ASUS Pro B9440UA review: Dressed to impress
Asus’s attempt to woo business buyers deserves a look from the rest of us too. It makes a striking first impression, with dean, angular lines, a business-like dark grey metal finish, and a slim-looking design that leaves so little space around the screen that, like one or two other machines we’ve seen recently, it can squeeze a 14in display into a 13in chassis.
On closer inspection, it’s not quite as thin as it looks – a cleverly chamfered edge conceals some of the 15mm thickness – but at barely over a kilo the B9440UA is easy to carry. It isn’t cheap but, for a PC as distinctive as this, seems reasonable.
“Bends over backwards to please and mostly succeeds – except for its screen”
This is a conventional laptop, and doesn’t fold into a tablet, but it does open to a full 180 degrees, so you can have the screen at a flat angle. Cleverly, the hinge is offset from the back edge of the keyboard and sticks out below the screen when in use to hold the keyboard in a comfortable typing position. The whole thing feels very stable.
Within those slim bezels is a less than inspiring LCD panel. Our test meter was satisfied with its brightness levels, but colour accuracy was far from what you’d want for serious photo or video editing. For everyday Windows 10 tasks and watching films and TV, it’s fine. The backlit tile-style keyboard gives enough travel and feedback for comfortable typing, and the trackpad works well too.
Although our benchmark tests predictably gave the dual-core Intel i5-7200U half the performance scores of a desktop PC i5-7400 (see opposite page), that’s still enough for ordinary tasks to feel nippy. In fact the B9440UA performed similarly to pricier rivals such as Dell’s XPS 13 and Microsoft’s Surface Laptop with the same processor. As Intel’s eighth-generation processors take over it will fall behind new arrivals, but most will find it perfectly adequate.
Importantly, the battery lasted just over eight hours of video playback, a solid result for a modem, thin laptop. And thanks to its fast-charge feature it reached 64 percent from empty when plugged in for half an hour.
The specifications are rounded off with a generous 512GB SSD. Our only complaint is that there are just two ports, both USB Type-C. Both handle data, but only one accepts charging and monitor connections. On the plus side, you get Windows 10 Pro and a fingerprint reader to keep your files safe without a password.
2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U dual-core processor • 8GB memory • 512GB SSD • Min 1920×1080- pixel screen • Webcam • 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Bluetooth 4.1 – 2x USB Type-C ports • Windows 10 Pro • 15x322x216mm (HxWxD) • 1.15kg • Three-year warranty
The screen may limit its appeal, but this eye-catching magnesium-cased laptop is certainly capable and attractive
The i5-7200U processor version of this plainer laptop works out a lot cheaper, albeit with half the SSD and none of the frills