ASUS ExpertBook B5 B302CE : Straight To The Point, Straight To The Style
ASUS Expertbook b5
Starts from RM 4299
The ASUS ExpertBook B5 is well placed in the market, offering a comprehensive workplace solution while remaining extremely lightweight with very little compromises. I can tackle everything but the heaviest media tasks.
This Expertbook B5 features an all mixed-metal build throughout (magnesium-lithium alloy and pure aluminium), making it incredibly lightweight and easy to carry even with one hand. The only visible plastic would be the thick bezels in the front that house the 13.3-inch display with the webcam being part of the bezel space. The words ‘ASUS ExpertBook’ are printed on the bottom of the bezel.
The bottom panel where the keyboard is quite uniform, with the keyboard being justified right to the middle with the touchpad placed just right below. I prefer this layout as it’s easy to reach all keys with deviating my palm position, resulting in a very comfortable typing experience on its slightly springy chiclet keyboard.
The hinges supporting the display feels extremely well made and tough, and it was relatively easy to lift the lid with one finger. The bottom panel elevates slightly as you lift the lid up, demonstrating ASUS’ Ergolift design that emphasises on better airflow with a slightly lifted bottom.
The ExpertBook B5 can also be rotated up to 180-degrees, providing near-flatness for those who like that kind of versatility.
Getting Work Done
The ExpertBook B5 is no-nonsense when it comes to getting work done. Its strengths lie in portability and speed. The i5 variant which I am currently reviewing has enough firepower to blaze through typical work tasks but not enough for content creation that’s beyond 1080p (video creation).
For photo editing it won’t lag and the panel does cover 99% sRGB coverage. The display also has a matte finish, and works well with the anti-glare feature that prevents some levels of screen glare if you prefer to do your work outdoors.
With the 11th Gen i5 and 8GB of RAM, performance results were average at best.
Cinebench R15 : Single Core – 200 | Multi Core – 828 Cinebench R20 : Single Core – 515 | Multi Core – 1893 3DMark Time Spy : 895
From here I conclude that the ExpertBook B5 can definitely handle all but the toughest 3D tasks. You are still able to edit videos, but keep it at 1080p and below.
Battery life was suprisingly average, outputting 6 hours on a single charge. That’s heading towards mediocre to be honest. Usually laptops of this class are able to easily double that and I wasn’t pleased when I had to reach for the charger in the early late afternoon and all I did was write emails, use Office and watched NetFlix in the background.
The package includes a small 65W USB Type-C PD power brick, capable of topping up back to at least 60% in 35 minutes. You’ll still need slightly more than an hour to bring it back to full as the current expectedly throttles down at the remaining 90% and onwards to preserve battery health.
A Good but Weird Spread of Ports
This thin boi packs enough ports to equip you immediately to tackle most peripheral and extension demands. It’s quite easy to visualize how to fully utilize the ExpertBook B5’s ports. You can connect your mouse/keyboard via the USB Type-A, hook up a dongle to 1 of the 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports for monitors, and more Type-A’s and use the last one to attach an external graphics card enclosure to give it more media/gaming power. Alternatively, you can plug in to a HDMI monitor that supports the 2.0b standard for a high refresh rate experience.
The micro HDMI port on the left is purely for you to connect a LAN cable (included in the package). The power button rests on the right side akin to the design of a DVD drive’s Eject Button.
What weird here is that there’s no SD card of any size to be seen even though there’s still plenty of space well to house one. Perhaps ASUS assumed that we’d be using dongles that would already have one and save some cost into putting one in.
USC Type-C x2 (3.2 Gen 2, supports power delivery, Thunderbolt 4)
The upgrade paths here are rather limited, allowing you to only add an additional M.2 NVMe SSD for storage expansion / RAID operation. You can access this by turning the laptop over and removing the 10 Philips screws.
There’s also a vacant m.2 SSD slot for you to install if you’re looking to expand internal storage.
So why would you buy one?
For the workaholic nomad at heart, the ASUS ExpertBook B5 is able to serve you well. With such a portable form factor, comfy keyboard and easy-going display, you will find yourself getting work done and actually enjoying it.
Its weakness lies in resource heavy tasks like beyond 1080p video editing and other 3D intensive applications. It’s seriously straight to the point about its existence, which is to help you get office work done and fitting into any bag / pouch you have.