The ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9400) Review: Sets a new Standard for Business Laptops.

With a plethora of nice laptops to select from, the workplace laptop industry has grown quite competitive. There’s no room for somebody bringing a knife to a gunfight, which means you can’t get away with slipping in a poor machine in this sector. With its new Expertbook B9400 corporate notebook, ASUS has decided to set the bar even further.

According to ASUS, the ExpertBook B9 is the world’s lightest 14-inch laptop “laptop for business However, there is more to it than merely mobility. I’ve been using the ExpertBook B9400 as my daily driver for a few of weeks now, and even after the honeymoon stage, the laptop hasn’t lost its lustre. Here’s a thorough examination of the ASUS Expertbook B9400 business notebook.

Specifications for the ASUS Expertbook B9400

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

Performance of the ASUS Expertbook B9400

The ExpertBook B9400 is a lightweight business laptop powered by Intel’s 11th generation i7 Tiger Lake processor. It has Iris Xe graphics and 16GB of RAM.

On paper, the laptops appear to be outfitted with powerful technology capable of running practically anything you throw at it. The best thing is that all of this is contained into a chassis that weighs less than a kilogramme.

To evaluate the performance of this laptop, I began by running our standard suite of benchmark apps to see how it performed. Let’s get started.

As a result, the Intel Core i7-1165G7 is billed as one of the fastest Tiger Lake processors. It is a quad-core CPU with a base clock frequency of 2.8GHz and a turbo frequency of up to 4.7GHz. As I saw during the downtime between my test apps, the CPU clocks itself at just 1.2Ghz while the laptop is idle.

The ExpertBook B9400 achieved a score of 1810 in Cinebench R20. The results are better than I expected from the HP Pavilion Laptop 13 with the Intel Core i5 1135G7 CPU. I had comparable findings after running Cinebench R15 and Cinebench R11.5, however I must note that I began to notice some thermal throttling, with scores dropping dramatically. The CPU clock rate began to dip by roughly 8-10% as well.

When the temperature hits 90° C, the CPU begins to throttle down heavily. During the test, the CPU reached 45W TDP and then fluctuated to 28W on average. On battery power, the CPU considerably underclocked, and I was able to notice the related performance fall in the benchmark scores as well.

The ExpertBook B9400 scored 4957 in the PCMark 10 benchmark, outperforming most other laptops on our list, including the HP ProBook Aero 635 G7, which is powered by the Ryzen 7 4700U. The ExpertBook B9400 did fall short on PCMark 10’s Digital Content Creation test, but that doesn’t mean you can’t edit images or movies on it.

The Intel Iris Xe iGPU handles graphics, which has proven to be a solid option for most laptops. I received a score of 4831 in the synthetic 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark, while it received a score of 1285 in 3DMark’s Time Spy test.

I don’t advocate playing games on the ExpertBook B9400 due to its form factor. Furthermore, the Xe graphics can only attain playable frame rates for most games at 1080p at low settings.

Due to the thermal restrictions of the chassis, I was able to run titles like Shadow Of The Tomb Raider at low settings, but the experience wasn’t consistently good enough to keep me captivated to the game. Temperatures in common use case scenarios, on the other hand, are entirely OK.

The ExpertBook B9400 will show to be a reliable computer for day-to-day use, as it did during my testing period. I was able to complete all of my assignments without incident. Yes, even with a slew of tabs open at any given time, the laptop runs the infamous Chrome browser admirably.

Because of the super-fast SSD within the laptop, boot and loading times are exceptionally fast. My evaluation unit had a 512GB+512GB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 RAID1 SSD. For security and dependability reasons, the Raid 1 configuration is very desirable in a corporate setting. Even if a drive fails entirely, the system can continue to function using the backup disc.

The CrystalDiskMark benchmark provided me with fast sequential read rates of up to 2597MB/s, but with a somewhat greater write latency. The apparent disadvantage of Raid 1 storage is that you will only have the capacity of a single drive while requiring two drives since data must be written to both drives.

