With its ExpertBook B9, Asus promises us an ultraportable “at the top of its game”, but every masterpiece has a price. Here is our full review of this uncompromising ultraportable Asus ExpertBook B9450.
As we will see in this test, the Asus ExpertBook B9450 lives up to its name: this machine is aimed at professionals. The device wants to represent the state of the art in ultraportables by focusing on its lightness and autonomy, but also a lot of smaller details welcome on this kind of products.
Model Asus ExpertBook B9450
Screen size 14 inch
Definition 1920 x 1080 pixels
Processor (CPU) Intel Core i7-10510U
Graphics Chip (GPU) Intel UHD 620
Random access memory (RAM) 8 GB, 16 GB
Wi-Fi standard Wi-Fi 6 (ad)
Bluetooth version 5.0
Operating System (OS) Windows 10 Pro
Dimensions 320 x 149 x 203mm
Weight 995 grams
ULTRA-THIN ULTRALIGHT DESIGN
Design is the most important element of an ultraportable, it is above all on this criterion that it stands out from the rest of the market. The ExpertBook may offer a diagonal of 14 inches, the standard today on these machines, it is nonetheless very compact thanks to the fairly thin edges all around the screen. On this point, we regret that the integration of the screen into the frames is not more transparent. More and more PCs cover this integration with a glass panel, to prevent dust from slipping into the gap between the screen and the chassis.
The magnesium-lithium alloy of the PC makes it possible to reach a featherweight of 995 grams, it is quickly forgotten in a bag, while displaying a very high resistance. Asus promises MIL-STD 810G certification allowing the machine to withstand a force of 30 kg applied to the cover (pc closed), several drops from 12 cm, humidity of 85% at 40 degrees, vibrations of 5 to 500 Hz, or even “powerful” hits of 150G every 2.5 ms.
Many promises which allow to have a certain confidence in the durability of the machine. An impression reinforced by the quality of the finishes presented. It’s hands down one of the classiest ultraportables I’ve had in my hands so far. The matte coating chosen by Asus does not take fingerprints, and it is rather pleasant under the wrists.
But Asus paid attention to a lot of details with this machine. We think for example of the ergolift hinge, which allows to better ventilate the computer and improve the comfort of the keyboard, the presence of a bright LED in front of the touchpad, or the possibility of pushing the screen until almost reaching the 180 degrees of opening.
KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD
If one had to make a criticism about this machine, it would probably be about its keyboard. The stroke of the keys is nice, as are their sizes for the main ones and the spacing between the keys, but we can see that the brand did not use the full width of the machine at its disposal.
It is the enter key which bears the cost, with a size reduced by half in vertical, but also the arrow keys and which are reduced to a minimal part of the keyboard. The shortcuts, which incorporate the machine’s power button, are also quite small. This entire test was typed with this keyboard, and overall the experience was satisfactory. We just feel that the brand could have gone further on this criterion.
However, we have nothing to say about the touchpad, which is large enough and offers good glide, it is very pleasant to use. Asus also includes a button to transform it into a numeric keypad. Windows recognizes it as a precision touchpad, guaranteeing good recognition of OS touch shortcuts.
You don’t necessarily have to subscribe to all of the popular old connectors to be modern. Asus proves it by integrating both USB-C Thunderbolt 3 into its machine, two ports on the left edge next to the HDMI port, but we also have the right to a USB Type-A port at 10 Gb / s on the right side, in addition to the classic 3.5 mm jack.
Asus ExpertBook B9450 test (6)Asus ExpertBook B9450 review (1)
We therefore have both a perfectly futureproof machine with its Thunderbolt 3 ports, and at the same time compatible with most USB or HDMI devices. We have one last port to discover, and it is unusual on this kind of machine, an RJ45 Ethernet port in micro HDMI format.
The compatible adapter is supplied with the machine and allows you to connect your computer with a wired connection.
A BEAUTIFUL SCREEN WELL CALIBRATED
Our PC incorporates a 14-inch AU Optronics AUO623D IPS LCD panel, with a definition of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The coating is matt, which reduces the glare of the sun.
On its site, Asus promises 100% sRGB color space coverage. This is indeed what we see with our test, thanks to the Calman software, which displays a coverage of 103% precisely, for 69% of the DCI-P3 space. The colors are also fairly well calibrated, with an average DeltaE2000 of 2.65 (below 3, the difference is said to be invisible to the naked eye), for a maximum of 5.77. The color temperature is 6400K on average, which is a bit below what you would expect (6500K which is equivalent to white sunlight).
