Review Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) notebook

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Content

  1. Contents of delivery
  2. TECH SPECS
  3. Positioning
  4. Appearance, ergonomics
  5. Screen, multimedia
  6. Keyboard, touch pad
  7. Performance, autonomy, cooling
  8. Additional features
  9. Competitors
  10. Results, impressions

Contents of delivery

  • A laptop
  • Wall charger 65 W
  • Micro HDMI-LAN adapter
  • Protective cover (optional)
TECH SPECS
Operating system Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Home 
Processor Intel Core i7-10510U, 4 cores, 8 threads, 1.8 GHz (maximum frequency – 4.9 GHz, Turbo boost), 14 nm process technology (review version)
/
Intel Core i5-10210U, 4 cores, 8 threads, 1.6 GHz (maximum frequency – 4.2 GHz, Turbo boost), 14 nm process technology
Video card Intel UHD Graphics 620 Integrated
Screen IPS, 14 ″ Full-HD (1920 × 1080), 16: 9, matte, antiglare, 100% sRGB, NanoEdge (thin bezels), ErgoLift hinge
RAM 8/16 GB (review version), 2133 MHz, LPDDR3, support for dual-channel mode
Жесткий диск 512 GB / 1 TB / 2×1 TB (review version), SSD, M2 NVMe PCIE 3.0 x4
Connectors 2x Type-C USB Thunderbolt 3 (Power Delivery, Display Port, up to 40 Gbps)
1x Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 2
1x HDMI, RJ45 LAN, 3.5 mm combo jack, Kensington slot 
Wireless Interfaces Wi-Fi 6 802.11ah, Bluetooth 5.0, built-in LAN chip with dedicated MAC address, Wi-Fi Master technology
Battery Li-Pol, 66 Wh, 4 cells, support for fast charging (version on review)
/
Li-Pol, 33 Wh, 2 cells
Additionally – Intel vPro platform

– Built-in cryptomodule TPM 2.0

– Fingerprint scanner

– Project Athena Certification 

– MIL-STD 810G certified

– Sound from Harman / Kardon

– PSR technology (Panel Self Refresh)

– Four microphones with support for noise canceling technology

– Array of microphones with support for AI assistants Cortana and Alexa

– IR camera (Windows Hello), webcam with physical shutter (HD)

– Backlit keyboard with water resistance

– Anti-accident NumberPad touchpad

Dimensions and weight 32 x 20.3 x 1.49 cm, 0,995 kg (visible version), 0,87 kg (with 33 Wh)
Cost From 106 000 to 125 000 rubles

Positioning

The ASUS laptop lineup includes both popular and mainstream series such as ZenBook, VivoBook, ROG, TUF Gaming, and business offerings. The ASUS ExpertBook series produces ultra-thin and mobile laptops with numerous solutions for the enterprise segment, implemented at the level of software and hardware platform. As you know, businessmen often require maximum return from their financial investments, this approach can be extended to laptops, including the hero of the review.

In early 2020, the series received an update with the B9450 model. First of all, we have a candidate for the title of the lightest laptop on the market: the model in the configuration with a 33 Wh battery weighs only 870 grams (the previous record holder weighs 20 grams more). At the same time, the manufacturer did not compromise and cut functions, but rather the opposite. In fact, the ultrabook turns into a kind of “Swiss knife”, I think you have already noticed the number of items in the “Additional” column in the plate with technical characteristics.

Appearance, ergonomics

ASUS ExpertBook looks very strict and solid, this effect is provided by the color scheme – a black case combined with a gray glossy logo on the lid. At a certain angle of illumination, the material casts a dark blue, as if there are blotches of color in the material. The only bright accent will be the battery indicator looking at the user, located under the trackpad in a small cutout. If the battery capacity of the laptop is less than 100%, then it lights up red, if it is fully charged – green, if there is an interaction with the voice assistant – flashes blue and blue.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) reviewAsus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

An alloy of magnesium and lithium is used as the body material: it is not only lighter than the “cocktail” of magnesium and aluminum, but also more durable. The latter is confirmed in the usual test: the lid practically does not squeeze from the outside when closed, and reacts within reason to an attempt to bend open. The backlash of the keyboard unit is minimal; it is extremely difficult to achieve squeezing with a normal input effort. MIL-STD 810G certification means that the laptop has passed numerous durability tests, including load on the matrix in the form of weight, operation in high and low temperatures and at high altitudes, checking the keyboard, ports, screen hinge and other structural elements. The alloy of the body is machined using CNC milling, this method minimizes the presence of any cavities in the material that could somehow affect its integrity. So in terms of reliability and durability, you don’t have to worry, the target audience will definitely approve of this aspect.