Display ASUS Expertbook B9400

The ASUS Expertbook B9400 has a 14-inch FHD IPS panel with an anti-glare coating to minimise deflections. ASUS is not giving different screen choices for this model, thus you just have this standard matte IPS panel.

While the display doesn’t exactly impress me with what it has to offer, there is a lot to appreciate about it, and it appears to be quite adequate for day-to-day use.

On all four sides, the 14-inch display is surrounded by thin bezels. The bottom bezel, although not being very narrow, conceals behind the keyboard deck owing to the ErgoLift hinge, which keeps it out of sight. The top bezel is also just thick enough to accommodate a camera, which, by the way, has a physical privacy shutter and an IR sensor for rapid Windows Hello facial authentication.

The 1080p resolution appears to be excellent for the 14-inch display, since anything higher would be unsuitable for a laptop of this size. The display is crisp and has superb colours for all types of material because it supports the whole sRGB colour space.

It also has excellent viewing angles, which means that when seen from a wide angle, the screen information will not distort or the colours will not be reversed. I also didn’t notice any screen flickering, and the panel didn’t have any difficulties with uniformity or bleeding.

The highest brightness of the ExpertBook B9400 is 400 nits. It’s not the brightest display in the world, but it’s quite usable even in the shadow. I would have wanted a brighter panel, but this is already an improvement over last year’s model, which maxed at 300 nits, so I’m not complaining.

The display also has a high contrast ratio, which helps the dark colours appear even and free of obvious bleeding. The hinge on the laptop allows you to open the lid up to 180 degrees, making it an excellent choice if you need to rapidly show something to your colleagues during a conference.

Overall, the ExpertBook B9400 offers an excellent display that leaves little space for criticism. If it were up to me, I would definitely add a brighter panel or one that supports touchscreens.

Even without them, the ExpertBook B9400’s screen is excellent for day-to-day use. In fact, if you don’t mind the reduced size, you can even use it for occasional photo/video editing.

Battery Life on the ASUS Expertbook B9400

Before I go into the battery life, I’d like to point out that ASUS offers two models of the laptop. The one that weighs the least has just a 33Whr battery, which is unlikely to be practical if you want a lengthy battery life. The type with a 66Wh battery is the one to choose, although even this variant weights around a kilogramme.

So, how long does this laptop’s battery last? To be honest, it’s rather stunning. In fact, I’d argue that one of its strongest aspects is its battery life. The ExpertBook B9400 lasted 839 minutes at maximum brightness in PCMark 10’s battery test. A score of 13+ hours on PCMark 10 is really commendable. It basically outlasted pretty much every other laptop we’ve tested here at Digit.

Similar figures can be seen in real-world usage. During my evaluation time, I was able to achieve more than 10 hours of usage per day. In fact, I kept returning to this laptop for work because of how battery efficient it is and how I could rely on it to get my job done without worrying about charging.

On a normal weekday, I surf the internet, research and create stories for the website, do a little photo editing, listen to music, and watch videos/streams on YouTube or Twitch. Your mileage may vary depending on the application. However, I am confident that the battery life of the ExpertBook B9400 will not disappoint you.

The 11th generation Intel Core CPU is low in power consumption, consuming between 3.4W and 5.9W while idle. By adjusting the energy profiles or decreasing the display brightness, you can undoubtedly obtain better battery life. The laptop charges via a USB Type C connector, and the battery may be fully charged in less than 2 hours.

Keyboard, trackpad, and I/O on the ASUS Expertbook B9400

The keyboards on ASUS laptops have always been dependable for me, and this one is no exception. Despite its compact size, the keyboard does not seem cramped. The keys also provide adequate tactile feedback and have a reasonable amount of travel. It’s quite simple to get used to this keyboard, and I had a lot of fun typing on it.

I’m also a big lover of the ExpertBook B9400’s huge touchpad, which doubles as a Numpad. Believe it or not, the NumberPad 2.0 makes it easier for ‘Sheet Ninjas’ like myself to work on Excel sheets. Because of the matte glass finish, the touchpad is also highly dependable for tracking. It also lacks specialised keys, which means there’s more area for gliding your fingers for motions. I didn’t miss my mouse at all when using this laptop.

