AsusPro B9440U review: a sleek and sexy all-rounder

Asus hits the right notes with this unique-looking ultraportable

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£921
  • Stylish, eye-catching design; Good value; Light and portable; Good keyboard
  • Disappointing display quality; Light on ports

A mainstay of the consumer notebook market, Asus has thus far failed to make much of a splash in the business sector. While its laptops are often found in offices worldwide, the company doesn't have the pedigree of rivals like Lenovo or Dell.

It may be time for IT managers and CTOs to start looking at Asus as a serious contender, though. The company's flagship business notebook, the AsusPro B9440U, is proof that the company can go up against the enterprise heavyweights.

Design

Asus isn't particularly known for mould-breaking visual design when it comes to its notebooks. It's a pleasant surprise, then, to find that the AsusPro B9440U is one of the most striking laptops we've seen all year.

The sharp, angular design and clean lines immediately set it out from most other laptops on the market, and the semi-gloss magnesium alloy chassis - similar in colour to Apple's Space Grey devices - gives it an air of cool sophistication.

It gets even more impressive when you open it up. The 180-degree hinge isn't located along the rear edge of the laptop, but is instead on the underside, set back from the rear edge by about an inch. This has the effect of automatically raising the keyboard up and tilting it downwards when the laptop is opened, as well as giving it a distinctive silhouette.

There's also a deep chamfer on the underside of the laptop, which helps give the impression that it's attractively slim, despite a comparatively meaty thickness of 15mm. However, at just over 1kg, it's definitely on the lighter side for a 14in laptop.

Happily, these visual flourishes haven't come at the expense of stability. The B9440U holds the coveted MIL-STD 810G certification, guaranteeing that it can withstand more rigorous and punishing use than other laptops. It's not as sturdy as a proper ruggedised device, but it should be more than capable of a sizable amount of rough and tumble.

Display

It's not just the design that's attractive - the display is equally eye-catching, with ultra-slim 5mm bezels reminiscent of Dell's superb XPS 13. These slim bezels have allowed Asus to pack in a 14in screen, despite the B9440U's decidedly petite footprint. It's got a 1080p resolution, which is perfectly adequate for a business laptop, and it also uses a matte anti-glare coating to prevent irritating reflections under harsh lighting.

Sadly, all is not quite so rosy when it comes to the display's actual quality. Although the maximum brightness of 336cd/m2 is on the upper end of average for a laptop of this bracket, the colour accuracy leaves a lot to be desired. Reds and blue are largely undersaturated, while greens and yellows tend to be oversaturated. The display doesn't look horrendous by any stretch of the imagination, and it's perfectly fine for most tasks, but it's going to be totally unsuitable for any graphic design or photo editing work.

Keyboard and trackpad

Things pick back up, thankfully, with the keyboard. As with the rest of the laptop, the keyboard is attractively built, recessed into the chassis with a mitre joint-style effect. The chiclet keys offer a reasonable amount of feedback and have a surprisingly deep travel distance which results in a crisp and satisfying typing experience. It's backlit too, which is always a welcome feature.

The trackpad, while not as spacious as some other notebooks we've seen, is on the larger end of the scale and offers plenty of room for navigation. Even better, it's got a lovely smooth surface which allows one's finger to glide over with ease.

Click for the next page to check out the AsusPro B9440U's specs, hardware and battery life

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