The body material is not slippery, moderately rough, there are individual prints on it, you can erase them with a little effort. The case of ASUS ExpertBook looks very impressive thanks to the engineering trick: the lower part of the case is slightly beveled towards the edges, and it seems that the case of the laptop is slightly thicker than the USB connector. But the available thickness is very small, about 1,5 cm. The dimensions and weight are suitable for any occasion, whether it be working in the office or on the road. You can forget that there is a laptop in your bag or backpack, you don’t feel the extra kilogram on your back, what can we say about the record 870 grams. But, as we already understood, low weight is not a reason to doubt the strength.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

It is worth noting the balance of the laptop in terms of weight, the lid can be easily opened with one finger, while the main body does not come off the surface on which it stands. The hinge of the screen allows you to open the lid 180 degrees, while using the ErgoLift technology already familiar to us from previous reviews of ASUS notebooks. It lifts the case slightly above the surface for additional heat transfer and ease of typing.

Screen, multimedia

The display in the laptop is matte, with anti-reflective coating and a confident margin of brightness, the matrix is ​​without a single glare. Thin bezels (4mm left and right, 7mm top) did not prevent an array of four noise canceling microphones, a webcam and an infrared camera for face detection in low light conditions and Windows Hello authentication over the display. The camera is covered by a physical shutter, an unusual element for a laptop. Its use is understandable in the context of privacy and preservation of trade secrets when using a laptop as a center for communication with business partners, negotiating, and so on, the devil is in the details. By the way, for greater reliability, the camera can also be turned off by software, with the F10 key.

The color rendition is adjusted in the pre-installed MyAsus application, there is an option for self-adjustment of color temperature, as well as the EyeCare mode, which cuts off a part of the blue light spectrum and reduces eye strain, and there are five filter tones available. The laptop uses Intel PSR (Panel Self Refresh) technology, which reduces the load on the graphics card when the image displayed on the display is not refreshed. For example, the refresh rate of the screen will automatically decrease when working in text editors and the browser, adding autonomy.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) reviewAsus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

Two Harman / Kardon-certified speakers are responsible for the sound, they direct the sound to the surface of the laptop, and thereby create a sound volume. The volume margin is average, at the maximum level it is quite comfortable to communicate with Alexa, listen to music and watch videos, since the cooling system absolutely does not reveal itself in any way, unless, of course, you run a benchmark or another program demanding in terms of performance, a quiet rustle of fans appears. The nature of the sound is pleasant, clean, without distortion, regardless of the volume, I did not notice a striking difference from other laptops with similar speakers.

Keyboard, touch pad

The keyboard unit is full-sized, there is no hint of compression of the buttons in width, this was done thanks to the abandonment of the digital unit, which moved to the touch panel. Only the “arrows” are a little out of the general block of keys in terms of size, but their size is quite comfortable for typing, they are larger than, for example, in ASUS ZenBook 14. The travel of the buttons is average, the sound is quiet and not annoying. By default, a number of F1-F12 keys are used as hotkeys, that is, by pressing them, commands are available, marked on each of the keys with an icon. For example, pressing F5 increases the brightness of the screen, and to refresh the current browser page, you need to use the Fn + F5 combination. If the user needs exactly the system function keys, for example, to activate a command in a particular application, then MyAsus has a corresponding setting.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) reviewAsus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

Three levels of backlighting are available for the keyboard, the water resistance of the keyboard is declared as an additional bonus. According to one of the tests carried out, the keyboard can survive after three minutes of exposure to water, coffee or Coca-Cola. It is clear that this is not so much, but you can not worry about the laptop, quickly wiped off the liquid – and continue to work, except with increased accuracy. As for the keyboard, a subjective moment arose: the power button is inscribed in the general block of keys, it is located in the place of the Delete key in the upper right corner, some users may inadvertently send the laptop “to sleep”. Yes, it will take two or three seconds to wake up, but you can miss important information at the right time. Apparently, the internal layout did not allow placing the button separately or on the side edge, as in Lenovo Yoga Slim 7. On the other hand, a button of a different color, shape, or with a different type of pressing would violate the monotony and severity of the existing keyboard.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) reviewAsus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

The touch panel is located exactly in the middle, it supports multi-finger gestures, and errors are minimal. It hides the NumberPad functionality already familiar to readers of Mobile-Review, I will quote my own text:

“It looks like a normal trackpad in an ultrabook hides a number pad, accessible by pressing the NumberPad icon in the upper right corner of the touch pad. After that, the symbols of numbers and basic mathematical operations will be highlighted, and the illumination is very bright: this is realized through the use of a five-layer structure and a glass coating. Brightness is adjusted using the corresponding icon in the upper left corner of the trackpad.

