Asus Pro B9440UA review: A tough, lightweight 14-inch business laptop, but where's the webcam?

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professionals

  • mild, portable and tough
  • large display for the chassis dimension
  • just right audio system
  • just right battery lifestyles

Cons

  • No webcam or touchscreen
  • Poorly positioned power button
  • Disappointing monitor decision
  • Few on-board ports and slots

The ASUSPRO B9440UA tries to hit a sweet spot between value, functionality and portability to be able to attraction to cellular experts. there’s an actual sleekness to the design, with ASUS highlighting the supply of a full-HD 14-inch screen in a thirteen-inch chassis with ‘defense force-grade reliability’. however that is reasonably a crowded part of the market, so Asus will want to do something special and go away no loose ends if it is to truly galvanize.

If slim and sleek wins the day, then the ASUSPRO B9440UA fits the bill. The chassis tapers from 15mm on the again — together with a generous allowance for the protruding hinge mechanism — down to simply eight.9mm at the front. The desktop footprint measures 321.3mm with the aid of 216.2mm.

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The ASUSPRO B9440UA combines swish dimensions with a strong (MIL-STD 810G) chassis. It weighs just over a kilogram, and is powered through 7th-era Core i3, i5 or i7 processors.

images: ASUS

Even earlier than opening the lid the magnesium alloy chassis just appears to be like classy. Slate-gray and hard, the ASUSPRO B9440UA meets MIL-STD 810G so it will have to indisputably live on the rough-and-tumble of the executive’s go back and forth bag. nonetheless, for all its military-grade robustness there is quite a lot of flex in the lid, and i wouldn’t want to raise this pc a long way with out a protecting case.

in line with its manufacturer, the ASUSPRO B9440UA is the world’s lightest 14-inch industry pc. It weighs in simply over the 1kg mark at 1.05kg, and is lighter than rivals such as the 13.three-inch Dell XPS 13 (1.2kg), thirteen.3-inch Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (1.24kg), and thirteen.9-inch Lenovo Yoga 910 (1.4kg).

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asuspro-hinge2.jpg

The monitor hinge props up the keyboard at a comfy typing perspective. word the position of the power key, subsequent to Delete.

image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Two of these laptops have 360-stage rotating screens, a characteristic ASUS eschews right here: the reveal will only go way back to a hundred and eighty levels, to lie flat on a desk. The hinge itself has an innovative design that sits happy with the again of the pc and raises the again of the keyboard better than the front. The resulting 7-level attitude gives a typing place that is extra ergonomic than the usual flat position.

There are two very skinny rubber strips on the back of the laptop hinge, which appear a little bit incongruous against the otherwise very sleek traces. They take a seat on the table prime when the ASUSPRO B9440UA is opened, and i suppose are existing to help maintain it anchored (the raised back method there is handiest room for rubber feet on the entrance of the bottom part). sadly, this arrangement doesn’t in reality work — this is usually a pc that is cell in unintended methods on a juddering train, as an instance.

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asuspro-keyboard.jpg

The keyboard is backlit and the massive touchpad works neatly. there is a fingerprint reader, but the lack of a webcam ideas out authentication by the use of face popularity.

picture: ASUS

high ZDNET evaluations

The backlit keyboard is comfy to make use of. Keys are usually not specifically springy, but their 1.5mm go back and forth grants a reassuring feel, specifically for heavier-exceeded typists. the gap bar and different keys on this row are taller than the primary bulk of keys, which is peculiar but no longer unwelcome. there may be a fingerprint scanner above the Fn key row on the correct.

the power button is on the keyboard. This isn’t necessarily a foul thing, however ASUS has located it on the right end of the Fn key row — where i would anticipate finding the Delete key, which has been nudged inwards through one slot. Inevitably, I time and again tapped the ability key accidentally when looking for Delete on autopilot. that is greater than only a minor irritation.

The touchpad is huge and really responsive. It handled multitouch gestures neatly, and i’ve no concerns with it.

ASUS has opted to forego a touchscreen, which is abnormal at the moment (the three aforementioned laptops from Dell and Lenovo are all touchscreen devices). The monitor has an anti-glare matte coating, which many industry customers may just prefer to the reflective variety. I for sure found it a joy to work on a mirrored image-free screen, and there’s a whole lot of brightness on supply.

The screen has a 16:9 aspect ratio, providing full-HD 1,920-via-1,080-pixel resolution. that’s no longer exactly top-facet at the moment, and i would have liked to have seen a higher resolution. nonetheless, I was ready to work with two windows open facet through facet, and three at a pinch, and viewing angles are high quality.

i don’t frequently wax lyrical about pc audio system, but the Harman Kardon gadgets equipped listed here are at the greater finish of the audio quality spectrum for a laptop in this class, delivering a whole lot of volume and bass.

slim monitor bezels result in issues for webcam placement. The three laptops mentioned prior — Lenovo’s Yoga 910 and Dell’s XPS 13 and XPS 13 2-in-1 — all have very narrow bezels, and as a result their webcams are awkwardly located on the (better) bezel beneath the monitor.

ASUS has found a different solution to this drawback: there’s no webcam. which is an extraordinarily ordinary determination on a trade-type pc. now not most effective does it imply video conferencing is out of the query (until you convey an external webcam), it additionally takes authentication via home windows hiya face attractiveness off the desk. This might be a deal-breaker for a lot of doable consumers.

the opposite potential difficulty with the ASUSPRO B9440UA is that, except for a three.5mm headset jack, there are simply two USB kind-C connectors, only one in every of which supports display and energy. this is minimal certainly.

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asuspro-dock.jpg

ASUS’s SimPro Dock provides a number of connections, but it should cost you £139 ($ a hundred and fifty) extra.

images: ASUS

ASUS shipped my review unit with its SimPro Dock which, for £139, provides an array of facilities: USB-C, USB three.1 x2, SD card slot, power button and combo audio jack on the entrance; and USB three.1 x2, RJ-45 Ethernet, DisplayPort 1.2 x2, HDMI 1.4, energy-in and Kensington lock slot on the again. it can be big though, including an additional 375g of weight to the kit bag — and that’s the reason without the ability adapter.

With an Intel Core i5-7200U processor, HD images 620 and 8GB of RAM, the AsusPro B9440UA is neatly outfitted for managing mainstream workloads, and the 512GB SSD will come in handy too. The running machine is home windows 10 pro.

producers’ battery existence claims are frequently formidable, however ASUS is probably not too some distance off the mark in suggesting that you’ll get ten hours from this system’s 4-cell 48Wh battery, so that you can fast-charge as much as 50 % in half-hour. My anecdotal on a regular basis-use exams had been very positive: in a single session with the monitor at all times on, an web connection, more than one open browser home windows, some streaming, some record creation and a few tune listening, the battery depleted from eighty five percent to fifty eight percent in three.5 hours.

Conclusions

ASUS pitches the £1,079.99 (inc. VAT, £899.99 ex. VAT, or $ 999 in the usa) ASUSPRO B9440UA squarely on the trade market, and there is lots to love, including excellent battery life, a matte reveal, and a robust militia-grade chassis. then again, there isn’t any webcam or touchscreen, restricted on-board connectivity and the power swap is in arguably essentially the most worrying imaginable vicinity.

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