We’re rather familiar with ASUS’s lineup of laptops. We have the VivoBook family as the budget-oriented option, and then we have the ZenBook family for premium thin and light laptops. And then out of nowhere, we now have the ASUS ExpertBook family, which offers a completely different look and feel. It is also targeted towards enterprises, but available in other variants for consumers like you and me too.
When I unboxed the ASUS ExpertBook B9450, I knew that it’s going to bring a fight directly to the current champions of premium thin and light laptops.
A different kind of premium thin and light
ASUS took a completely different approach to create its brand new premium thin and light laptop. Instead of using aluminium like many others – including their own ZenBook series – they’re now using magnesium alloy. It’s a magnesium-lithium composite which results in this glittery look.
It’s also only at 1.49mm thin and weighs in less than a kilogram. And no, there’s nothing that can be upgraded on this laptop.
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Only the two M.2 SSD are swappable.
Yet this laptop is just extremely portable yet surprisingly solid build quality, thanks to these rubber stubs acting as pillars on the motherboard.
Despite being such a thin laptop, the ASUS ExpertBook B9450 still has these ports:
- Kensington lock
- USB 3.0 Type-A
- Combo audio jack
- Indicator LEDs
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Full-sized HDMI port
- Micro HDMI for Ethernet
Honestly, I wish that ASUS would move one of the Thunderbolt 3 port from the left to the right side, and replace that LAN-only micro HDMI port with a proper USB-C port. Now I know it’s meant for enterprises – but there are variants of the ASUS ExpertBook B9450 which is obviously meant for general consumers like you and me.
For general consumers, I suggest getting the Ugreen dongle and forget the existence of this LAN-only micro HDMI port.
Exquisite display on a marvelous hinge
The new ASUS ExpertBook B9450 does come with a few more specialties. First, the hinge. Despite being such a lightweight laptop, I can open the laptop with just a finger. Not a big deal, honestly.
And the ASUS ExpertBook B9450 also has the signature ErgoLift feature, where the hinge itself will prop up the laptop for a better typing experience. Because of how and where the hinge is positioned, the bottom bezel of the screen gets even smaller.
The hinge can virtually open up to 180 degrees – which is great for people who have a long body like me and wish to use the laptop on our laps.
The bezels on this laptop are tiny – and it still has a webcam at the top of the screen – where it should be. And there’s also a physical slider that you can push and cover the webcam. But do keep note that there’s Windows Hello face recognition on this ASUS ExpertBook B9450 too – so covering the webcam renders it useless.
The 14-inch 1080p IPS LCD screen on this laptop is rather beautiful. The colors are a little too saturated, but that’s alright. It can go bright and also dim enough to use in complete darkness.
Still, the only thing missing from this laptop is a touchscreen. It would be an interesting implementation too since the hinge can essentially become an anchor to prevent the screen from wobbling when touched.
The wide trackpad
This trackpad is proportionally wider than most other laptops we’ve used in the market. It uses Windows Precision Touchpad drivers and the tracking is alright, but the palm rejection is still janky.
It does have a few other tricks up its sleeve – like the NumberPad. It makes the trackpad becomes a literal virtual number pad but still retains the trackpad’s functionality. Holding the top left corner also toggles the brightness of the NumberPad.
Also, pulling in from the top left corner brings up the calculator app in Windows 10.
It uses a standard tenkeyless laptop keyboard with a half-height arrow key cluster. Honestly, I’m not a fan of the keyboard. It’s too stiff for my liking. It takes too much force to actuate and it immediately bottoms out when it starts moving.
Another complaint about the keyboard layout is the power button’s location. That’s where the delete key is supposed to be. Why not just integrate the power button together with the fingerprint scanner?
Supremely long battery life
The ASUS ExpertBook B9450 is available in a few different variants – either in the Intel Core i5-10210U or Intel Core i7-10510U variants in either 33Wh or 66Wh battery capacities. The one we have here is the Core i7 variant with the 66Wh battery.
And I have a confession to make. It took me a few tries to finally get an idea of how long the battery life actually lasts. Our usual workload yields about 12 hours with a day of sleep time in between. That’s insane!
And ASUS also claimed fast charging times. From what we’ve tested, it reaches 50% in about 35 minutes of charge time, and 80% in about an hour. After that, the charging speed starts to taper off.
What about the performance?
Let’s just say that you won’t be topping benchmark charts with this. From what we discovered, it seems like ASUS is using a conservative CPU governor to prevent the CPU from turbo-boosting as much as the Huawei MateBook X Pro, which we reviewed here. The ASUS ExpertBook B9450 consistently scores lower in Cinebench R20, but that’s okay.
This laptop can still do all of your Office work without any issue. With less turbo-boosting, the ASUS ExpertBook B9450 can remain cool and quiet and have its battery last extremely long. That’s actually very smart!
If you still want to look at the benchmarks, here they are.
Should you buy the ASUS ExpertBook B9450?
Let’s take a step back and look at who this laptop is intended for. In essence, it’s made for businesses – which is why it has vPro and TPM built-in. But, ASUS also offers this laptop without TPM so that they can bring the price down for general consumers like you and me.
The one we have here is priced at RM9,299 – and woah. The ASUS ExpertBook B9450 is right up there alongside other premium thin and light laptops like the Dell XPS and HP Spectre.
And ASUS has something really special here. It’s unbelievably thin and light since it’s using magnesium-lithium alloy, ergonomically lifted with ErgoLift and the arguable useful NumberPad. But there are a few other things that ASUS can improve like including a touch screen and maybe a softer keyboard.
I mean, this laptop offers a completely different premium office-centric laptops like the Lenovo X1C. ASUS offers sleekness, thinness, and weightlessness with a bigger battery whereby its competition offers… well, it’s durability, I guess. Lenovo laptops are known to get tortured and literally get torched and it still works.
Either way, this is a fantastic laptop and I’m truly excited to see how other brand’s premium thin and light laptops respond to this.