My personal laptop is a Surface Laptop from Microsoft. In fact, it’s the very first generation, and I love it. But anyways, Asus asked if I would like to check out their latest business laptop, the Asus Expertbook B9450, which they claim is the world’s lightest 14-inch business laptop.
So I’ve had it for about a couple of weeks now, and it’s got me thinking… Should I get it? To replace my Surface Laptop? Hmmm.
To start off, this is the lightest laptop I’ve ever held in my hand. For a 14-inch laptop, it weighs a mere 870 grams. In comparison, my Surface Laptop weighs almost 1.3 kilograms.
This is seriously light, guys, like it’s so light to the point that you might even forget you had it in your bag kind of light.
Now to achieve that kind of weight, Asus did not use aluminium nor any form of plastic. The entire chassis is made of a magnesium-lithium alloy. Honestly, it feels really good to the touch, while being pretty rigid and durable, with almost zero flex. Of course, being a business-oriented laptop, it’s certified for Military Standard 810G as well, so even if you were slightly rough with it, it should be all fine.
The display itself is what I would describe as par for the course. It’s got everything right in my books. A full HD resolution, good colour reproduction, great viewing angles, a matte finish, and having relatively thin bezels all around. It’s basically great for doing anything from basic documents, to watching your favourite YouTube videos and more.
One thing to note is that the top bezel is slightly thicker, and that’s to make way for the webcam, which does support Windows Facial Recognition for unlocking the laptop, with a built-in privacy cover as well.
There are also a total of 4 microphones located across the top of the bezel, and this is how the webcam looks and how I sound. I wouldn’t say it’s the best out there, but it’s certainly enough for business meetings and such.
As for the keyboard, I would say that it’s like the display, par for the course. The keys have a good amount of travel, and it does feel tactile. I hardly made any mistakes.
But there’s one thing I absolutely hate on this keyboard. It’s the power button.
The power button is situated right on the top right corner, and it’s right beside backspace and the delete key. Which I have to mention, that the delete key and the power button is the exact same size.
It’s no surprise that sometimes when I’m typing, the laptop would suddenly go to sleep. All because I tapped on the power button and not the backspace or delete.
In my opinion, the power buttons should be relocated to the side, like the HP Dragonfly, or at the very least, like the Surface Laptop, have it before the delete key, rather than after.
But then again, use the laptop long enough, and you’ll get used to it… I think.
As for the trackpad, it’s nice and wide, and it feels great. You also get a digital numpad, which you can activate via this toggle on the corner.
Now, this laptop does also feature a fingerprint sensor. Which means you get a total of 3 ways to unlock this laptop. Facial recognition, fingerprint, or just a plain old PIN or password.
Now on the lid, you’ll see this small light bar, and this is actually for Alexa. Now I’m in Singapore, and we don’t really use Alexa that much here, and neither do I have anything Alexa at home, so I couldn’t really test it. But for those of you who use Alexa, well, it should work.
Speakers are powered by Harman Kardon, and they sound decent, especially given its form factor.
Now despite being thin and light, it does feature quite a number of ports.
On the right, you get your 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port, and a Kensington lock slot.
On the left, you get two Thunderbolt 3 ports via USB-C, along with a full-sized HDMI 2.0 and a micro HDMI port, which is actually used to connect an RJ45 LAN adapter.
So in a nutshell, despite being lighter and just as compact as my Surface Laptop, it has more than twice the amount of ports. And with Thunderbolt 3, that means you can also plug in an external graphics card should you want to do so.
Now we talk about specs. The unit that I have right here comes with an Intel Core i7-10510U, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of NVMe SSD storage and a 2-cell 33Wh battery.
In terms of Cinebench R20, the Core i7-10510U that’s in here is decent, but not the best, as it’s only a 4 cores 8 threads chip. But in fact, it’s also clocked much lower compared to the exact same chip that’s found in the ZenBook UX534, most likely due to its thinner form factor.
The NVMe SSD is too bad either, with extremely good sequential read and write speeds, but the random 4K, which is far more important, is severely lacking. So when you’re transferring multiple different files, do note that it won’t be that fast.
But you can actually upgrade the storage, up to two 2TB NVMe SSDs.
For the battery, the B9450 comes with two options, a 2-cell 33Wh battery, or double that with a 4-cell 66Wh battery. Do note however that it only weighs 870g with the 33Wh battery. The weight will be much closer to a kilogram should you choose the 66Wh version.
For my testing, I got around 7 hours of actual real use with the 33Wh. I was constantly on WiFi, brightness at 50%, speakers at 50%, and I was doing a mixture of documents, YouTube, general browsing, and even 90 minutes of video call using Google Meets.
My opinion, however, if you’re looking at this laptop, get the 66Wh. You’ll practically almost double battery life. For the cost of a little bit more weight? I’ll take it.
So, I’m actually quite impressed with the Expertbook B9450. So, it got me thinking.
Should I replace my Surface Laptop with this? My answer is no. Now there are a few reasons.
First, I don’t really need a powerful thin and light per se. For that, I already have my desktop right here. Yes, it’s not portable. But if I need to do any kind of serious work, it’ll be on my desktop.
The second is that it doesn’t feel as premium. Now, this is subjective, of course. But I do find that despite the great build quality of the Expertbook, I find myself leaning towards the Surface Laptop. It’s hard to explain, but I find that I enjoy using the Surface Laptop more than the Expertbook? If that makes any sense.
The third, is the typing experience. Now like I said, I did enjoy typing on the Expertbook, but… the Alcantara is much better. Hands down. And the main reason I even bought the Surface Laptop, was just so I could write some novels, that’s it, really.
But that’s me, you might be different. If you’re interested in the Asus Expertbook B9450, do take a look. It’s definitely worth checking out.
More information about the Asus Expertbook B9450 (starting at S$2,289) is available on Asus’ website.