The Asus Pro B9440U is a sleek, featherweight business laptop with a competitively low price.
Starting at $1,000 (converted, that’s about £790 and AU$1,320), the stylish Windows 10 Pro notebook successfully squeezes a damn-near bezel-less 14-inch screen into a 13-inch chassis. It also has the latest Intel seventh-generation Core i-series processors, a fingerprint reader and a long-lasting battery.
Comparable laptops for business use usually cost a bit more, like the $1,700 Apple MacBook Pro and the $1,579 HP EliteBook x360, but they offer high-end features like 4K screens and a multitude of ports. Yet the Asus’s low price comes at the sacrifice of a few features: there’s no webcam and it only has two USB-C ports.
But if you don’t need more than a straightforward business laptop, the Asus Pro is a simple, travel-friendly bargain.
The Asus Pro B9440U isn’t your cookie-cutter business laptop. This thing’s got subtle style. Its attractively slim and lightweight design is humbly demure, as well as a few design touches that elevate it from boring and basic to interestingly nuanced.
When the magnesium alloy lid opens up, the keyboard slightly lifts to an elevated angle of 7 degrees. From the side, it makes the laptop look like it’s propped up on a kickstand. It’s a little funky, but I like it. It’s also more natural position to type in, and it feels comfortable when using it for long periods of time.
Considering laptops and ergonomic design don’t usually go hand-in-hand, it’s a thoughtful touch. While I found the keyboard perfectly fine, I like the springy, fluid feel of Lenovo’s business keyboards better.
A fingerprint sensor sits above the keyboard, on the top-right corner, that works with Windows 10 Hello. I used it rather than a regular password, and it worked as advertised about 98 percent of the time. Obviously, without a webcam, you won’t get the Windows Hello facial recognition log-in feature.
A few angular accents, most notable when flipped over to reveal the two speakers on its bottom, give it some extra flair. Additionally, it’s MIL-STD 810G-rated for durability, meaning it’s a little tougher than your average notebook.
No glare, no care
The bezel on the Asus Pro B9440U is so thin, a 14-inch display sits inside of its 13-inch chassis. The screen’s FHD resolution (1,920×1,080) is satisfyingly sharp when watching HD video, but the screen lacks punch for brightness and vibrant colors, which is often an issue with matte displays.
It’ll do if you’re traveling and feel like catching up on “The Leftovers,” but if you’re buying a laptop to be your binge-watching buddy, you’ll find a better viewing experience elsewhere. Same goes for photo editing or graphic design.
That’s not to say the screen sucks. It looks and works well when editing text documents or spreadsheets and surfing the web. It’s impressively effective antiglare coating significantly helps reduce glare in bright, well-lit environments. And, no, it’s not a touchscreen.
A tale of two ports
The laptop’s minimalist approach is reflected in its limited port selection. It has two USB-C ports, one on each side, but only the one on the left side can charge it. (I learned this the hard way.) The option of more ports is just a dongle or dock away. It’s compatible with the Asus SlimPro Dock USB-C docking station, as well as other third-party USB-C docks.