All of this means that the screen will be perfectly suited for creative work. In addition, with a brightness of 320 cd / m² and a contrast ratio measured at 1545: 1, the ExpertBook screen finishes leaving us a very good impression.
WINDOWS 10 AND SOME WELCOME ADDITIONS
The ExpertBook runs on Windows 10 with the late 2019 update installed, the latest on this machine, since Microsoft has adopted a very gradual deployment of its May 2020 update. The installation is rather clean, with no real bloatware, if we put aside the applications preinstalled by Microsoft (uninstallable with one click) and the McAfee application which presents the products of the security firm. Please note, this is not a trial version of the antivirus, Asus rather offers the much better and free solution integrated into Windows 10.
Especially Asus offers us some rather nice software on its machine. First, the MyAsus application which allows you to synchronize with your smartphone. Microsoft also offers this kind of connection with “My Phone”, but here Asus goes much further. The brand’s solution allows you to easily transfer files, display the screen of your smartphone in mirror mode or remotely access your PC’s files from the smartphone. The connection really goes both ways.
That’s not all, the computer is also supplied with the “Business Manager” application which, as its name suggests, brings together functions more intended for the business world. It includes the possibility of letting an administrator control access to websites or data, the establishment of a fully encrypted virtual storage space, or even a file “shredder” that makes sure that no trace of a file after its deletion. It is even possible to replace the Asus logo when starting the PC with that of your company.
FACIAL RECOGNITION AND FINGERPRINT READER
On our machine, two biometric authentication methods are offered, on the one hand facial recognition thanks to the camera coupled to an infrared camera, and on the other hand the fingerprint reader.
During my test, I rarely used the fingerprint reader offered for the simple reason that Windows 10’s facial recognition is really very effective. However, offering this choice is interesting, especially in cases where your face is masked for example. In these situations, the fingerprint reader is of great help.
A CAMERA THAT RESPECTS PRIVACY
Back to the camera, the ExpertBook includes a classic 720p HD camera with microphone, and an infrared camera for facial recognition. When we said that Asus had paid attention to a lot of details, we especially thought of this clever cam cover which allows us to ensure total respect for our privacy, at least when it comes to the eyes of the computer.
Asus is not the only manufacturer to offer this kind of element, but it is always welcome and it is an additional positive point for the machine.
On the other hand, as too often on laptops, the quality of the webcam is not there. We have more the impression of seeing an impressionist work than a real cliché, and that’s a shame for a machine that is aimed at professionals. A clientele who would undoubtedly like to make presentations at a distance, without appearing blurry on the screen.
THE TESTED CONFIGURATION
Our ultraportable of the day integrates the aging Intel Core i7-10510U platform, a 10th generation Intel Core processor engraved in “14nm ++” and heir to the 2015 Skylake. This 4-core processor clocked at 1.8 GHz is supported by 16 GB of RAM LPDDR3 at 2133 MHz. It should also be noted that the system is installed on two NVME PCIe 3.0 x 4 SSDs connected in RAID 0 to maximize performance. In our case we are entitled to 1 TB of storage, thanks to two Samsung PM981 SSD (MZVLB1T0HALR) of 1 TB each. Good point, the PC supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
OFFICE PERFORMANCE AND WEB USE
What kinds of tasks can you actually do with this machine? It is an ultraportable clearly designed for relatively basic tasks: word processing, surfing the web and PowerPoint presentations. You are definitely not going to do heavy video editing or photo editing with this machine.
This PC is clearly aimed at executives or employees who simply need access to data, without carrying out intensive processing on them. The aim was clearly to offer a light, silent and autonomous machine. The counterpart is obviously on the raw power. However, it should be noted that the software experience always remains fluid, we are not at all in the same kind of framework as on inexpensive devices with disappointing performance, even on the simple Windows desktop or in web browsing.
Our test in CineBench shows that with a score of 975 points, we should not expect much in raw performance on this machine. The score also drops to 871 points over a long test session, the machine limits its performance to maintain an acceptable level of cooling.
The storage of the machine shows good performance, especially with sequential reads and writes that go up to several GB / s.
Who says limited power, also says the impossibility of playing greedy games. Forget titles like Fortnite Battle Royale or Valorant right away. This does not mean that it is impossible to play with this PC. If we put aside solutions like cloud gaming , which in fact allow you to play from any type of machine, we can remember that Steam is teeming with small games that can run perfectly on the ExpertBook. For example, I was able to play a few games of Dicey Dungeons without any problem.