Despite having less area to work with on a compact chassis like this, ASUS has handled the port problem pretty nicely. On the left side, there are two USB-C 3.2 Gen2 ports with Thunderbolt 4, an HDMI port, and a mini HDMI port that may be used as a LAN through the provided micro HDMI-to-RJ45 converter. An audio jack, a USB-A 3.2 Gen2 connector, and a Kensington lock are located on the right side.

ASUS Expertbook B9400: Build And Design Quality

The ExpertBook B9400, according to ASUS, is the world’s lightest 14-inch business laptop. Even the device with a 66Whr battery weighs less than a kilogramme.

I can attest to it having used it extensively as my primary machine. Without a doubt, it is one of the lightest laptops I have ever used. Carrying it around will give you the impression that you are carrying a file. In fact, I’m sure I’ve carried around files and folders that weighed more than this laptop.

I was originally sceptical about the build quality of this machine because small and light laptops, particularly ones of this calibre, may seem fragile at times.

The ExpertBook B9400, on the other hand, proved to be remarkably durable owing to the construction materials employed by ASUS for its chassis. The laptop is comprised of magnesium-lithium alloy material, and ASUS has employed many layers to ensure its durability.

ASUS also claims that the ExpertBook B9400 has passed MIL-STD 810G military-grade requirements, which means it won’t give up on you if your usage is a little tough. There was some bending on the keyboard deck and lid, but it was nothing compared to other thin and light laptops I’ve tried in the past, such as the HP Pavilion Laptop 13.

I’d also want to commend ASUS on the excellent design of the ExpertBook B9400. It is only available in one colour, ‘Star Black,’ and it appears to be a sophisticated piece of machinery meant for a professional setup. A closer look at the laptop reveals some gleaming metallic flecks in the finish, which add a distinct flair to the chassis.

In terms of design, the ExpertBook B9400 competes with some of our perennial favourites, such as the HP Spectre and the Dell XPS series. The ExpertBook B9400 also has a number of inventions, including as the ErgoLift hinge and the NumberPad 2.0 function.

ErgiLift effectively raises the laptop off the ground to provide for more space for cooling and to make the keyboard deck more comfortable for typing at an angle.

For those who are unfamiliar, the NumPad 2.0 is a function that allows you to summon an LED Numpad with the touch of a sensor. It’s a lovely touch to be able to utilise the touchpad for input while still having the Numpad ready to enter numbers or make computations.

Overall, the ExpertBook B9400 is a very appealing piece of hardware. ASUS has been producing some eye-catching laptops recently, and the ExpertBook B9400 is undoubtedly in the same league of laptops that are constructed to justify their price tags.

The ExpertBook B9400 is one of those laptops that you’d expect jetsetters and businesspeople to always have with them.

Price of the ASUS Expertbook B9400

The ASUS Expertbook B9400 will cost Rs 1,15,489 in India (excluding GST). It will be available at ASUS stores as well as other offline partner retail outlets.

Verdict

ASUS’ Expertbook B9400 is the company’s greatest ultrabook to date. It’s amazing to me that the ExpertBook B9 doesn’t skimp on any vital features despite its light weight. It’s small, has excellent build quality, has plenty of ports on the sides, and is packed with strong hardware that can perform tough tasks without breaking a sweat. The EVO branding from Intel speaks for itself here.

ASUS has also nailed the battery life of this laptop, and the results are rather impressive, with the laptop lasting for as long as 13+ hours on PCMark’s battery life test. The ExpertBook B9400, on the other hand, is not without its idiosyncrasies.

If it weren’t for the terrible speakers and the display’s relatively low brightness level, I would gladly suggest this over any other tiny and light ultrabook in its class. For the time being, however, it is in the hall of fame for setting a new standard for business laptops, leaving virtually nothing to complain about.

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