ASUS PRO B9440: Durable Ultra-Thin Business Laptop with 10-Hour Battery for $999 – AnandTech
ASUS introduced its new ultra-thin business laptop that weds ultra-thin form-factor, long battery life, spill-resistant keyboard, good performance and a moderate price. The ASUS PRO B9440 is powered by Intel’s new Core i5/i7 Kaby Lake-U CPUs, weighs only around one kilogram and can work for 10 hours on one charge.
Since various people have different requirements and workloads, there are many types of business notebooks: from 12” ultra-thin and compact machines to 15” laptops with workstation-like performance and features. The ASUS PRO B9440 is located somewhere between in terms of design and performance: it comes in 13”-class chassis made of magnesium alloy and has so thin display bezels that it actually features a 14” display with FHD resolution and anti-glare coating. To make the PC more comfortable to use, ASUS installed a spill-resistant keyboard with large keycaps, backlighting, and 1.5 mm key travel. Meanwhile, the weight of the PC is around a kilogram (2.31 lbs), but it is MIL-STD 810G-rated for durability so it can survive shocks, vibration, exposure to low/high temperatures and so on.
From hardware standpoint, the ASUS PRO B9440 is a mainstream PC running Intel’s Core i5/i7 Kaby Lake-U processor, equipped with 8 or 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory, up to 512 GB SSD, a 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi with BT module, two USB 3.0 Type-C connectors, stereo speakers, a fingerprint reader, and a 48 Wh battery. ASUS customers can order PRO B9440 machines with enabled Intel’s vPro for remote management as well as Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for hardware-based data encryption.
To make the PRO B9440 compact, thin and durable, ASUS had to make certain design decisions. First, the company eliminated the webcam, which helped to shrink the display bezel (and will also please corporate IT security personnel). Second, ASUS removed all I/O ports except two USB 3.0 Type-C and a TRRS audio jack from the PC, which helped to shrink the chassis. While an ultra-thin form-factor is generally an advantage, it also means that to connect an external display, mouse and a keyboard, the ASUS PRO B9440 will require the ASUS SimPro Dock USB-C docking station that is sold separately, which effectively makes the system more expensive. Engineers from ASUS are not the only to make the aforementioned design decisions, so it looks like for many laptops docking stations will be required in the future.
ASUS will ship the PRO B9440 notebook in May for the price that starts at $999. The cost of the ASUS SimPro Dock is unknown, yet its MSRP will be an important factor for those who plan to use the ASUS PRO B9440 in office environments.
Ian says: Ultimately it’s a clear shot across the bow of Dell’s XPS 13, and seeing one at the show I was mightily impressed by form factor and weight. The trackpad had a good feel, and for writing it came across well. Other editors had reservations with the hinge mechanism, as it props up the keyboard and angles any hot air across the screen, but having used the Zenbook Infinity for 3 years, that doesn’t bother me personally so much. Personally I guess I would have liked to see 32GB DDR4 and a touch screen model, and a key proponent here will be battery life. My current ZBI barely holds an hour of ‘active’ use (up to 5 hrs ‘airplane word editing’ use), and the B9440 looks pretty enticing right now if the battery life can hold up.