A small laptop of the “business” category is an almost indispensable working tool of many people today. It is not just a computer, but a personal companion between work and home offices, at meetings, on trips and… during blackouts. In addition to portability, such models should provide the user with at least a good level of performance, appropriate design, and, preferably, quality materials. In this review, we will take a look at what the ASUS ExpertBook B5302CE model can do to meet the needs of its users.
ASUS ExpertBook B5 specifications
|Model||ASUS ExpertBook B5302CE|
|Display||IPS, 13.3” , resolution 1920×1080, aspect ratio 16:10, refresh rate 60 Hz|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-1165G7|
|RAM||16 GB DDR4|
|Storage||512 GB M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0×4|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Ports||2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 4), 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2, 3.5 mm combo jack, HDMI 2.0b, Micro HDMI (RJ45)|
|Wireless modules||Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) + Bluetooth 5.0|
|Audio||Built-in stereo speakers and microphone|
|Keyboard||Island type keys with backlight|
|Battery and charging||66 Wh, 65 W PSU|
|Dimensions||309× 210.6×16.9 mm|
|Cost of this configuration||44,999 UAH.|
ASUS ExpertBook B5 configuration
The ExpertBook line has many configuration options that depend on the additional features of a specific model and, accordingly, the total cost of the laptop. ASUS ExpertBook B5 is not a flagship, so its delivery kit is quite simple. With the laptop, the user will find only a compact power supply and an adapter for wired connection to the Internet in the box.
To a large extent, this should be enough for full-fledged work, because the presence of most of the necessary ports is here even without hubs. But it would be nice to receive a protective case with each such model, which will help to keep a neat appearance longer after frequent trips for the owner (and with such a laptop, it can almost certainly be said that they will not have a single quiet workplace).
Design and usability
Considering belonging to the caste of business devices, the entire ExpertBook line has always had a relatively simple design, which in no way should have distracted the user from work. There was no unnecessary lighting or noticeable glossy panels. Everything is very restrained and simple, as it should be in a classic office environment (9 to 6 and a dress code, of course).
Like most models of the line, ExpertBook B5 is almost no different from its other representatives. It has the same color (now it says “black”, but depending on the lighting it can look blue, as seen in the pictures of the test model) and “physique”. Of course, with its little peculiarities (like the Flip can be fully unfolded, the regular B5 can’t). But all the traits characteristic of the line have been preserved. Even with its new additions, such as a separate indicator on the lid of the display unit, which signals that its owner is currently very busy and should not be disturbed. This is located in the corner next to the name of the laptop and glows with a noticeable orange color.
In fact, ExpertBook B5 is one of the initial links of the line, so its purpose is not to show all the capabilities of such laptops, but also to preserve its most important advantages. In terms of design, it is primarily about mobility and practicality. Our model can weigh from 1 to 1.23 kg (yes, the new MacBook Air now weighs at least 1.24 kg), and its dimensions with a 13-inch screen are 309×210.6×16.9 mm. That is, it is really small and light, which greatly simplifies constant short (office-home) and long-distance (business/leisure) trips.
In addition, the manufacturer indicates compliance with military endurance standards in many of its models. Indeed, it is difficult to say how the laptop will withstand, for example, a fall, and there is no way to check it because the test model must be returned in good condition. But there is the confidence that with the appropriate attitude, the laptop is able to keep its good appearance for a very long time. The type is more than well put together, it consists of nice materials (aluminum upper and lower panels, and the rest of the top case is made of magnesium alloy), but it does not leave the impression of something cheap. A kind of “not cheap business-class car”, but not a “supercar”, like expensive gaming models.
All possible ports for connecting external devices are standardly located on the sides of the case. On the left are two Thunderbolt 4 ports (which, in addition to communication capabilities, are used to charge the laptop), and Micro HDMI, through which you can connect RJ45 using the included adapter. On the right side are Kensington Lock, HDMI 2.0b, USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 and a combined 3.5 Jack for a headset. It seems that in this case, some additional hub should not be needed, unless the user will have a lot of gadgets with USB-A, or will need to connect to a projector with VGA, DVI, etc.
