Like Lenovo’s ThinkPads and Dell’s Latitudes, Asus also has its own business brand: AsusPro. The brand has been around for some time but has not enjoyed much fame until now. That could soon change, because at CES Asus presented the AsusPro B9440U, a 14-inch business laptop with a particularly thin design and ditto screen edges.
Although the B9440U was also present at CES, Asus was kind enough to bring an early sample of the laptop to us in Amsterdam, so that we could spend a little more time with the laptop than usual during a trading day.
It is an art to make compact and light laptops and Asus has built the 920 gram Zenbook 3 for consumers . For the business market, Asus has taken a different tack and the result is a laptop with a 14″ screen and a weight of 1078 grams. The laptop seems to have a plastic casing, but it turns out to be a magnesium alloy. Because the casingat the bottom, the laptop seems thinner than it actually is, although the 18 millimeters that we measured are still not wrong.
For the B9440U, Asus seems to have borrowed some design elements from other laptops. Dell was of course the first to apply the thin screen edges to the XPS 13 , while the hinge that tilts the keyboard slightly resembles the Sony Vaio Pro 13. On the sides of the hinge are a USB-C connection on the left and right placed, with the left one also supporting displayport. The connector can also be used to connect Asus’ own SimPro Dock . The whole is also only 32 centimeters wide, comparable to most 13-inch laptops, and in our opinion provides a stylish appearance.
With such a design, sturdiness is of course important. It is difficult to predict how things will be in the short time that we have taken care of the B9440U. If you grab the screen at the top two corners, it can be twisted quite easily and if you press excessively hard on the keyboard, the screen tends to hinge towards you. According to Asus, the screen is built to give a little, so that it doesn’t immediately break if it gets a bump and we assume that the same applies to the hinge.
Keyboard, touchpad and screen
In addition, if you hit the keyboard with normal force, the laptop stays in place and nothing wobbles. The keys have quite a bit of travel and provide clear feedback, and the touchpad recognizes multitouch movements well in most cases. The fingerprint scanner is useful, which of course works in combination with Windows Hello and recognizes your fingerprint in a fraction of a second. We’re also pleased that the scanner is placed at the top right of the keyboard and not in the touchpad, as Asus did with the Zenbook 3.
We can be brief about the screen: it looks good. The edges around the 14″ screen are thin and Asus has chosen to provide it with a matte coating. The panel comes from AU Optronics and gives a nice, high-contrast image to the eye. A quick measurement confirms this, with a contrast of 1367:1 and a maximum brightness of 346cd/m².
The B9440U that we were allowed to order was equipped with a Core i7-7500U processor, 16GB memory and a 512GB nvme SSD from Toshiba. We can imagine that another configuration with lesser specs will be released and perhaps a version with Core i5-7300U or i7-7600U for people or companies using Intel vPro.
We were able to open the laptop for a while and under the hood we found a 48Wh battery – good for a battery life of ten hours according to Asus – and the NVME SSD, which is optionally interchangeable. Because the SSD, the same as in the ZenBook 3, can get quite hot, the heat is conducted to the bottom of the casing with a piece of tape. The working memory is soldered in as usual with these types of laptops. Finally, the laptop is equipped with active cooling, with an awfully thin fan that reminds us of that of the Zenbook 3 . Nevertheless, Asus appears to have handled the cooling better with the B9440U, because the noise level remains acceptable even under Prime95.
With the AsusPro B9440U, Asus gives a slightly different interpretation to the concept of a thin and light laptop than it did with the Zenbook 3. At first glance that seems to work out well, because this business lightweight does have a pleasant keyboard and a conveniently placed fingerprint scanner, just to name a few. We still have some doubts about the sturdiness; for that we would have to use the laptop a little longer and testing the battery life, screen calibration and running benchmarks also made little sense on this sample, which is therefore not yet ‘finished’. We therefore hope to be able to test a retail model more extensively by the time the laptop is actually in the store, because we can well imagine that not only the business user will be charmed by this AsusPro.