Recommending a business laptop with portability features has never been a problem. My answer: “Just buy the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.” It’s that simple. Well, until Asus sent us the ExpertBook B9450, a feather-light 14-inch laptop with an incredible battery life of all notebooks tested so far. In addition to its epic endurance, this ultra-portable business machine features a slim, yet durable housing, a solid 1080p screen and numerous security features, including a fingerprint sensor and an IR camera. That is ours Asus ExpertBook B9450 review,
Other notable additions include an illuminated numeric keyboard built into the touchpad and a light bar on the front of the laptop. The ExpertBook B9450 could be the ideal business notebook if not for inconsistent performance and bizarre touchpad and keyboard. In both cases, the B9450 is the best Asus notebook of recent months and a great alternative to the best business laptops like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the HP Elite Dragonfly.
Asus ExpertBook B9450 test design
Asus must have enchanted this laptop because its incredible lightness doesn’t match the overall size of the 14-inch device. This illusion can be traced back to magnesium alloy materials that Asus claims are lighter yet more durable than aluminum. Speaking of magic: Asus’ unique shades always play a game with our eyes. The ExpertBook had a gray slate finish in our dimly lit office until my colleague, who suspected of deception, pointed a flashlight at the lid and revealed the midnight blue finish with a pearlescent tinge that shimmered with tiny pink and blue glitters.
The appearance is breathtaking, as a bit sophisticated for more reserved business users. There is a chromed Asus logo on the semi-transparent lid that shines like a mirror. Open the lid and you will see more calcareous midnight blue surfaces. Thin plastic edges flank a 14-inch display, but there is plenty of space above the panel for an infrared webcam with a sliding flap. As you type, you will notice that the ExpertBook B9450 is slightly raised from behind. This is due to the ErgoLift hinge that tilts the deck down for a more comfortable typing experience.
Asus deserves praise for plugging an HDMI port into such a thin laptop. On the left side of the Asus ExpertBook B9450FA there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a micro HDMI port for a wired Internet connection via RJ-45 Ethernet (available separately). On the right side of the laptop are a USB 3.1 Type-A connector, a Kensington lock and a headphone / microphone connector.
Keyboard and touchpad
Before I talk about the typing experience (it’s okay) in the ExpertBook, I want to take a moment to complain about the on / off switch – my worst enemy. It is not only next to the “Delete” button, it is also the same size and shape. Like most normal people, I instinctively tap the button in the top right corner to delete a letter or extra space. If I do that on the ExpertBook, I will finally take the ultimate measure to shut down the laptop completely. I think that’s one way to fix a typo. But seriously, Asus must adjust this keyboard layout.
Then let’s talk about the keys themselves. They’re good! Not great, but good. They offer a decent amount of key stroke, and each key stroke ends in a plush landing. You won’t get the same speed on a ThinkPad keyboard, but you still need to click the ExpertBook keys properly. If I don’t do anything, the keys are too strong and the typing feels a little slow. Apart from that, I like the fact that there are three backlit settings, the brightest of which are visible under direct light.
I tore the touchpad. My cursor tracked my swipes and gestures, but tap-to-click didn’t always respond well. I typed several times to make the touchpad click. It only happened occasionally, but problems with the touchpad should not occur in 2020. What you should hit are touchpads with integrated LED-illuminated number keys. Unfortunately, I had problems switching on the ExpertBook B9450 in this case.
I had to press the icon in the upper right corner of the touchpad several times before the number pad appeared. The same applies to adjusting the brightness by tapping on the symbol in the opposite corner. I hope Asus can improve the sensitivity of these buttons in future models. Otherwise the integrated numeric keypad will work properly.
Asus ExpertBook B9450 test ad
The 14-inch non-touch display of the ExpertBook B9450 with 1080p is quite bright and colorful. The biggest advantage is the anti-glare coating. And because of the matte surface, I had no problems watching videos or writing articles in a sunny café with rays of light through the surrounding windows. I wish the screen was a little brighter. Anyway, I enjoyed the saturated gold and red tones that glow from the superhero armor in a trailer for Wonder Woman 1984. The screen is also very detailed because I could see the little head stamp on the bottom of a floating ball.
According to our color measurement device, the screen of the ExpertBook B9450 covers 117% of the sRGB color gamut, which corresponds to the panel of the Elite Dragonfly and is more colorful than that of the SX14 (113%). None of these laptops has a screen as vivid as the average top laptop (124%). As I said, the display of the ExpertBook B9450 is not very bright. With 302 nits, the screen is surpassed by SX14 (428 nits), Elite Dragonfly (373 nits) and the average premium laptop (354 nits).
The double speakers on the bottom of the ExpertBook B9450 sounded pretty good overall. The speakers were decently loud to fill a small space and I heard no distortion when I increased the volume to 100%. Glass Animals even hit the bass a bit in “Your Love”, and the electrical instruments in this pop song were well separated. Yes, David Bayley’s voice sounded a bit thin and the treble was loud, but I’ve heard much worse from other portable notebooks.
