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Asus Professional B9440UA evaluate: A tricky, light-weight 14-inch enterprise laptop computer, however the place’s the webcam?

The Asus Pro B9440UA tries to hit a candy spot between worth, performance and portability that may enchantment to cell professionals. There’s an actual sleekness to the design, with Asus highlighting the availability of a full-HD 14-inch display screen in a 13-inch chassis with ‘military-grade reliability’. However that is fairly a crowded a part of the market, so Asus might want to do one thing particular and go away no unfastened ends if it is to actually impress.

If slim and glossy wins the day, then the Asus Professional B9440UA suits the invoice. The chassis tapers from 15mm on the again — together with a beneficiant allowance for the protruding hinge mechanism — down to only eight.9mm on the entrance. The desktop footprint measures 321.3mm by 216.2mm.

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The Asus Professional B9440UA combines glossy dimensions with a strong (MIL-STD 810G) chassis. It weighs simply over a kilogram, and is powered by Seventh-generation Core i3, i5 or i7 processors.

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Even earlier than opening the lid the magnesium alloy chassis simply appears to be like elegant. Slate-grey and difficult, the Asus Professional B9440UA meets MIL-STD 810G so it ought to definitely survive the rough-and-tumble of the manager’s journey bag. Nonetheless, for all its military-grade robustness there’s various flex within the lid, and I would not wish to carry this laptop computer far with no protecting case.

Based on its producer, the Asus Professional B9440UA is the world’s lightest 14-inch enterprise laptop computer. It weighs in simply over the 1kg mark at 1.05kg, and is lighter than rivals such because the 13.Three-inch Dell XPS 13 (1.2kg), 13.Three-inch Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (1.24kg), and 13.9-inch Lenovo Yoga 910 (1.4kg).

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The display screen hinge props up the keyboard at a cushty typing angle. Be aware the place of the facility key, subsequent to Delete.

Picture: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Two of these laptops have 360-degree rotating screens, a function Asus eschews right here: the display screen will solely go way back to 180 levels, to lie flat on a desk. The hinge itself has an modern design that sits happy with the again of the laptop computer and raises the again of the keyboard greater than the entrance. The ensuing 7-degree angle offers a typing place that is extra ergonomic than the standard flat place.

There are two very skinny rubber strips on the again of the laptop computer hinge, which look a bit of incongruous towards the in any other case very glossy strains. They sit on the desk prime when the Asus Professional B9440UA is opened, and I assume are current to assist hold it anchored (the raised again means there’s solely room for rubber toes on the entrance of the bottom part). Sadly, this association would not actually work — this may very well be a laptop computer that is cell in unintended methods on a juddering prepare, for instance.

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The keyboard is backlit and the big touchpad works properly. There is a fingerprint reader, however the lack of a webcam guidelines out authentication by way of face recognition.

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The backlit keyboard is comfy to make use of. Keys aren’t significantly springy, however their 1.5mm journey delivers a reassuring really feel, significantly for heavier-handed typists. The area bar and different keys on this row are taller than the primary bulk of keys, which is uncommon however not unwelcome. There is a fingerprint scanner above the Fn key row on the fitting.

The facility button is on the keyboard. This is not essentially a nasty factor, however Asus has positioned it on the proper finish of the Fn key row — the place I might anticipate finding the Delete key, which has been nudged inwards by one slot. Inevitably, I repeatedly tapped the facility key by chance when trying to find Delete on autopilot. That is greater than only a minor irritation.

The touchpad is massive and really responsive. It dealt with multitouch gestures properly, and I’ve no points with it.

Asus has opted to forego a touchscreen, which is uncommon as of late (the three aforementioned laptops from Dell and Lenovo are all touchscreen units). The display screen has an anti-glare matte coating, which many enterprise customers might choose to the reflective selection. I definitely discovered it a pleasure to work on a reflection-free display screen, and there is loads of brightness on supply.

The display screen has a 16:9 side ratio, providing full-HD 1,920-by-1,080-pixel decision. That is not precisely modern as of late, and I might have favored to have seen a better decision. Nonetheless, I used to be in a position to work with two home windows open facet by facet, and three at a pinch, and viewing angles are high quality.

I do not normally wax lyrical about laptop computer audio system, however the Harman Kardon items fitted listed here are on the greater finish of the audio high quality spectrum for a laptop computer on this class, delivering loads of quantity and bass.

Slim display screen bezels trigger issues for webcam placement. The three laptops talked about earlier — Lenovo’s Yoga 910 and Dell’s XPS 13 and XPS 13 2-in-1 — all have very slim bezels, and consequently their webcams are awkwardly positioned on the (bigger) bezel beneath the display screen.

Asus has discovered a special resolution to this downside: there isn’t any webcam. That is a really unusual choice on a business-class laptop computer. Not solely does it imply video conferencing is out of the query (until you convey an exterior webcam), it additionally takes authentication by way of Home windows Hi there face recognition off the desk. This is likely to be a deal-breaker for a lot of potential consumers.

The opposite potential subject with the Asus Professional B9440UA is that, aside from a Three.5mm headset jack, there are simply two USB Sort-C connectors, solely considered one of which helps show and energy. That is minimal certainly.

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Asus’s SimPro Dock provides a bunch of connections, however it’ll price you £139 ($150) further.

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Asus shipped my evaluate unit with its SimPro Dock which, for £139, provides an array of services: USB-C, USB Three.1 x2, SD card slot, energy button and combo audio jack on the entrance; and USB Three.1 x2, RJ-45 Ethernet, DisplayPort 1.2 x2, HDMI 1.Four, power-in and Kensington lock slot on the again. It is huge although, including an extra 375g of weight to the package bag — and that is with out the facility adapter.

With an Intel Core i5-7200U processor, HD Graphics 620 and 8GB of RAM, the Asus Professional B9440UA is properly geared up for dealing with mainstream workloads, and the 512GB SSD will come in useful too. The working system is Home windows 10 Professional.

Producers’ battery life claims are sometimes formidable, however Asus is probably not too far off the mark in suggesting that you will get ten hours from this technique’s Four-cell 48Wh battery, which is able to fast-charge as much as 50 p.c in 30 minutes. My anecdotal everyday-use assessments have been very optimistic: in a single session with the display screen at all times on, an web connection, a number of open browser home windows, some streaming, some doc creation and a few music listening, the battery depleted from 85 p.c to 58 p.c in Three.5 hours.

Asus pitches the £1,079.99 (inc. VAT, £899.99 ex. VAT, or $999 within the US) Asus Professional B9440UA squarely on the enterprise market, and there is loads to love, together with good battery life, a matte display screen, and a strong military-grade chassis. Nevertheless, there is not any webcam or touchscreen, restricted on-board connectivity and the facility change is in arguably probably the most annoying attainable location.

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