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.

The ASUS PRO B9440 Laptops Preliminary Specifications
  Mainstream Premium
Screen Resolution 1920×1080
CPU Family Core i5 Core i7
Core Kaby Lake-U
Options vPro
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 620 or Iris Plus Graphics 640
RAM 8 GB LPDDR3 onboard 16 GB LPDDR3 onboard
Storage Up to 512 GB M.2 SSD (SATA or PCIe)
Wi-Fi 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi with BT
USB 2 × USB 3.0 Type-C (one port supports docking, power delivery)
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Other I/O Microphone, Harman Kardon stereo speakers, TRRS audio jack
Battery 4-cell 48 Wh Li-polymer
Thickness 8.9 - 14.85 mm
Weight 1.04 kilograms
2.31 lbs
Price Starts at $999
  ASUS SimPro Dock USB-C Docking Station
Display Outputs 2 × DisplayPort
1 × HDMI
1 × D-Sub
USB Type-A 2 × USB 3.0 Type-A
Type-C 1 × USB 3.0 Type-C
Card Reader SD card reader
Gigabit Ethernet Yes

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.

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Source: ASUS

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  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    I like the specs and design with the exception of USB port placement. It strikes me as a bit strange to see the USB ports will move as the screen is opened, closed, or adjusted. It'd take a little adjustment time. Barring any problems that'd only come out in benchmark testing such as thermal throttling or whatnot, this looks like a decent laptop for the price. Reply
  • ToTTenTranz - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Asus hates video outputs now?
    Lots of people use external monitors nowadays.
    Reply
  • xthetenth - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Docking station. Docking stations are really cool and no less portable than the external monitors. Reply
  • solipsism - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    USB-C can output video just fine. The days of having a separate serial, patella, VGA, etc. are long gone and I'm very thankful for that. USB-C is the future and that's a beautiful thing. Reply
  • Jon Tseng - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Is it just me or does that hinge design give nasty flashbacks to the Dell Adamo? Reply
  • mooninite - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Finally! A feasible upgrade for the UX301-LAA!! Looks good except for the downgrade from 1440p to 1080p. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    There's also the loss of touch-screen. I'm not sure if I can go back to a non-TS enabled laptop. Reply
  • woggs - Wednesday, January 11, 2017 - link

    Touch screens don't belong on a work laptop and 1080p is not adequate for work. I started buying my own laptop for work several years ago when my employer decided we should all use toys. (I know I'm an old curmudgeon. No need to point out that opinions and usage may vary.) Reply
  • rocky12345 - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    This is a nice unit but without the proper ports it is pretty much useless to most people. I could see it if they included the docking station with the laptops but to pay extra for something that should have been included is a no go for sure. It was stated that this is the way most companies are gonna do thing in the future. Here is a thought don't buy these products and vote with your wallet yes going thin is all cool and all but if it means giving up all of your connection options then it is not worth it. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - link

    Microsoft excluded the keyboard cover from the Surface and the New Nintendo 3DS didn't come with a battery charger. It's tough to quantify what impact those omissions had on overall sales numbers, but excluding things in the initial purchase package is pretty common. Reply

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