The design of the bottom of the ExpertBook B5 case is also minimalistic. Along with the legs, there is only a noticeable perforated zone for air access to the case. The already familiar ErgoLift mechanism, which assumes that the display unit in the open position should slightly raise the topcase above the table, is also present here. Subjectively, it has almost no effect on the convenience of work. And as the company previously said, it has positive aspects in cooling the device.
From a practical point of view, as always, there are no questions. This is not the first time that ASUS has made such a model, so it has long been time to bring it to the desired condition. This is not the first laptop of this line that has reached our editorial office and me personally, and there were no noticeable flaws this time either. Even taking into account the cost of more than a thousand dollars, the model is very successful. There are no noticeable differences with the presentation materials. Moreover, the computer is really pleasant to use, which for some reason was not always among the priority goals of many manufacturers for business series.
ASUS ExpertBook B5 display
Laptops marked “portable” mostly have small displays. It’s the same here — the 13.3-inch wide-format screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio is one of the factors that keeps the body compact. It is quite enough for work on the road, and a resolution greater than the available Full HD is not required. Although you still want to have an external monitor at the workplace.
This base model does not include a touch panel, and among the two available options, the difference is only in the maximum brightness of the matrix: 300 or 470 cd/m². It is worth paying attention to this, depending on the specific work needs, because for those users who travel a lot and work in different conditions, the supply of backlight will not be superfluous. And with the majority of work indoors, the first option should be enough.
In both cases, these are IPS matrices (in the test model it is from Sharp — LQ133M1JW40), which promise 100% of the sRGB color space. Our colorimeter showed good results. And what is more important, the practical use of such a matrix also turned out to be quite comfortable. It is unlikely that professional photographers will work behind this screen. But for those who have been working with laptop business models for a long time and have not changed their work tool for a long time, such a matrix will be a very tangible upgrade for both everyday work and entertainment (watching movies, photos, and even the banal doom scrolling of social media feeds will look good).
The only thing worth adjusting here is the color temperature. The standard profile is quite “cold”, which can be adjusted to the reference mark via MyASUS.
There is also a separate version of the laptop with an OLED screen. Of course, this is a nice and modern option. But most likely, for a typical user of a similar class of laptops, it will be overkill. Especially considering the good quality of IPS matrices. Even for additional money. Also, the Flip option, which will also support the stylus, will require a separate payment. But now we are talking about a regular model, not a transformer.
And about the lighting. Currently, when there is almost no sunlight outside and daylight is short, there was no need for the maximum level of lighting at all. I needed no more than half of the supply for comfortable operation. The colorimeter saw a maximum of the promised 470 cd/m², and a minimum of 30 cd/m². An anti-glare coating will also help in the summer with the sun. It’s a whim, but I would really like to get a light sensor, but there is no such thing here yet.
ASUS ExpertBook B5 security
Before us is not the most expensive ExpertBook, but it still follows the safety rules. For example, it has a “curtain” for the front camera. Unfortunately, there is no separate option for face recognition in our model. But for quick access to the system there is a fingerprint scanner.
It is mounted in the power button, which is located on the right side of the topcase. You have to get used to the placement because the button is difficult to find by touch (it is installed on the same level with the body, which is why the inconvenience arose in the first place). But then it won’t happen. In addition, the scanner works quickly, which will allow you not to think about passwords.
Control and multimedia
On a small Expert topcase, the Book B5 easily accommodates a full-sized island keyboard. It might take some getting used to, but I managed to write this review with almost no eyes on the keys and minimal typos. The keyboard is pleasant to work with, it is moderately loud, and the key travel is quite deep. There is a backlight, but no adjustable level (on or off is all). Also, the keyboard should withstand water splashes, but we did not risk checking this.
The 115×62 mm trackpad was also enough for me personally. Yes, it could be much larger, but there is not so much display here to make it tiring to drive the cursor from one corner to another. It was convenient for me to work with it without the help of a mouse. It also has an integrated NUM-block mode (the intensity of which can be adjusted), and you can quickly launch the calculator from it with a separate gesture.