Interestingly, even in the mode of entering numbers, the trackpad does not lose its main functionality, it can still be used to move the cursor and select items on the screen, for this a special algorithm is used that reads and recognizes movements, realizing that the user is entering numbers or highlights the text it needs on the screen ”.

Performance, autonomy, cooling

All RAM is soldered on the board, the maximum volume is 16 GB, there are two slots for SSDs, in the test configuration there are two very fast SSDs from Samsung, each with 1 TB. And where to upgrade further? At the heart of the Asus ExpertBook is the Intel Core i7-10510U processor, which was launched in August last year and is an energy efficient solution for ultrabooks and office devices. 4 cores, 8 threads and acceleration up to 4,9 GHz, this set is quite enough for most non-trivial tasks in the format of office work, Internet sessions and network communication.

But when calculated at 15 W TDP, the processor manages to work without extreme heating, ErgoLift, an enlarged graphite sheet, and the aforementioned case material, as well as a fan soldered to the processor heatsink come to the rescue. Due to this, the volume of this part of the cooling system is reduced, but by no means the performance, the result is improved heat dissipation from the case. Of course, such a thin case will keep warm even with all the engineering tricks. For example, after 10 minutes of watching Full HD, the main heating fell on the part of the case above the keyboard. The place where the hands are located was a little warm, so the user would not notice the rise in temperature, it is not critical and does not affect the operation of the system in any way.

Benchmarks:

  • Geekbench 4: single-core 4846 / multi-core 12804
  • Cinebench R20: CPU – 451 cb, single-core mode – 131 cb
  • PCmark 3528 (total 8555, productivity 6325, digital content creation 2203)
  • 3DMark: Night Raid 3275, Sky Diver 2739
  • CrystalDIskMark: 3453/2393, 3403/2398 (Read / Write)

The built-in graphics adapter does not differ with gaming inclinations, therefore, in this aspect, you need to make a discount, the system will not appreciate the load of an AAA game. Frankly, I can hardly imagine a businessman who has decided to while away a boring report at a conference by driving into the “tanks” or playing a CS: GO match. As my recent experience shows, the display diagonal no longer plays such a decisive role for gaming, but the limiting factor is the capabilities of the integrated video card, which is expected.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) reviewAsus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

But what autonomy! In the power saving mode, ASUS ExpertBook with the keyboard backlight turned off and the brightness at 20% gives 16 hours on a single battery charge, if you work with text and search for information on the network, the indicators are displayed after about an hour of operation. I sin on the instability of my home Wi-Fi connection (hello, MGTS!), So the time I received may differ slightly from the real state of affairs. But even the existing result, I would call excellent. According to the manufacturer, in the MobileMark 2014 benchmark in the Office Productivity scenario, it turned out to reach an indicator of 24 hours of operation, just fantastic, which, however, can be believed by looking at the performance indicators. There is also fast charging: the test version of the model (66 W battery) charges 60% in 39 minutes from the supplied power supply unit (65 W). In the settings of MyAsus, you can set the charging profile, you can choose from three parameters:

  • Fully charged: The battery is charged to 100% by default.
  • Balanced Charging: If the laptop is used in conferences and meetings, the maximum charge level will be 80%.
  • Maximum battery life mode: if the laptop is constantly connected to charging, the charging limit is set to 60%, thus keeping the battery “healthy”.

Additional features

ASUS ExperBook offers a variety of hardware and software features aimed at the enterprise segment. For example, for those users who prefer a wired connection, the laptop has a Micro-HDMI port, which allows you to connect the laptop to the Internet via a wire through an adapter. Of course, crutches, but in such a thin case there is no room for an Ethernet port.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

At the hardware level, the TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module) crypto module is responsible for system security. This dedicated chip works separately inside the computer on its own hardware facilities and has its own I / O interface. It stores encryption keys for hard disk data, the module is responsible for checking system processes for rootkits and other interventions in the safe start of the system. TPM 2.0 uses symmetric and asymmetric encryption methods, the presence of such a module provides additional protection against data theft.

