The thing about creating a product for a specific use is that you can actually use it for other purposes. A gaming laptop can be used for audio and video production, a gaming headset can be used for work meetings. The ASUS ExpertBook B5 is designed for business and commercial but after this review, I find it a good laptop for all purposes. Here is the official product link.
There are several configurations with different price. The model I am reviewing is the B5302CEA-KG0640R and retails at S$2,098.
- 13.3″ Full HD 1920×1080 OLED Anti-Glare Panel
- Intel Core™ i7-1165G7 Processor 2.8 GHz (12M Cache, up to 4.7 GHz, 4 cores)
- 8GB DDR4
- 512GB M.2 NVMe™ PCIe® 3.0 SSD
- Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Wi-Fi 6 (2×2), Bluetooth 5.0
- Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) – Upgradable to Windows 11 Pro
- 3-years on-site warranty service
And since it is catered for commercial market, the package comes with wired mouse and a laptop carrying bag.
The most basic model retails at S$1,498, which comes with IPS screen panel (instead of OLED) and a slower i5-1135G7 2.4GHz processor. I would seriously consider that because I enjoy using the ExpertBook B5 for its overall form factor. However, the OLED model has a gorgeous display, great contrast, colour-rich and supports HDR, which makes visual content a lot more appealing. ASUS also has its own Splendid technology to optimise the colour, as well as Tru2Life video enhancement technology, all of which can be managed in the MyASUS software.
Being a productivity laptop, users are bound to use it for meeting calls. The ExpertBook B5 has a built-in AI Noise-Cancelling technology similar to the external dongle that I reviewed. When enabled from the MyASUS software, it can reduce background noise around your location, as well as removing non-human sounds from the other party when you listen over the speakers.
Speaking of speakers, the ExpertBook B5 has tuned the speakers to have impressive spatial audio impact. The sound seems to come from the front of the laptop instead of from the sides, and it sounds warmth, not tinny. Powered by DTS, you can load the app to adjust the EQ or switch to other preset mode. The speakers can get loud but not noisy.
There are a lot of design similarities compared to the ExpertBook B9 which I reviewed in 2020, but I’ll go through those features on the ExpertBook which are not often found in consumer laptops. First of all, the ExperBook B5 supports RAID 0 and RAID 1 setup, thanks to dual M.2 SSD slots. Second, the 720HD webcam comes with physical cover so that you can absolutely control your privacy. Third, it comes with a fingerprint sensor on the power button, so you can unlock Windows while turning on the laptop at the same time.
The backlit keyboard layout is largely similar, and the touchpad also doubles as a numeric pad. The touchpad is sensitive and responsive, while the keyboard is an adequate compromise, as I am more accustomed to typing on keys with a longer travel distance. Nevertheless, the ExpertBook B5 key layout distance fits well for me so I can type on the ExpertBook with relatively few mistakes.
There is one thing that I always like on a business laptop (and some consumer laptops), that is the tilt angle of the monitor display can go all the way 180-degrees flat. We know the reason for restricting the tilt angle is to prevent the laptop from tipping over, so these business laptops are designed to be bottom-heavy. Another favourite is the full-sized HDMI port, allowing direct connection to external monitor, which is now the trend. If you want to connect another monitor, you can use get the USB Multifunction Hub Adapter to connect to the USB-C Thunderbolt port which also doubles as a 65W charging port. So it’s good that you can use your own third-party 65W USB-C charger to juice up the 4-cell 66Whr battery.
One of ASUS key selling feature is the Link to MyASUS app which lets you interact with your smartphone remotely. However, the screen mirroring feature is replaced by GlideX, a ad-supported software which I feel does not work as seamless. The mirroring interaction is a bit buggy and I had to try a few times before it can complete the connection so that I can interact with the smartphone directly from the laptop. ASUS will need a few iterations to get it right, just like what they did for Link to MyASUS.
The alternative is to install Your Phone Companion by Microsoft, which sends notification coming from the phone to the laptop, as well as sending messages, making calls, and downloading camera content. Other than SMS, voice call, Whatsapp, you still have to use the phone to reply, so this app is only good to ensure you are always alerted with incoming notifications. The GlideX is still a more convenient app to control your phone remotely from the laptop.
Unlike the ExpertBook B9 (2020), the ExpertBook B5 does not support Windows Hello facial sign-in. The B5’s weight of 1.1kg is considered pretty light, but less impressive compared to the sub-kilo of B9. The overall user experience is positive. The OS starts up and shuts down in less than 10 seconds, even faster than a smartphone. The battery life lasts for a full work day when using Edge browser 70% of the time. The PCMark 10 benchmark score is 4200. There are just 2 main reasons that I might not settle for this model I am reviewing: no touchscreen, and the fingerprint sensor is hard to locate.
I like my laptops to be understated and solid. The ASUS ExpertBook series definitely feels functional, durable, and looks professional for formal setup. The display really makes doing work and consuming content a pleasure as the images and text are sharper and better contrast. There are also ASUS software like all ASUS laptops to distinguish from other brands in configuring the proprietary features. Visit the official link for more product information and specs.
- Lightweight and well-built
- Excellent display (OLED model)
- Full-sized ports for ease of connectivity
- Satisfying overall performance and response
- Responsive keyboard and touch pad
- No touch screen
- Average webcam quality in 720p resolution