There are so many laptops on the market these days it is difficult to distinguish one from another. So, how do you set one laptop apart from another? How about focusing on what’s inside rather than the looks of it?
We see so many different laptops that look pretty much the same. The Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip is one such laptop. Get it out of the box and it looks like another blue/grey box but open it up and use it and it begins to shine (figuratively).
But first the design.
The design is a no fuss design and no amount of flowery descriptions by the PR folk will not change that – but this is not a bad thing. Rather than focus on just the design Asus seem to be putting all their eggs in the functionality basket.
Asus say that the laptop has a Star Black finish which is apparently iridescent with tinges of red and green. To me it looks a navy/blue colour but no amount of light angles can bring out any other colours. The blue is different enough for me – it’s not black and it’s not silver like so many laptops so it’s a win from me. I’m someone who cares about functionality more than I do the colour or design.
Open the lid and you are greeted with a full-sized keyboard, a decent but not overly massive touchpad and a gorgeous display around which is a relatively small bezel. The bezel may not be Dell XPS-sized but it is small enough to allow the display to fill most of the upper lid.
The lid is attached to the lower part of the laptop with two 360 degree lay-flat hinges which allow the laptop to sit perfectly flat apparently. Sure when folded over entirely into a tablet mode the laptop is perfectly flat – is that what Asus mean by that?
The tablet mode is something that I love in a laptop – the “Flip” design allows for much more functionality such as using the laptop as a tablet. I do a lot of “marking” of assignments etc on my laptop so the ability to mark (especially using the included pen) was enhanced with the Flip mode.
The laptop is built to military-grade MIL-STD-810H durability standards and includes an “ultralight and durable magnesium aluminium alloy body”. Asus certainly achieved the lightweight part of that (just 1.24kg at its heaviest) with the laptop incredibly portable while at the same time sturdy. I’m not sure Asus would take kindly to me dropping and man-handling the laptop too kindly. That durability standard though should give you some peace of mind should you purchase this laptop.
The hardware list is what you’d expect from a decent laptop in 2022. It houses an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of onboard memory which is expandable up to 48GB using the SO-DIMM slot. The review laptop includes a 512GB m.2 NVMe SSD but you can upgrade this to 2TB if required using the two m.2 NVMe slots.
The ASUS ExpertBook B5 Flip includes a nice variety of ports including two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, which support up to 40 Gbps data transfer speeds, dual 4K display output, fast charging, and next-generation connectivity. There’s also a full-sized HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K video output, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A port, and a 3.5 mm combo audio jack.
A nice addition, although the Thunderbolt 4 ports can perform this function too via a dongle, is a micro-HDMI to RJ45 LAN port with the required dongle included in the box. For those who like a wired connection this is extremely handy. Prefer Wi-Fi and you are catered for with support for Wi-Fi 6 with Gig+, not to mention Bluetooth 5.0 support.
Above that gorgeous 13.3-inch display is a HD camera with a physical webcam shield. The camera may seem basic but combined with the AI noise-cancelling audio and a “ClearVoice Mic” function the video conferencing abilities of this laptop are astounding. The filtering of background voices and noise is great and actually works well when in any type of video conference – I tested it using Microsoft teams and Zoom.
Asus has also included an LED indicator on the top cover of the ExpertBook B5 Flip to let others know when you’re busy in a conference call. Handy for those who work in a busy workplace – or who have a spouse who like to jump in and start asking questions without checking if you are busy.
The power button on the right of the laptop includes the fingerprint sensor and while it was awkward to get to at times it still worked well. It was fast and accurate, what more can you ask for when it comes to a fingerprint sensor.
Asus has been making gorgeous laptop displays for a while now and the ExpertBook B5 Flip is no different with the review unit including a 13.3-inch 16:9 FHD OLED display. The display is an accurate display with an ultrawide colour gamut of 100% DCI-P3 and is Pantone validated to provide precise colour accuracy. The 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and the 400nit brightness do not hurt the display either. The display is bright enough to use outside and being light and durable can easily be used on the go wherever you want to.
The full-sized, backlit, spill-resistant keyboard felt a bit rough at first – it did not have the soft touch keys of my Dell XPS but after using it for a day I was used to it and ended up loving it. The wide keys allowed for fast and accurate typing while the back light made it comfortable to type and use the keyboard at any time and any place.
The touch pad on the review unit also includes a NumPad that is opened by hitting the calculator button on the top right of the touchpad. For those who do a lot of data entry and need a numpad this is extremely handy. Personally, it’s not something I use, ever, but it should be for someone. The NumPad is optional though, so you don’t need to pay for it if you don’t think you’ll ever use one.
The 66-watt-hour battery is supposed to deliver “up to 14 hours of battery life (Energy-efficient Panel version),” but who uses their laptop in this energy-efficient manner. I do sometimes if I know that I am going to be away from a power socket for a long time but rarely. Using it with the display brightness set at about 50% which is still relatively bright, I was easily able to get 8 hours of battery life though with still around 25% battery left at the end of the day – this is real world usage.
The battery also supports fast charge functionality which charges the battery from 1% to 60% in just 40 minutes – handy if you do run low and finally do make it to a power socket.
Everyday performance with the laptop was everything you’d expect. If you wanted to do some high end video editing then it might struggle but my basic video editing and encoding did not push it to its limits and it performed capably at all times. If you are going to be performing higher end video editing then you should be looking at laptops designed specifically for this purpose, one with a dedicated GPU.
I may have been underwhelmed by the look of the Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip when removing it from the box but after using it for a couple of weeks my thoughts have turned a full 180 degrees. It is a lightweight laptop that is near perfect for everyday use whether it for business or pleasure.
If GPU-intensive uses are your main use for a laptop then you may struggle when using the Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip for such purposes but for a vast majority of us it performs admirably with what we throw at it each and every day. The display (on the review unit) was a gorgeous OLED display and if your budget can extend that far I highly recommend it while the video conferencing features made for a pleasant experience — something extremely important in this day and age.
The keyboard took all of a day to get used to and after then it was a pleasure to use, with it accurate and not taxing on the fingers given it is full-sized. Flip the Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip over into tablet mode and you have an included pen to take advantage of the form factor — something I use a lot in my day to day usage.
Starting at RRP $2089 it can be specced up should you require as much but for everyday use this lightweight laptop can do all that you need it to do and more — and do it well. Check it out now at your local electronics retailer.