In North America at least, ASUS has primarily been known as a consumer notebook company. However, that might be about to change as the Taiwanese vendor announced the launch of its B Series of small business-oriented laptops.
Available in 14 or 15-inch sizes with the model prefixes B43 and B53 respectively, the ASUS B Series has is available in four main configurations with the following key features:
- Intel Core i5-520M or Core i7-620M CPUs
- 14 or 15-inch, 1366 x 768 screens
- ATI Mobility Radeon 5470 GPU or Intel GMA HD (B53F only).
- ATI Eyefinity technology for supporting up to 3 external displays at once.
- 320GB hard drive in 5,400 or 7,200 rpm speeds
- 2 to 4GB of DDR3 RAM
- A Sonata Long Life Battery that is guaranteed to work at at least 80-percent of its initial capacity for 3 years.
- ASUS Xpress Charge promises to charge the battery to 90-percent capacity in 90 minutes.
- Trusted Platform Module
- Spill proof keyboard
- Fingerprint reader
- 3 year global warranty / 1 year accidental damage protection
The two features that stand out to us most are the ATI Eyefinity technology and the Sonata Long Life Battery. Being able to power up to 3 additional displays is a key feature that business users who may have two external monitors at home and another two at work will need. The Sonata Long Life Battery comes courtesy of Boston Power, whose long-lasting battery technology is behind the HP Enviro batteries that are an option on select HP notebooks.
However, this is the first time we've seen a major notebook vendor offer Boston Power batteries as standard and that's a great step forward. Considering the high cost of replacing a notebook battery and the even higher productivity cost of diminished battery life over time, we wish more vendors would offer long-lasting batteries like this.
Overall, it looks like ASUS is making a strong effort to take the uncertainty out of buying a notebook by including as standard several features that other notebook vendors charge extra for, including the 3 year warranty, the accidental damage protection, and the extended-life battery.
ASUS did not announce pricing for any of the four configurations, but a quick Google product search reveals both the 15-inch models, the B53J and the B53F starting at a little over $1,100. For more details on the different models, check out ASUS's B Series page.