Reviews

Asus Professional B9440UA evaluation: A tricky, light-weight 14-inch enterprise laptop computer, however the place’s the webcam?

The Asus Pro B9440UA tries to hit a candy spot between value, performance and portability that may enchantment to cellular professionals. There’s an actual sleekness to the design, with Asus highlighting the availability of a full-HD 14-inch display screen in a 13-inch chassis with ‘military-grade reliability’. However that is fairly a crowded a part of the market, so Asus might want to do one thing particular and go away no unfastened ends if it is to really impress.

If slim and modern wins the day, then the Asus Professional B9440UA suits the invoice. The chassis tapers from 15mm on the again — together with a beneficiant allowance for the protruding hinge mechanism — down to only eight.9mm on the entrance. The desktop footprint measures 321.3mm by 216.2mm.

asuspro-main.jpg

The Asus Professional B9440UA combines modern dimensions with a strong (MIL-STD 810G) chassis. It weighs simply over a kilogram, and is powered by Seventh-generation Core i3, i5 or i7 processors.

Photos: ASUS

Even earlier than opening the lid the magnesium alloy chassis simply appears to be like stylish. Slate-grey and hard, the Asus Professional B9440UA meets MIL-STD 810G so it ought to definitely survive the rough-and-tumble of the chief’s journey bag. Nonetheless, for all its military-grade robustness there’s various flex within the lid, and I would not need to carry this laptop computer far and not using a protecting case.

Based on its producer, the Asus Professional B9440UA is the world’s lightest 14-inch enterprise laptop computer. It weighs in simply over the 1kg mark at 1.05kg, and is lighter than rivals such because the 13.Three-inch Dell XPS 13 (1.2kg), 13.Three-inch Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (1.24kg), and 13.9-inch Lenovo Yoga 910 (1.4kg).

asuspro-hinge2.jpgasuspro-hinge2.jpg

The display screen hinge props up the keyboard at a snug typing angle. Notice the place of the facility key, subsequent to Delete.

Picture: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Two of these laptops have 360-degree rotating screens, a characteristic Asus eschews right here: the display screen will solely go way back to 180 levels, to lie flat on a desk. The hinge itself has an revolutionary design that sits pleased with the again of the laptop computer and raises the again of the keyboard increased than the entrance. The ensuing 7-degree angle offers a typing place that is extra ergonomic than the standard flat place.

There are two very skinny rubber strips on the again of the laptop computer hinge, which look slightly incongruous in opposition to the in any other case very modern traces. They sit on the desk prime when the Asus Professional B9440UA is opened, and I assume are current to assist hold it anchored (the raised again means there’s solely room for rubber toes on the entrance of the bottom part). Sadly, this association would not actually work — this may very well be a laptop computer that is cellular in unintended methods on a juddering practice, for instance.

asuspro-keyboard.jpgasuspro-keyboard.jpg

The keyboard is backlit and the big touchpad works effectively. There is a fingerprint reader, however the lack of a webcam guidelines out authentication by way of face recognition.

Picture: ASUS

The backlit keyboard is comfy to make use of. Keys will not be significantly springy, however their 1.5mm journey delivers a reassuring really feel, significantly for heavier-handed typists. The area bar and different keys on this row are taller than the principle bulk of keys, which is uncommon however not unwelcome. There is a fingerprint scanner above the Fn key row on the precise.

The facility button is on the keyboard. This is not essentially a foul factor, however Asus has situated it on the proper finish of the Fn key row — the place I’d anticipate finding the Delete key, which has been nudged inwards by one slot. Inevitably, I repeatedly tapped the facility key accidentally when looking for Delete on autopilot. That is greater than only a minor irritation.

The touchpad is massive and really responsive. It dealt with multitouch gestures effectively, and I’ve no points with it.

Asus has opted to forego a touchscreen, which is uncommon lately (the three aforementioned laptops from Dell and Lenovo are all touchscreen units). The display screen has an anti-glare matte coating, which many enterprise customers could want to the reflective selection. I definitely discovered it a pleasure to work on a reflection-free display screen, and there is loads of brightness on provide.

The display screen has a 16:9 facet ratio, providing full-HD 1,920-by-1,080-pixel decision. That is not precisely modern lately, and I’d have preferred to have seen a better decision. Nonetheless, I used to be in a position to work with two home windows open facet by facet, and three at a pinch, and viewing angles are high quality.

I do not normally wax lyrical about laptop computer audio system, however the Harman Kardon items fitted listed below are on the increased finish of the audio high quality spectrum for a laptop computer on this class, delivering loads of quantity and bass.

Slender display screen bezels trigger issues for webcam placement. The three laptops talked about earlier — Lenovo’s Yoga 910 and Dell’s XPS 13 and XPS 13 2-in-1 — all have very slim bezels, and in consequence their webcams are awkwardly situated on the (bigger) bezel beneath the display screen.

Asus has discovered a distinct answer to this drawback: there isn’t any webcam. That is a really unusual choice on a business-class laptop computer. Not solely does it imply video conferencing is out of the query (until you convey an exterior webcam), it additionally takes authentication by way of Home windows Hey face recognition off the desk. This is likely to be a deal-breaker for a lot of potential consumers.

The opposite potential difficulty with the Asus Professional B9440UA is that, other than a Three.5mm headset jack, there are simply two USB Kind-C connectors, solely considered one of which helps show and energy. That is minimal certainly.

asuspro-dock.jpgasuspro-dock.jpg

Asus’s SimPro Dock provides a bunch of connections, however it’ll value you £139 ($150) further.

Photos: ASUS

Asus shipped my evaluation unit with its SimPro Dock which, for £139, provides an array of services: USB-C, USB Three.1 x2, SD card slot, energy button and combo audio jack on the entrance; and USB Three.1 x2, RJ-45 Ethernet, DisplayPort 1.2 x2, HDMI 1.Four, power-in and Kensington lock slot on the again. It is large although, including an extra 375g of weight to the package bag — and that is with out the facility adapter.

With an Intel Core i5-7200U processor, HD Graphics 620 and 8GB of RAM, the Asus Professional B9440UA is effectively outfitted for dealing with mainstream workloads, and the 512GB SSD will turn out to be useful too. The working system is Home windows 10 Professional.

Producers’ battery life claims are sometimes formidable, however Asus might not be too far off the mark in suggesting that you’re going to get ten hours from this technique’s Four-cell 48Wh battery, which is able to fast-charge as much as 50 % in 30 minutes. My anecdotal everyday-use exams have been very constructive: in a single session with the display screen at all times on, an web connection, a number of open browser home windows, some streaming, some doc creation and a few music listening, the battery depleted from 85 % to 58 % in Three.5 hours.

Asus pitches the £1,079.99 (inc. VAT, £899.99 ex. VAT, or $999 within the US) Asus Professional B9440UA squarely on the enterprise market, and there is lots to love, together with good battery life, a matte display screen, and a strong military-grade chassis. Nonetheless, there is not any webcam or touchscreen, restricted on-board connectivity and the facility change is in arguably probably the most annoying potential location.

Learn extra critiques

About the author

GN