The enterprise laptop space has not had a lot of players over the past many years. You mostly see a Lenovo ThinkPad or IdeaPad along with a smattering of Toshiba devices. However, Asus wants to make an impact in the segment now, with its new ExpertBook range. While the lineup touts its processing power and dependability, what will really woo the end-users is how light these devices actually are. Only a person who has to lug around a heavy laptop around the world will know why anything lighter will be appreciated.
Asus ExpertBook B9 450F
The Asus ExpertBook B9 450F is, without doubt, the thinnest and lightest laptop I have seen in recent times. In fact, weighing just 995 gram and 14.9mm thick, this 14-inch laptop reminds me of some Sony Vaio devices that were launched at the peak of the Ultrabook era. This device is so light, you can easily lift it with a couple of fingers. And, of course, it is as thin as a tablet with a keyboard cover. For someone like me, who had to travel a lot with a laptop in my bag, this suddenly makes life easier and less taxing for my shoulders.
Despite the thin disposition, the Asus ExpertBook B9 is sturdy. In fact, Asus claims military-grade endurance for most of the features and the laptop can work in all sorts of conditions and stress. It is the sort of device that can easily be rested on your lap as you work. And despite the screen folding up with a kickstand movement – Asus calls this mechanism the ErgoLift Hinge — to give the laptop a slight inclination, it does not irritate your lap when you work that way. However, because of the light frame, the device does move around a bit as you type.
The 14-inch full HD display is crisp and does not reflect light when you are working, and that is good for those who end up opening the laptop to check mail or spreadsheets wherever they are. The anti-glare display is also quite bright at 300 nits. However, I would have loved this laptop to be a bit louder.
The chassis of the Asus ExpertBook B9 450F might be small, but there are enough ports for you to not have to depend on adapters. This is good, given that most of the thin devices get their zero-size by dropping critical ports. This one even packs HDMI and RJ45 ports with its two USB-A and one USB-C port.
The keyboard is well spaced out and comes with all the function keys as well – there are even dedicated keys for camera and snip tools. It is backlit and apparently spill-proof too. It has the right amount of key travel, and typing on it was a real pleasure. But then you realise it does not have dedicated number keys on the side, something critical for a lot of users who are hooked to spreadsheet work. This is where Asus has added some magic. Tap on the right corner of the glass trackpad and it glows into a large number pad. This is a cool feature that can also be a head-turner when you are working on the plane or at a café.
The Asus ExpertBook B9 450F model I got for review was powered by Intel’s 10th Gen Core i7 processor. So performance was not an issue at all. You can do everything with this device and it will not even warm up a bit. You can easily multi-task with the Asus ExpertBook B9 450F, though I would have loved it to jump to life a little bit faster when you open it up in the morning, like my MacBook does. The device runs Windows 10 Pro and is completely configurable by IT management. While Asus offers top security features, I think a fingerprint scanner could have been a good value add for this user segment.
The battery life is good and in the first week of reviewing the laptop with moderate use, I had to charge it only once. A regular user would need to charge it just once a day with an eight-hour schedule, if anyone is still sticking to that anywhere in the world.
With a starting price of Rs 1,02,228, the Asus ExpertBook B9 450F is among the most practical devices I have seen in recent times. Given the work from home environment all of us seem to be stuck in for at least a few more months, this device is just what enterprises should consider for upper management personnel who need a tech upgrade. This is a frictionless device that offers users the right mix of practicality, style and convenience. I think the ThinkPad will have something to think about now.
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