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Asus' new ExpertBook B9 is a compelling Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon rival

(Image credit: Asus)

Asus' new ExpertBook B9 is set to put up a serious fight against the likes of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and HP Elite Dragonfly, two of the best business laptops

This year's model improves upon its excellent predecessor by harnessing Intel's new 11th Gen CPUs with Iris Xe graphics. The new U-series chips should deliver a significant speed boost, especially when it comes to graphics performance. 

But it's not just about the numbers — the ExpertBook adds a handful of new features without compromising one of the best designs of any business notebook. We haven't tested the ExpertBook B9 just yet, but the previous model had the longest battery life of any laptop we had ever tested. If this remains the case, then the ExpertBook B9 could be the business laptop to beat.

ExpertBook B9 design, durability and features

You know the saying: if it ain't broke... Asus didn't make any notable changes to the ExpertBook B9's design. It still has a slim, ultra-lightweight chassis with a dazzling dark blue finish. It keeps the Ergolift hinge, which lifts the back of the deck for a better typing experience, improved cooling and better sound quality. 

At 12.6 x 8 x 0.6 inches and 2.2 pounds, the ExpertBook B9 remains one of the lightest 14-inch laptops on the market. It is even lighter than the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2.4 pounds). The weight is achieved by using magnesium-lithium alloy instead of aluminum.

(Image credit: Asus)

Ultra-thin bezels surround a 14-inch display, but the webcam remains where it belongs on the top bezel. Moreover, the webcam has an IR sensor for facial recognition login. A proximity sensor detects when a user sits in front of the laptop and logs them in. Then, when they move away, it automatically locks itself. That webcam can be covered by a slider for peace of mind.

Another helpful feature for business users is Asus' AI noise-cancellation tech, which blocks out background noise when you're on a video call. There are also far-field mics, Harmon Kardon-tuned speakers and Amazon Alexa integration with a light bar that illuminates when the voice assistant is activated.

This laptop might be lightweight, but it can also take a beating. The ExpertBook B9 passed MIL-STD-810H testing, proving that it can withstand harsh conditions, like drops, shocks and high altitudes. Asus went a step further by conducting its own tests; the laptop survived a 66.1 pounds weight being placed on the lid, its keys being struck 10 million times and various liquids being spilled on the keyboard. 

ExpertBook B9 ports

There is a generous range of ports on the ExpertBook B9. Those connections include two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB 3.2 Type-A input, an HDMI, an RJ45 Ethernet jack, a headphone/mic jack and a Kensington lock.  

ExpertBook B9 keyboard and NumberPad 2.0

The ExpertBook B9 has a full-size, backlit keyboard with 1.5mm key travel. If it's the same as the previous keyboard, then it'll be comfortable to type on. But there is one major issue: the power button. 

My frustrations with the ExpertBook B9's power button, which is next to the Delete key, led to me write a heated rant about it. Unfortunately, the press photos we received show the same keyboard layout.

Below the keyboard is the NumberPad 2.0, an LED-illuminated numpad that overlays the touchpad when you press on the top-right corner of the surface. 

ExpertBook B9 display and performance

Like the previous model, the ExpertBook B9 has a 14-inch, 1080p IPS display with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio. It's an anti-glare screen with 400 nits of brightness so you shouldn't have problems using the laptop outside. Asus says the panel covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut.

(Image credit: Asus)

As previously mentioned, the screen is surrounded by razor-thin bezels (4mm thin), resulting in a 94% screen-to-body ratio. This keeps the laptop's footprint down while providing a more immersive viewing experience. 

When it comes to performance, the ExpertBook B9 runs on the new Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs in either Core i5 or Core i7 variants. You can configure it with either 16GB or 32GB of RAM, the latter being more than you normally find in such a portable device. Asus didn't show us storage options, only stating that it'll have a dual M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD.

Battery life

With a runtime of 16 hours and 42 minutes, the previous ExpertBook B9 was the longest-lasting laptop we've ever tested. Asus says the ExpertBook has a 65W AC adapter, but it didn't provide any battery life estimates. If this model lasts anywhere near as long as the previous one, then you can expect all-day battery life. 

Outlook

The new ExpertBook B9 is similar in many ways to its predecessor, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It still has a slim, lightweight design, a wide range of ports and a durable chassis. The 14-inch screen is surrounded by thin bezels and Asus promises all-day battery life.

This new version ramps things up with Intel's new 11th Gen CPUs and Iris Xe graphics for improved performance and graphics. We haven't tested the new chips yet, so the verdict is still out on how much a difference they really make.