A SILENT MACHINE
During my testing, I hardly ever heard the fan go on. It was only on hot days with long, fairly intensive sessions that the machine began to blow, but still remaining quite discreet. This PC emphasizes silence, even if it means sacrificing its performance by limiting the central processor. He is still able to perform office automation, while avoiding being noticed in an open space . In addition, the machine is never hot to the touch, and will be rather lukewarm in the worst case.
TOO LOW SOUND VOLUME
Asus promises on its website the integration of 2 stereo speakers “certified Harman Kardon”. It’s a pretty name, but unfortunately it doesn’t translate to a great sound experience in this case. The quality is there, with a good balance from bass to treble, but the system lacks volume.
This is enough in a perfectly quiet environment, but the noise level can really be a problem as soon as there is a little noise. The speakers can therefore help out, but it will instead be necessary to favor the use of a headset with this machine.
A REAL AUTONOMY OF A DAY
Asus offers two configurations for this machine concerning the battery: 66Wh or 33 Wh. Here it is the 66Wh version that we tested. It is a rather large battery for an ultraportable that consumes little, and already a good sign for its autonomy. We have indeed seen it with our tests. From my first day with the machine, I was able to hold out from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., before falling below 20%, or 12 hours of battery life. During this time, I mostly did web surfing, but also a few games sessions on Dicey Dungeons (less than an hour in total), and application downloads and installations. Uses that generally consume the battery quite easily.
I was able to repeat these very good results on a daily basis, it’s quite simple, this is the first ultraportable that I tested that allows me to really last a whole day without deactivating the Wi-Fi or playing with the brightness of the screen.
The machine is also recharged very easily through one of its USB-C ports. Asus offers a 45W charger with the PC which allows you to return to 100% in 2 hours of charging.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
This is undoubtedly the most painful point of this test. The ExpertBook is an ultra high-end machine. Our configuration is marketed at 2000 euros , it is the highest, but we can also find a configuration with Intel Core i5-10210U and 512 GB of storage at 1800 euros .
Where to buy the
ASUS EXPERTBOOK B9450 at the best price?
THE VERDICT OF THE ASUS EXPERTBOOK B9450
The ExpertBook is the ultraportable par excellence. Thin and light, it still offers a keyboard and a comfortable touchpad as well as a particularly complete connection.
The screen on this PC isn’t the best on the market. It’s a well-calibrated IPS LCD screen, but still lacks brightness to dethrone the best.
Windows 10 without bloatware, or almost, and with practical applications to synchronize with your smartphone, but also to better protect your privacy.
The 720p HD camera is unfortunately not at the level of the other features of the machine. Too bad for a PC aimed at professionals. We still appreciate the possibility of hiding the camera physically with a small lever.
It’s often the Achilles heel of ultraportables, and the Asus PC is no exception. To ensure quiet operation, the machine does not hesitate to limit its performance, which is already quite mediocre. This PC will be perfectly suitable for office automation or the web, but it should not be asked to do too complex processing, in photos or videos for example.
With its 66Wh battery, the ExpertBook has no problem to last a whole day of use. It’s the first ultraportable we tested to offer over 12 hours of non-flexing battery life, with use with the screen and Wi-Fi on. it also recharges quickly enough thanks to the USB-C charger provided by Asus.
Final test score. 9/10
The Asus ExpertBook B9450 is perhaps the best ultraportable on the market today. It displays record battery life, while being light and practical to use. The machine is full of interesting details such as the webcam cache, encrypted storage, biometrics by two means, or its rich and varied connectivity (HDMI and RJ45).
All of this comes at a price, and even two. First, the machine shows limited performance. On a daily basis, for web browsing, office automation or multimedia it never gets in the way and the machine remains perfectly fluid. On the other hand, you really shouldn’t ask him for more. The other is the price obviously. A machine costing nearly 2000 euros is much more than the average of the ultraportables tested by our editorial staff. This is probably the price to pay for such a well-designed machine, but it actually makes it much less accessible.
If you are looking for the best, without the constraints of a budget, this may be the machine for you.
- Monster autonomy
- Screen well calibrated by default
- Rich connectivity
- (Double biometrics, webcam cache, Wi-Fi 6)
- Limited performance
- High price