Asus Pro B9440 Review: A lot of business laptops are thick beasts with extended batteries and huge bezels. The $999 Asus Pro B9440 affords a more minimal strategy, with a slim, 0.6-inch body and an almost bezel-less screen, akin to the Dell XPS 13. However, in doing so, Asus has deserted not just ports but also a webcam, which is sort of a head-scratcher if not an outright deal breaker.
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Asus Pro B9440 Review – Specifications
Asus Pro B9440 Review – Design
At first look, the AsusPro isn’t much to have a look at. It’s a gunmetal-gray, magnesium-alloy laptop with Asus’ emblem in silver on the lid. But once you open the laptop, you see a little bit of ingenuity: The lid is slightly longer than the bottom of the laptop, which causes the keyboard to be slanted up a few degrees when it’s open. You will also discover the 14-inch, 1080p almost bezel-less display, in addition to a Chiclet-style keyboard.
There are only 3 ports on the entire Asus Pro: a USB Type-C port on both sides, and a headphone jack on the left facet. The one on the left also doubles as a DisplayPort. However, both ports can be used for charging. Sadly, neither USB port supports Thunderbolt 3. I know Asus was making an attempt to make the laptop thin. However, I would’ve appreciated at least one full-size regular USB 3.0 port somewhere on this laptop, even when it have been a little thicker.
It will get worse. Asus decided not to include a webcam on the Pro B9440. Now we’re not the fan of the “chin cam” beneath the screen on the XPS 13. Though at least you have the option of making a video call. With the Asus Pro B9440, you’d have to invest in an external webcam. Some people would possibly argue that Asus omitted the webcam to reinforce privacy. However, it can also prevent some employees from being productive when they’re on the go.
This system is relatively compact and lightweight, at just 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches and 2.4 pounds. That’s the very same footprint as the 2.5-pound Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, however, bigger than the 2.4-pound HP’s EliteBook Folio (measuring 11.5 x 8.2 x 0.5 inches). The Dell’s XPS 13 is the heaviest of the bunch, weighing at 3 pounds, and measures 12.4 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches.
Asus Pro B9440 Review – Keyboard and TouchPad
The keyboard on the AsusPro takes a while to get used to. To begin with, it’s on an angle. Although that may be comfy on the wrists, it’s not the kind of experience I anticipate from a laptop. With 1.4 millimeters of the key journey, the keys felt shallow and didn’t provide the responsive tactile feel I like, despite the fact that they require a heavy 70 grams of actuation force to press down.
The 4.1 x 2.4-inch touchpad on the Asus Pro B9440 was roomy enough to let me navigate the entire screen. However, I discovered that it was oversensitive by default. I had to go into the system settings and turn down the pointer speed to feel comfy with it. As soon as I did, I was able to perform Windows 10 gestures, like pinch-to-zoom and three-finger scroll to see all of my open programs, with ease.
Asus Pro B9440 Review – Display
The display on the Asus Pro B9940 is on the cool side, with a light blue tint. When I watched a Full-HD 1080p trailer for Justice League, the faces of characters corresponding to Batman, Cyborg, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and the Flash have been barely off from their actors’ skin tones, although the bright red in Cyborg’s armor still stood out. The screen is sharp, though, and I could make out all the scales on Aquaman’s suit.
The Asus Pro’s panel measured an average of 291 nits of brightness on our light meter, falling under the category average (301 nits) and the Dell XPS 13 (302 nits), however, it was brighter than the 104-nits of Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the 288-nits of HP EliteBook Folio.
The panel covers a superb 103 % of the sRGB color gamut, surpassing the ultraportable category average of 95 % in addition to the Dell XPS 13 (84 %) and the HP EliteBook Folio (72 %). The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is slightly more bright, at 104 %.
Unfortunately, the screen on Pro B9440 is quite inaccurate. It registered a disturbingly high Delta-E rating of 6.7 (closer to 0 is good), far above the category average of 2.4. The X1 Carbon had a rating of 4.4, and the XPS 13 (1.3) and EliteBook Folio (0.6) had been more precise.
Asus Pro B9440 Review – Graphics and Audio
You won’t be using the Asus Pro for any heavy video editing or intense gaming. It earned a rating of 69,585 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark test. That’s higher than the category average (54,057), the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (68,082) and the HP EliteBook (65,639). The Dell XPS 13 earned a higher rating (72,507).
The audio system on the Asus Pro isn’t the loudest. However, they were better than I anticipated for a laptop that’s so thin. I had to raise up the volume almost all the way to fill our midsize conference room while listening to Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue,” The vocals, drums, guitar, and violin has been clear. I tried switching between profiles in the ICEpower AudioWizard app, and I discovered there was two technique of improvement. Gaming mode added more oomph on the low end, whereas I received more volume and clearer guitars on movie mode.
Asus Pro B9440 Review – Hardware and Performance
The Asus Pro put up stable performance numbers in many benchmarks, though it wasn’t as powerful as some opponents when I put it through real-life testing. After opening 20 Google Chrome tabs, one of which was streaming a Full-HD YouTube video, the laptop started lagging when I started switching between the tabs. The vents started blowing out hot air with just seven Google Chrome tabs open.
On the Geekbench 4 performance test, the Asus Pro B9440 notched a rating of 7,238, which is on a par with the Dell XPS 13 (Intel Core i5-7200U, 7,287) and surpasses the ultraportable category average (6,929). The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Core i7-7600U) outperformed the test, with a rating of 8,751.
It took 26 seconds for the Asus Pro B9440 to copy 4.97GB of combined media miles. That interprets to 195.7 MBps. While that’s quicker than the category average (185.6 MBps) and the HP EliteBook Folio (162.2 MBps), the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (242 MBps) and the Dell XPS 13 (339.3 MBps) blazed past the test quite quickly.
The Asus Pro B9440 completed our OpenOffice spreadsheet macro test by pairing 20,000 names and addresses in just 4 minutes and 2 seconds. That’s quicker than the 5:58 category average and the HP EliteBook Folio’s 4:21. The Dell’s XPS 13 and the Lenovo’s ThinkPad x1 accomplished the task more quickly.
Asus Pro B9440 Review – Heat
In our testing, the AsusPro was reliably cool. After we had streamed Full-HD video from YouTube for 15 minutes, the underside of the laptop measured 85 degrees Fahrenheit, while the touchpad reached 81 degrees, and the area between the G and H keys hit cool 88 degrees. We consider any temperatures under 95 degrees to be comfortable.
Asus Pro B9440 Review – Battery Life
The Asus Pro will simply get you through the workday, as long as you don’t work extra time. The laptop lasted for healthy 8 hours and 26 minutes on our Battery Test, merely beating the category average of 8:14. The Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the Dell’s XPS 13 lasted longer, at 12:21 and 13:49, respectively, however, the HP’s EliteBook Folio was short-lived by comparison (7:02).
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The $999 Asus Pro B9440 seems like a machine that doesn’t know its objective. While the laptop is purportedly for business users, Asus removed some of the key features in its quest for thinness and a Dell XPS-styled display. The dearth of ports and the lack of a webcam make me question this ultraportable’s existence.
However, this Asus machine gets factors for being super portable and having a display with nearly no bezel. But other laptops do it better. If the screen is essential to you, go for the Dell XPS 13 (starting at $799), whose panel is brighter and more accurate. The webcam is in an awkward spot, however, at least you will have one. And although it’s thicker, you will get a full set of ports.
If it’s the modern design you are lusting after, you must grab the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (beginning at $1,329) if you have the extra money. It provides dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and a handful of legacy ports for your existing peripherals.