ASUS Expertbook B9 B9400CE is an example of a modern business laptop designed for corporate users who have to work outside the office.
Key selling features:
- Dimensions and weight (only 1 kg), enhanced protection, MIL-STD 810H certified;
- Best 11th Gen intel mobile processor with powerful Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics;
- Up to 2 SSDs that can be combined into a RAID0 array;
- The screen is matte, 14 inches, with an increased brightness of 430 nits;
- 13-15 hours of work in real conditions, charging via Type-C from the adapter for the smartphone;
- 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports for external monitors;
- Wi-Fi 6;
- Webcam with a shutter;
- Numeric block built into the touchpad.
Intel Evo certification is an additional quality standard. Evo is Intel’s initiative to improve the quality of lightweight and compact laptops. It includes some criteria. For example, under real-world conditions, a laptop should last at least 9 hours. The device should immediately fall asleep and wake up when the lid is opened (in less than 1 second); All communications (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) must be of the latest standards. The screen should have accurate color reproduction, a good margin of brightness, etc.
Today, the Intel Evo platform is mostly premium laptops. They usually have high quality workmanship.
As you can see from the benefits of sales. The ExpertBook B9 Intel Evo exceeds the requirements. So it will be more interesting when manufacturers start certifying more budget devices.
In any case, the Intel Evo sticker is an additional guarantee of the high quality of the device.
Asus ExpertBook B9 B9400ce (2021) Full Specifications
|Model||ExpertBook B9 (2021)|
|Price in India||₹1,15,489|
|Release date||14th January 2021|
|Model Name||ExpertBook B9 (2021)|
|Dimensions (mm)||203.00 x 320.00 x 14.90|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home|
|Battery Capacity (WHR)||66|
|Processor||Intel Core i7 11th Gen i5-1135G7|
|Wi-Fi standards supported||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/Yes|
Ports and slots
|Number of USB Ports||3|
|Thunderbolt 4 (Type C)||2|
|Headphone and Mic Combo Jack||Yes|
The case of the Asus Expertbook B9 is made of magnesium-lithium alloy. Color – space black.
The material is heterogeneous, and the blotches shine in the light, according to the idea it should resemble a starry sky. Really reminds. By the way, we could have gone further by adding the Milky Way (although, probably, the laptop would have looked less strict because of this).
One bonus is MIL-STD 810H certification. This does not mean that the laptop can be cracked or thrown against the wall. However, the tests passed show that the screen lid can withstand a pressure of 30 kg, that is, the laptop can be checked in and not be afraid that it will be damaged.
The laptop also passed the 120cm drop test (I guess it was relatively easy considering the magnesium case and the minimum weight), confirmed that it can work stably at 40 degrees and 85% humidity, etc. Formally, these laptops are called business-rugged.
In conclusion, we can say that the design and workmanship are top notch. Lightweight, compact device that fits into any backpack or bag. At the same time, you do not have to be afraid that you will be “squeezed in the subway” or lean on the wall and damage your laptop.
Keyboard and touchpad
ASUS says the keyboard is waterproof. But, apparently, it is not as waterproof as in the ThinkPad, which can withstand heavy rain. Rather, just a spilled glass of water will survive. There is no talk about coffee, tea, juice, etc. Orange juice can kill you and ThinkPads.
Good spacing between keys, comfortable layout, excellent springiness and good travel depth. I really liked the keyboard. On the way, I collected several articles with great pleasure.
From the point of view of a corporate analyst, one can praise the separate arrow keys, but find fault with the fact that PgUP, PgDn, End, Home are devoid of separate buttons. They can only be pressed through a combination with FN. Accordingly, you can’t jump dashingly on Excel sheets. But Insert, Delete and PrintScreen are separate keys.
By the way, the FN + Escape combination allows you to quickly switch F1-F12 between their direct duties and quick actions.
The F12 button is tied to the opening of the proprietary MyASUS application, which we will talk about later. It occurred to me that PgUP, PgDn, End, Home could be placed in place of F12 – Delete. The basic functions of all four keys are outdated long ago. What F12 itself is responsible for, I don’t even remember.
The laptop has a spacious touchpad. Supports gestures, the lower part is pressed through, imitating mouse buttons. The touchpad counter is the NumberPad, which lights up when you hold down the calculator icon. In my opinion, the idea is great and allows you to enter numbers on the road. Of course, this is not as convenient as a separate numeric block, but it is definitely better than using the top line. By the way, the touchpad can be used as usual, even when the numbers are active.
The 14-inch IPS LCD screen, thanks to its narrow bezels, fits into the typical 13.3-inch laptop case. The screen occupies 94% of the front panel.
ASUS did not trick, so the color gamut here is standard 100% sRGB, Full HD resolution and 60 Hz refresh rate.
Absolutely correct approach. 4K and high hertz in this case would be just a marketing gimmick that negatively affects the battery.
But it is important to highlight the exact color rendition. Measurements have shown that the average delta E is 1.8. The maximum deviation is observed when displaying red. And even then, the deviation does not exceed 5. Accordingly, the laptop was not thought about for printing, and it is not so easy to see the difference by eye.