Graphics performance is not the strength of the ExpertBook B9450. Therefore, you may need an eGPU to play your favorite games. The integrated Intel UHD graphics of the ExpertBook runs the racing game Dirt 3 at almost 23 frames per second, which is below our 30 fps playability threshold. The SX14 (33 fps), the HP Elite Dragonfly (31 fps) and the average of the premium laptops (60 fps) have all crossed this crucial threshold.
Asus ExpertBook B9450 test performance
The Asus ExpertBook B9450 – equipped with an Intel Core i7-10510U CPU and 16 GB RAM – tested my actual performance without breaking a sweat. There was no delay when I streamed a Champions League game between FC Bayern and Chelsea on the TNT streaming site while 15 additional Chrome tabs were loading in the background. The ExpertBook went all the way, even if I played four 1080p (Full HD) YouTube videos on these tabs.
However, there is a crucial difference between the CPU of the ExpertBook B9450 and that of other top laptops. The Core i7-10510U processor in the Asus is a Core i7 with four cores and a lower core compared to the Intel Core i7-10710U with six cores, which can be found in laptops like the Dell XPS 13. As a result, the ExpertBook B9450’s performance is not very good, although it may be worth increasing the life (see the Battery Life section below).
In the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, the ExpertBook B9450 scored 13,653 points, which is lower than what the SX14 (14,887, Core i7-8565U) and the Elite Dragonfly (14,114, Core i7-8665U) achieved with the latest generation processors. On average, the category is at the top of all three laptops with 15,863. Unfortunately, the four-core processor had difficulties in our real benchmark. It took 28 minutes and 24 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution using the handbrake test. This pedestrian pace was exceeded by the SX14 (16:46), Elite Dragonfly (22:23) and the premium laptop average (19:52).
On the other hand, Asus provided the ExpertBook B9450 with a fast SSD. The 1 TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD in our device duplicated 4.97 GB in 6 seconds at a speed of 771.1 megabytes per second. The SX14 (727 MBit / s), the Elite Dragonfly (424.1 MBit / s) and the category average (601.9 MBit / s) were all slower in this test.
Asus ExpertBook B9450 Check the battery life
I am incredulous. When our lab tester told me that the ExpertBook B9450 took 16 hours and 42 minutes in our battery test, I stared at it for at least 3 minutes and waited for the punch line. It never came. Still not convinced, I insisted that we do the test again. The Asus hit and put another 16 hours of stamina on hold. That’s the longest time a laptop has ever survived our battery test, and it’s not even close.
Then something doesn’t have to be right with our test. To find out, I took the ExpertBook to a café without a charger. The laptop saved me from my job. I wrote articles, updated spreadsheets, streamed music and even made a video call with a brightness of 80% to 100%. The ExpertBook still had 14% charge after 9 hours of demanding work. It is phenomenal.
Thin laptops tend to get hot, and B9450 is a good example. The underside of the magnesium alloy housing warms up to 109 degrees Celsius after a 15-minute video with 1080p. Fortunately, the parts that touch your skin – the center of the keyboard and touchpad – stayed below our 95-degree comfort threshold, reaching 90 degrees and 78 degrees, respectively.
Pricing and configuration options
The ExpertBook B9450 is currently not for sale as I write this review. Our specific unit is listed as “in brief”. For $ 1,799, this model comes with an Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 16 GB RAM, and a 1 TB SSD. Asus says it will also sell the ExpertBook B9450 with a Core i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM and 512 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB storage. We haven’t seen any offers with these specifications yet, but we’ll update this review as soon as we know the price.
Asus ExpertBook B9450 review conclusion
Asus is close to making the perfect laptop, but little things prevent the ExpertBook B9450 from being that device. Let’s start with what the laptop can do well: The ExpertBook B9450 has a beautiful frame with midnight tips that is both super light and durable. The 14-inch screen with 1080p is relatively bright and lively and is ideal for outdoor use due to its glare-free surface. The absolute highlight of the ExpertBook B9450, however, is the ridiculously long battery life, which lasted more than 16 hours. It’s worth repeating: it’s longer than any other laptop.
Asus could make a big profit this year, but small details prevent the ExpertBook B9450 from being included in our 5-star Hall of Fame. These mistakes include a fussy touchpad and a frustrating keyboard layout. It should also be noted that the Core i7 CPU of the B9450 is not sufficient for certain tasks. Despite these shortcomings, the ExpertBook B9450 is a great laptop that makes the X1 Carbon a tough competitor.
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8.5 total score
With a record battery life and a lightweight case, the ExpertBook B9450 is a convincing alternative to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
- Record battery life
- Incredibly light yet durable
- Attractive midnight blue design
- Decent 1080p display
- IR camera and fingerprint sensor
- Mixed performance
- Touchpad and keyboard quirks
- Runs warm