Over my years of reviewing, I’ve had the pleasure to review some very, very good notebooks. I’ve also had the displeasure to review some pretty bad ones. The ASUS ExpertBook B9 seems to be one of the better ones on paper…with a ton of features, including its portability.
Now that I’ve had a few weeks on hands-on time with the notebook, is it as good as it claims to be?
To find out…keep reading.
What is the ASUS ExpertBook B9?
The ASUS ExpertBook B9 is a 14” notebook geared for business. It comes with an Intel Core i7-10510U (1.8Ghz) processor, an Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated GPU, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD for storage. The 65W battery isn’t removable, but is slated to last about 24 hours with normal usage. All in, the notebook weighs an incredible 870g, with pricing starting from SG$2298.
Its 14” IPS display has a 1080p (1920 x 1080) resolution, with 300 nits brightness and a 4mm-thin bezel with 94% screen-to-body ratio.
For the ports, the machine sports the following:
- 2 x Thunderbolt™ 3 USB-C™ (up to 40Gbps, DisplayPort and power delivery support)
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x RJ45 LAN via micro HDMI port
- 1 x Kensington lock slot
- 1 x Audio combo jack
While I love that the machine has 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, the truth is most of us don’t have gadgets to use them. I’d have settled for more USB Type-A ports (the regular ones) to offset the lone one on the machine. Unfortunately, there’s also no SD card reader as well, which means you’re going to want to get a USB hub pronto.
The placement of the sole USB Type-A port is also a bit problematic, if you’re plugged in via earphone AND using a wired mouse. As the audio port is just under the USB port, wires have the tendency to get tangled up, especially if you’re the type to move your mouse around a lot.
Other than that, it’s mostly smooth sailing. Owing to the notebook’s design, all the ports (including the display capable ones) are arrayed on the sides. All the display output ports are conveniently on the left side, so you won’t have to deal with tangling HDMI wires.
I love that the ASUS ExpertBook B9 features a hinge to tilt the monitor. In fact, unlike most notebooks, the display can lay down flat. It’s not a tablet mode, but it’s still a cool feature nonetheless.
Finally, audio duties are handled by Harmon Kardon-certified speakers. There are also four omnidirectional microphones built into the upper bezel of the display, which allows for great sound captures. I tested them with a Zoom meeting and all the other participants had no issue with my voice.
Alexa support is also built-in, so you can use Amazon’s A.I. assistant if you choose to. There’s even a lightbar embedded under the trackpad to show you Alexa’s status.
On the software side, the machine comes preinstalled with Link to MyASUS, an app that allows you to connect your smartphone with the notebook. When connected, you’re able to make and answer calls on the device, as well as use it as a second screen or a mirror for your phone. Other features include the ability to transfer URLs and files, as well as remote file access of documents on your phone via the notebook.
It’s true that there are apps that do the same things Link to MyASUS does but I like how easy everything is with the app. It’s integrated smartly and is intuitive. If you don’t have you own set of apps that do the above, the Link to MyASUS program is an awesome alternative.
As a business machine, the ASUS ExpertBook B9 also comes with top notch security features.
There’s the Kensington lock, a webcam shield (built right next to the webcam), a fingerprint sensor and an IR cam that can even recognize you in the dark, great for biometric authentication.
Finally, the machine has its own Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip (an optional add-on) and USB lock control for even more security.
Surprisingly, the machine is also tested to survive military grade tests. What this means is that the notebook is damn durable. How durable? Take a look.
In line with its military grade toughness, the keyboard also comes with a cool feature of its own; it’s spill-resistant up to 66cc of liquid. While it’s not water proof, it does mean the keyboard can withstand the odd spill here and there without it killing your notebook.
Other than that, the keyboard’s a regular one.
The keys are a bit too shallow for me (I prefer a keyboard with more travel) but that’s understandable considering that ASUS built the notebook with portability in mind. There are also shortcuts built into the Function keys but I rarely used them, opting to use traditional button combinations instead.
Awesomely, there are even more nifty features in store.
For one, like the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo, the trackpad can also double as a numpad via a simple button press. It’s equally responsive in either mode, so no worries about that.
Since the ASUS ExpertBook B9 doesn’t have a discreet GPU, it’s pretty useless to test it with 3Dmark and our usual suite of games. That’s why this time around, we only have PCmark results as that’s geared for workloads the ASUS ExpertBook B9 is meant for.
In that regard, the ASUS ExpertBook B9 excels, with the score reflecting it. Whether its word processing, teleconferencing or even multimedia consumption, the notebook does them all with ease. Just don’t expect photo or video editing and you’ll be fine.
The Bottom Line.
At the end of the day, the ASUS ExpertBook B9 does everything it set out to do. The machine’s incredibly portable (due to its size and light weight), but also packs some great features (military grade resistance and security options) that enhance its value.
Is it perfect? Nope, there are issues with the lack of USB Type-A ports, the placement of the audio jack and the shallow keyboard but all those are minor flaws that are trumped by everything else the machine does right.
Some minor issues but otherwise an awesome piece of hardware that’s great for business.
- Great design.
- Awesome features.
- Decent business tasks performance.
- Lacking USB Type-A ports and SD card reader.
- Weird placement of some ports.
- Keyboard could be better.