Laptops are becoming a necessity in this Covid-19 pandemic, as we keep shuttling between office and working from home.
The Asus ExpertBook B9400CE is probably a laptop you might want to consider for work at any location. Tipping the scales at 1.05kg, it is the world’s lightest 14-inch business laptop according to its maker.
Yet, it is said to pass the most stringent durability tests to withstand drops and bumps based on US military-grade MIL-STD-810G standards.
PRICE: From $2,298
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-1165G7
GRAPHIC: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
DISPLAY: 14-inch, (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)
RAM: Up to 32GB
STORAGE: Up to 2TB
Based on looks alone, you might think the ExpertBook B9400CE is not as sturdy as Asus claims.
Its sleek design, iridescent finish and 14.9mm thin profile probably create that illusion. However, its lid and base panel are made of magnesium lithium alloy to achieve sturdiness at a lighter weight.
I found that there is not much flex when you put your wrists on the base panel, which can be apparent in some lightweight laptops.
+ Sleek design
+ Very lightweight
+ Sturdy build
+ Good overall performance
+ Excellent battery life
– Dim display
– Irritating bloatware
– Can get quite loud
Open the lid and you will be greeted by a 14-inch full high-definition display with very thin bezels ranging from 4mm to 7mm. I like that the when the lid is unfolded by 145 degrees, it raises the base panel up by 5 degrees for a better typing angle.
Despite the thin bezels, the top bezel has a 720p webcam and a HD infrared camera that works with Microsoft Windows Hello. So you can log into Windows with your face.
Not to mention, it comes with a webcam shield, which you can slide over to cover the webcam for privacy. Below the keyboard on the extreme right, there is a small fingerprint sensor for safe login as well.
Its backlit keyboard is said to be spill resistant. But I like its standard layout, as I was able to type without much typos. And in the middle below the keyboard, there is a large rectangular trackpad that is bigger than what most laptops have.
Furthermore, this trackpad allows you to activate Asus NumberPad – an LED-illuminated numeric keypad. All you need to do is to tap on the NumberPad icon – sited on the top right of the trackpad – to turn the NumberPad on. You can even toggle between two brightness settings with the top left icon on the trackpad.
The best part is you can still control the cursor even when the NumberPad is being activated. Thus, you can work on your Excel sheets easily while still able to check your incoming emails.
On the laptop’s left side, you will find two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a HDMI port and a micro-HDMI-to-LAN port. Both Thunderbolt 4 supports power delivery as well as data transfer.
There is a USB 3.0 port and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the right side.
In the inside, this ExpertBook is armed with 11th-generation Intel Core processor, Intel Iris Xe graphics processor, Wi-Fi 6, up to 32GB of RAM and up to 2TB of solid-state storage.
In the PCMark 10 Benchmark test, the ExpertBook scored 4,651. This score is only better than 45 per cent of all results submitted. And it is slightly above the average score of 4,611 for office laptops.
For everyday use, the laptop is able to perform most of your productivity tasks like your presentation slides and financial sheets without any hitches. For example, I was able to open 6 tabs on the Google Chrome browser and two other applications running without much issues.
But if you are looking to play games, this laptop is going to disappoint. Playing the graphics-intensive game Cyberpunk 2077, the laptop can only manage a paltry average of 5 frames per second (fps) on full high-definition resolution with graphics setting set at low.
Less graphics-intensive game, such as Football Manager 2020, fared much better with an average of 30 fps. But you can hear the laptop “puffing” away loudly to run the games.
In addition, the laptop has a fair share of bloatware like the McAfee LiveSafe app. It just keeps prompting you to sign up for its services.
In our video-loop battery test whereby we loop a video with the display on full brightness, we found the ExpertBook B9400CE lasted a whopping 11 hours 15 minutes. This is the best battery life result we have so far.
By comparison, the longest battery life was previously recorded by MSI Prestige 14 Evo, which lasted 9 hours 5 minutes.
However, like the Prestige 14 Evo, the ExpertBook’s display is not very bright even at maximum brightness. If you use it under bright sunlight, it becomes really hard to see anything on the display.
It might have its flaws, but Asus ExpertBook B9400CE is certainly the business laptop to get with its lightweight sturdy build, sleek design, excellent battery life and good overall performance.
BATTERY LIFE: 10/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 7.5/10