A number of Intel solutions are used at the hardware level. For example, support for Intel vPro remote administration and information security tools works at both the hardware and software levels. This platform helps corporate security professionals monitor a specific vehicle and make changes to the laptop without the need for a personal presence.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

ASUS ExpertBook is also Project Athena certified. Behind this name is an Intel program that prescribes and describes a certain set of characteristics, setting a kind of standard for laptop performance. News of this program emerged last May during Computex. In short, according to Project Athena, laptops must meet approximately the following minimum requirements:

  • Ultra-thin form factor with at least 12-inch display and at least Full HD resolution
  • Thunderbolt 3 ports, Intel Core i5 / i7 processor with 8GB of RAM, NVME or Optane storage, Wi-FI 6 support.
  • Instant wake up with biometric authentication and instant readiness to browse sites, 30 minutes charge for 4 hours of use
  • At least 9 hours of web browsing and 16 hours of video playback on a single charge
  • Support for OpenVINO, WinML and AI voice assistants

In addition to standardizing specifications, Project Athena is collaborating with manufacturers, and it is planned to open laboratories to test and improve existing devices. The presence of such certification is like a quality mark, only for a laptop.

The software part of protection is also provided by the ASUS Business Manager application, here are the settings for the allocated disk space for important files, you can create a system restore point in case of a possible failure. The utility also helps control access to data.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

Let’s go back to MyAsus. For those cases when it is necessary to always be in touch, but a specific situation (meeting, negotiations, etc.) does not allow getting the phone, the application has the Link to MyAsus function, which allows you to link a smartphone to a laptop. Pairing requires an application of the same name installed on the smartphone and connecting both devices to the same Wi-Fi network. After connecting, in addition to quick exchange of links and files, it will be possible to duplicate the smartphone screen on the ASUS ExpertBook screen and control the smartphone directly through the PC interface: use any applications and edit settings, make calls through the laptop speakers and respond to incoming messages in a pop-up window. Also, a smartphone can be made a second display and put on it a separate window with information or application data. Remote access to PC files will be available from a paired smartphone.

What kind of businessman is he without an assistant? Even if I am not, but for the first time in a long time I spoke to Alexa. The application is preinstalled in the system, you just need to enter data from your Amazon account, provide the necessary permissions – and now Alexa is giving a news summary of the high-tech industry according to the Wall Street Journal. Of course, all this works provided that the voice assistant is already configured in advance and only in English.

Competitors

As an alternative to the hero of the review, first of all, the freshly updated Apple MacBook Pro 13 ”can be highlighted, the cost of a model with an 5th generation Intel Core i8, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD starts at 119 rubles, further – more expensive, your KO. Of the advantages of the Apple laptop, I would single out the high screen resolution with TrueTone technology, otherwise the ASUS ExpertBook wins. Of course, MBP is not an ultrabook, it is heavier, depending on the configuration, the weight will be from 000 kg. On the other hand, someone will not even notice these five hundred grams for the sake of the cherished apple.

Of the Windows laptops, DELL XPS 13 came closest in terms of characteristics, a model with an Intel Core i7-10510U, 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of solid state drive can be found for 139 rubles. Acer TravelMate P000 is located somewhere nearby: a configuration with the same processor in conjunction with 6 GB RAM / 8 GB SSD will cost 256 rubles. Many will remember the seventh generation Lenovo ThinkPad X153 Carbon, a reliable fashion laptop, although more expensive: the younger version with i000 and 1 GB SSD starts at 5 rubles in the official store, a comparable version will be significantly more expensive, like the X256 Yoga model.

HP Elite DragonFly suggests itself to the same company, of course, the price positioning also differs upwards: a model with an Intel Core i7-8565U processor is sold at a price of 141. All the examples given are heavier in weight, there are certain differences in favor of ASUS ExpertBook in terms of functional features.


Results, impressions

ASUS has turned out to be a very successful ultrabook, this applies to almost all aspects. The design is discreet, but solid, if you like minimalism, then you will definitely like it. The sleek body offers excellent durability and record weight, making it the perfect companion to work in any environment. There is no need to worry about the charge level, a day of work from one charge is a top level. I liked the ergonomics of the model, as well as the many additional features and settings.

Asus ExpertBook (B9450FA) review

Despite the positive emotions from using the ASUS ExpertBook, there are some subjective points: the location of the on / off button, the lack of upgrade options and, probably, the cost. In my opinion, such a laptop will be appreciated by many users, not only the target audience. Such a machine can easily serve for several years without losing its relevance in the context of its scripts.

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