AsusPro B9440UA Review: The Slimmest Ultrabook
With the consumer laptop market fizzling out, manufacturers have become more focused on developing business-friendly devices as they can help them in improving margins. Asus has also entered this race as it has just launched the latest flagship model of its professional range known as AsusPro. Announced this year at the Consumer Electronics Show, the AsusPro B9440UA is aimed primarily at those people who wish to own a business laptop that can rival the likes of Dell’s XPS 13 and Apple’s MacBook Air. Asus has chosen to go in a completely different way with this Ultrabook in terms of design as it has an elevated keyboard.
The popular laptop manufacturer has hailed it as the lightest 14-inch laptop in the world because it weighs just over 1kg and is about 150g lighter than the XPS 13 from Dell. The look of the B9440UA has not been designed to come off as thin. Light is the main purpose and the device manages to do just that with attention to detail and style. An excellent example is the way the name AsusPro is etched onto the laptop’s back. A magnesium alloy has been used by Asus for the chassis because it gives the robustness a boost.
The input peripherals are also incredibly comfortable and you will not have any problem using them at all. The keyboard is water-resistant and offers decent travel and great feedback without being too noisy. The device is balanced equally with the generously-sized touchpad. One problem is that the power key is located just above the fingerprint scanner and right next to the delete button, which could lead to some unfortunate accidents. Regardless, the screen is surrounded by a thin bezel and bright. When you open the laptop, the base rises up so you get to enjoy an angled typing surface.
The laptop is lacking a webcam and the number of ports has been reduced to three, which could create a problem. One port is the audio connector whereas the remaining two are USB Type-C ports. Here Asus is essentially enticing you to purchase its SIMPRO docking stations. These are an affordable and relatively well-made peripheral that can boost your device’s connectivity by adding two DisplayPorts, VGA, headphone, HDMI, an Ethernet port, five USB ports and a card reader. But, it is the lack of webcam that can be a serious problem for most users because it would prevent them from videoconferencing or from embracing the complete biometrics. Even Dell positioned the webcam at an awkward angle, but it still did include it and Asus’s decision not to do so could hurt the laptop’s prospects.
As far as the display is concerned, the B9440UA is a full HD matte model and is quite accurate. You can get some serious battery life thanks to the 48Whr 4-cell battery and it will last for almost 10 hours before needing to be charged. It has a very capable CPU in the form of the 7200U and the 8GB Ram as well as the Intel Core i5 ensure that the device runs very smoothly and quickly. There is a 3-year international warranty offered by Asus with the B9440U and it has the Windows 10 Pro installed in it by default.
The Harman Kardon speakers have been installed for sound and they turn out to be quite bassy due to the structure of the laptop. The price of the device runs the same as that of its competitors, but the lack of ports and the webcam can turn out to be a downside for it as it faces plenty of competition in this price range.