, detailed, and more realistic.
Asus also lets you link your smartphone to MyASUS. You would need to download the Link to MyASUS app first to pair up your smartphone and the ExpertBook B9. Once you’re connected, you can:
- File transfer – Send files to/from your laptop/smartphone.
- URL transfer – Send links from your laptop straight to your smarphone’s browser.
- Phone calls – Answer phone calls right from your laptop.
- Remote file access – Retrieve files from your laptop with your smartphone.
- Screen mirroring – Use your smartphone right from the laptop’s screen.
- Screen extender – Turns your smartphone into a secondary display.
Connectivity ports are sufficient, but I would’ve preferred Asus to include an SD card reader in the ExpertBook B9. Apart from that, all ports are well positioned and easily reachable. It doesn’t get in the way of other cables too.
Disclaimer: Our review unit of the ExpertBook B9 is a sample unit, so it would show that the benchmarking scores are invalid. These numbers may not be accurate, but they’re close reference to actual consumer units.
The Asus ExpertBook B9 is a business laptop, so we ran performance tests with PCMark 10’s benchmarking software.
Overall, day-to-day use, I find the ExpertBook B9 to be really fast. It launched apps almost immediately, and I could get my files transferred in less time than it would’ve took on a regular mid-range laptop.
One thing to note is that the ExpertBook could’ve performed faster if it didn’t use last-gen RAM, when LPDDR4X RAM is already available.
Although the laptop isn’t built for gaming, we ran a few benchmarks with 3DMark and FF16 just for the fun of it. But fair warning, the results aren’t that great. This is a productivity laptop anyway.
We ran two tests for each setting, one on battery (left) and the other while it’s plugged in (right).
PCMark 10 – Extended
3DMark – Fire Strike
3DMark – Night Raid
3DMark – Time Spy
FF16: Shadowbringers – Standard (Laptop)
FF16: Shadowbringers – Maximum
The Asus ExpertBook B9’s speakers are placed on the bottom of the laptop, tuned by Harman Kardon. Quality wise, it’s fairly adequate. The speakers are just loud enough, with great mids and highs for video calls and meetings. It lacks bass, so if you want that thumping sound, you’re better off listening to dance and EDM tunes using a headphone.
It also has array microphone with Cortana and Alexa voice-recognition. So, you can just call out to Alexa and tell her what to do, setting meetings and reminders for example. Not only that, the laptop also has four 360° far-field microphones that support noise cancellation. Again, another great feature for meetings and video conferences.
The Asus ExpertBook B9 has two versions with different battery capacities:
- 33Wh battery – 870g
- 66Wh battery – 995g
Our unit is the 66Wh version, and yet it’s still ridiculously light and thin. The battery life is amazing, as it got me through a day and a half. Most of the time, I did the following on the laptop, with no hardcore tasks whatsoever:
- YouTube video playback
- Web browsing
- Article writing
- Checking emails
As for speaker volume level, i was hovering at the 50% mark.
When running PCMark 10’s extended test, the test started at 63%, and ended with 39% battery left. Even after that, it could last me a few more hours before dying on me.
Even when the battery needs to be recharged, charging it from 0% to 77% only took 35 minutes. And to fully charge it to 100%, it took a total of 1 hour 15 minutes. That’s pretty fast thanks to the 65W USB type-C charger.
The Asus ExpertBook B9‘s price might be a little off-putting, but this is a machine that’s tailormade for productivity, for a niche market. If you’re a corporate salaryman looking for uncompromising new-gen performance, and appreciate the beauty and novelty of a thin and lightweight laptop, the ExpertBook B9 is perfect for you. It’s fast, secure, long-lasting and ultra portable when switching between meeting locations. Quite the package when you factor in all the features you’re getting for the price.
However, if you’re a gamer or content creator that wants to game or edit videos, you might want to take a look at the ASUS TUF Gaming A15, the Asus Zephyrus series, or Asus VivoBook S14 series if you want something more affordable.