The screen does not flicker (no PWM), and the maximum brightness is stated at 400 nits. In fact, as is always the case with high-quality matrices, the value turned out to be higher – 430 nits. Add to that the anti-glare effect and you have a screen that is comfortable to work with in almost any environment. In the photo below, the sun hits the screen directly, which does not interfere with the work at all.
There is a 720p camera above the screen. It is sad that Intel did not pedal the topic and did not force manufacturers to install at least a Full HD camera. Considering that such shameful cameras are put on by the entire market, from no-name Chinese to Apple, I suppose that, apparently, users simply do not have a request for a high-quality webcam.
There are two laptop options. With Intel Core i7-1165G7 and Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor. Processors differ in frequency and the amount of third-level cache (12 MB for the older, 8 MB for the younger). In synthetic tests, the performance difference is 5-10%. And this is the case when you can painlessly save money by taking the younger model. You will not feel the difference anyway.
My version of the laptop has 16 GB of memory (soldered on the board). The user can independently install another 16 GB. There are versions where 8 GB and 32 GB are soldered. As I understand it, in the latter case, it will no longer be possible to install additional memory. One of the bonuses of the Intel Evo platform is the requirement that manufacturers install dual-channel RAM.
Up to two SSDs can be installed in a laptop, which can be combined into a RAID array. In my version, there was a 1 TB SSD, divided into 2 disks (one for the system). The memory speed matches the best modern SSDs. Super-fast storage and RAM are an Intel requirement, as the laptop is designed to wake up from sleep in less than a second. That is, you open the lid, and the laptop is ready.
The laptop passed all performance and stability tests with dignity. There is nothing to find fault with here. Perhaps, it should only be noted that the laptop has a proprietary MyASUS application, where you can set the maximum productivity mode, which is available when working from an outlet. It can give a boost when working with large Excel files or playing games.
By the way, about the games. Intel Iris graphics performance is enough to play World of Tanks at high settings. In Full HD, the laptop can handle games like The Witcher 3 or Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. The first one, even at high settings, will give 28 frames per second. And the “assassin” works well at medium-low. Of course, the laptop is not a gaming one, but it will not let you get bored. Well, all sorts of indie games like Hades and even more so with a bang.
On the website ASUS notes that the laptop gives 13 hours of office work. And for once it is, without any discounts. In the mode “typewriter + Internet + mail” in my mode, the laptop really holds about 13 hours, as well as when simply watching YouTube videos.
Under maximum load (for example, when playing Hades), the laptop will last 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Comes with a 65W adapter. A nice feature of ASUS laptops is the ability to recharge them via Type-C using smartphone charging. Better to take, of course, more powerful exercises. For example, most Xiaomi devices are equipped with 33 W chargers, and 67 W are added to the flagships.
For my subjective taste, ASUS has the best proprietary application. Firstly, there you can set the maximum charge level to save the battery. For example, limit the charge to 60% or 80%. Secondly, all drivers and updates are dropped there. Thirdly, in the same place, you can tie a smartphone to a laptop to easily exchange files or use a phone camera instead of a webcam.
Also in the MyASUS app there is an important “Noise Cancellation” option. The notebook perfectly filters monotonous noise. For example, the noise of water, the work of a drill. Additional modes help prioritize voices by filtering out unwanted noise.
From the useful, I would like to note the adaptive blocking option. The computer will notice that you have left or are doing something else, will lock up and thereby save energy. Accordingly, it is better to disable this option when you turn on watching a movie, and the laptop is not in front of you.
There is also an option Tru2Life, which, according to the statement in the description, should improve the video to such a level that it is like watching on a super-premium TV, improving sharpness, contrast, etc. Awesome thing. I did not notice any difference at all.
Impressions and conclusions
The Asus Expertbook B9 B9400CE is an example of a portable and lightweight laptop that should be equal to the rest of the manufacturers.
Any nagging you can think of would be completely unfair:
- This laptop does not need a 4K screen or high refresh rates.
- Touchscreen and stylus support? Microsoft would very much like this (the company even comes up with updates for Excel, allowing the stylus to enter numbers), but the corporate user would rather not need a touch screen.
- The performance is enough for any office task. You can also play.
- The laptop’s battery life is excellent.
- There are enough ports, and everything is on business.
- Don’t have an SD card slot? But let’s be honest, how long have you used memory cards (this is not a question for photographers).
- Lightweight, durable materials, the laptop will survive a fall from a table.
- The RAM is partially unsoldered. This is yes, a minus. But there is a second free slot. A nice bonus is the installation of two SSDs.
- The webcam is bullshit, but you can use your smartphone as a webcam when you need quality. It is very useful that there is built-in noise filtering (to hear how it looks, go to the ASUS website, a couple of audio files are attached in the model description).
The price in stores is 127 thousand rubles per model as in the review. That’s $ 1,700. To be honest, a little expensive. But the 13-inch Dell XPS generally costs 150 thousand rubles, like the ThinkPad X1.
Alternatively, you can take the version on the i5 processor. On “Ya.market” there are offers for 100 thousand rubles.
A good competitor for this Expertbook might be the ThinkPad T14S. It should be understood that in terms of class this is a less premium and pumped-up laptop (and various premium options, such as improved noise cancellation, are not there), but overall the machine is decent, not inferior in overall performance.
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