There isn’t much we can fault the ExpertBook B9 on when it comes to being a workhorse. It’s small, light and packs a whole lot of tech in it. If you’re one to work on the road a lot -- this should definitely be your companion. Also: it’s only rocking SSDs which significantly speed up processes and make for a lot of saving space if you opt for the 2TB SSD option.
Gadgets are getting smaller, but more powerful, unlike our mid-sections after lockdown. Luckily, we had the chance to comfortably sit on the couch with the Asus ExpertBook B9 resting on that mid-section. And it didn’t even make a dent.
Is it ‘the lightest business notebook around’? Right now, we agree. Until someone proves us wrong. It weighs less than a kilogram, is powered by an Intel 11th Gen processor (i5 or i7), Intel Iris Xe graphics card and two SSDs. How did they manage to fit all of this into the smallest frame imaginable? Sorcery’s our best guess.
Of course, there’s more. It’s also fitted with 16GB of RAM, Intel WiFi 6 and four PCIe ports. It’ll also dare you to run out of ports, with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, four USB-C ports (up 40 Gbps data transfer and dual 4K display outputs), one USB 3.2port, a micro-HDMI port and an audio jack. Sorted.
It’s got something called an AdaptiveLock proximity sensor that’ll allow you to log into your device quickly if you’re close to it. Pair this with a fingerprint sensor mounted on the keyboard and you’re golden. Along with that, you get the ScreenPad tech in the touchpad which will turn it into a numpad if you need it.
Let’s dive into this little banger of a machine’s deets.
Light up my life
Even though it’s smol, the ExpertBook B9 is built like a little tank. Its entire chassis is constructed from magnesium-lithium alloys, making this a well-built machine. The display doesn’t flex — a very nice touch.
Even more, it’s one good looking device — the cobalt blue-y colour suits the business-look it’s going for while still looking stylish. The matte finish keeps fingerprints where they belong — not on our notebook. The keyboard is functionally great for such a small machine, featuring satisfying clicks, even though travel is minimal.
You’ve got a choice between two ExpertBook variants according to battery options. So you can go for 880g or 1kg weight/size, depending on your bench-class. We’d recommend the bigger one just so you can get a few more hours on that battery.
Despite its good looks and small build, the B9 features some impressive specs. And honestly, we have no idea how they managed to fit it all into this tiny chassis.
It’s built on an Intel Comet Lake Core U hardware platform and gets an up to quad-core i7-10510U processor, 16 GB of RAM and 2TB of storage (without RAID support). Our review unit was fitted with a smaller 512GB SSD drive, which is plenty if you’re not a file-heavy user.
The other brilliant feature is the fact the B9 comes with two M.2 PCIe slots for additional storage. The RAM is not upgradeable though, so make sure to get the config you’d like.
For general day-to-day, the B9 should be able to handle anything you can throw at it, beasting through more demanding tasks like photo and video editing while easily running a bunch of Chrome tabs without a stutter.
Skimping a bit
But remember — this is an ultra-compact laptop, and rarely in this segment do you find anything capable of gaming or 3D rendering skills. It doesn’t have a dedicated gaming GPU, instead running an Intel GPU within the CPU architecture. So don’t try and run hardcore games on this machine. It should run original Doom though. Anything can run original Doom.
The battery lasts a decent amount of time — for its size. The larger variation is fitted with a 66W battery. And it should last you anything between 4 and 9 hours off-charge. It all depends on how hard you’re pushing the machine. If you’re editing text on battery save mode, you should get close to the latter.
While editing or demanding work will bring that time closer to 5 or 4 hours. Luckily, however, Asus includes a small USB-C charging block that can easily travel with you.
Asus ExpertBook B9 Verdict
There isn’t much we can fault the ExpertBook B9 on when it comes to being a workhorse. It’s small, light and packs a whole lot of tech in it. If you’re one to work on the road a lot — this should definitely be your companion. Also: it’s only rocking SSDs which significantly speed up processes and make for a lot of saving space if you opt for the 2TB SSD option.
But with the sacrifice of size, comes a few others. The battery life isn’t remarkable and you will skimp on graphics power, but for general day-to-day use, this one should be fine if you’re not a power user. It’s priced at R33,000 for the base model, scaling up from there according to specs.