Sound, unfortunately, is still a typical problem of business laptops. The available two speakers are so weak that their sound can be compared with the speakers of smartphones (the flagship models of which will be able to play music better). But, if we are talking about conversations or accompanying movies/series, then the sound will be enough in a small room.
The built-in HD webcam with the help of AI does a good job of overcoming digital noise, which is clearly visible in the image during video chats. But you may not immediately get the white balance right, which is why, under different conditions of artificial lighting, the picture may not accurately convey the colors (which is not a fundamental issue for most zoom calls).
AI also helps microphones, where it radically cuts off extraneous sounds and any noise that the microphone can transmit. For some reason, this feature is disabled by default, so the user has to enable it through the settings in MyASUS. But the user may not know about this possibility at all. And at the same time, it really significantly improves the quality of the conversation, because without it there is simply too much noise from the microphone itself, not to mention all the other sounds that most likely spoil the conversation.
Performance and software
This model could not do without configuration options either – there are quite a few of them. In Ukrainian stores, you can currently find models with the 11th generation of Intel processors (Core i5-1135G7/Core i7-1165G7), although there are also newer ones. GPU is only integrated — Intel Iris Xe Graphics/Intel Iris X Graphics — which should improve battery life. The amount of RAM reaches 16 GB, and the drives range from 512 GB to 1 TB. At the same time, one DDR4 SO-DIMM RAM slot is available to the user, and two M.2 2280 PCIe 3.0×4 slots are generally provided for drives.
Among the communication capabilities of the ExpertBook B5, unlike more expensive models, there is no LTE support, and it also did without additional NFC tags. Everything else is relatively standard for such laptops — Wi-Fi 6 for a wireless network, an adapter for a wired network, and Bluetooth 5.0 for accessories.
The ExpertBook B5 configuration with Intel Core i7-1165G7 (4 cores/8 threads) with a frequency of 2.8-4.7 GHz, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of permanent memory has reached the editorial office. This, of course, is not a gaming station, but it is quite capable of being a comfortable office option. You can connect an external monitor for work, ordinary office tasks are not a problem, minimal entertainment is available, and with the high-speed performance, there were never even short pauses. The B7 Flip, which we tested not so long ago, behaved about the same, although it had a slightly more powerful CPU and slightly higher scores in tests.
ExpertBook B5 cooling lives a life of its own and often attracts attention. You work in silence for a few minutes, then the cooler breaks it for a few seconds. Not loud, but noticeable, especially after the standby state. This is also not a fundamental point. In addition, it managed to keep the case in a relatively cool state: during normal operation, the temperature of the processor is 40-45°C, and during the stress test it did not exceed 62°C. You can find warm places on the case, but almost the entire working surface always remained cool.
Among the additional software for Windows 11 Pro, here you can find the standard ASUS applications Business Manager (settings for additional system security) and MyASUS, where you can change the parameters of the battery, sound, display, receive firmware updates etc. All this is not new for the company’s laptops.
ASUS ExpertBook B5 battery life
All configurations of the ASUS ExpertBook B5 have batteries with a capacity of 66 Wh, the declared operating time of which is 14 hours. The office work simulator showed a roughly similar result of over 11.5 hours. In practice, with variable brightness and intensity of work, the average “fuel consumption” was 15% per hour, which is a fairly standard indicator for such laptops. And watching a two-hour movie with comfortable display brightness and sound level settings cost the battery 18% of charge.
A small power supply unit weighs 320 grams and practically does not burden transportation. Its power is 65 W. In the first hour of charging, an empty battery will reach more than 80% of its charge, but it takes another hour and a half for the rest, which again leads to a more or less standard charging time of 2.5 hours. It is also worth considering that the laptop is charged via USB-C, so a suitable monitor at the workplace or simply a powerful external power supply with such a connector will be able to free up the usual routes from the package charger.