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ASUS ExpertBook B1 (B1500) Review: Your Next Desktop Replacement

by Duey Guison  September 19, 2021

Review Verdict: Anyone looking for a potential desktop replacement in the Philippines might want to consider the ASUS ExpertBook B1 (B1500). While it shares the same design language as the ZenBook series, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) has a beefier chassis, more ports and plenty of upgrade options for businesses. 

Pros

  • Wide port selection that includes legacy ones like a VGA port
  • Flexible upgrade options
  • Great set of hardware

Cons

  • Small trackpad
  • Undersized battery for a 15-inch laptop

ASUS’ ExpertBook line is meant for business professionals, and the B1 (B1500) is one of the beefier models in the lineup. While sticking to a familiar ZenBook design, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) sacrifices portability and lightness for a design that is meant more as a desktop replacement. Is the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) good enough to replace your desktop for your WFH setup?

Design

The ExpertBook B1 (B1500) employs the same design language as the ultralight ExpertBook B9450F we reviewed last year, though their resemblance ends there. Aside from having a bigger display, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) is ultimately heavier, weighing at a little under 4 pounds and being 19.4mm thick. The laptop uses an aluminum alloy for the chassis and has a MIL-STD 810H rating like its skinny sibling. ASUS’ ErgoLift hinge is also present on the ExpertBook B1 (B1500), and the hinge can be opened up to 180 degrees.

Being a thick laptop, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) is geared more as a desktop replacement, so you will not be always lugging it around. The added thickness gives you more options as far as upgradability goes like a slot where you can add a 2.5-inch hard drive to supplement the onboard 512GB NVMe storage. Both the RAM and SSD are also upgradeable, so the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) is expected to last you for several years.

The added thickness also translates to a great port selection. On the right side, you have a Kensington lock slot, Ethernet port, USB-A 2.0, headphone jack, and MicroSD card slot. On the left side, you have a barrel-type charging port, USB-C Thunderbolt 4, VGA port, HDMI 2.0 port, and two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports. While we appreciate the diverse port selection, we think that ASUS could have equipped the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) with a full-sized SD card reader.

In terms of security, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) has a physical webcam shutter, a fingerprint scanner that is embedded on the power button, and a TPM 2.0 Security Module–the latter being an important feature for upgrading the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) to Windows 11 in the future.

Keyboard

Being a 15-inch desktop replacement, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) has a full-sized keyboard that includes a numpad. It took me a while to get used to the keyboard layout–I’m more used to keyboards without a numpad–but the overall typing experience is good. I’d say that the key travel of the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) is very much comparable to the ZenBook 13.

The ExpertBook B1 (B1500)’s trackpad may be a bit small for its frame, but it works fine for my day-to-day work. However, I found it more comfortable to use an external mouse with the ExpertBook B1 (B1500). After all, this laptop is more of a desktop replacement than one that you’d use on the go.

Display and speakers

Being a large laptop, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) has a 15.6-inch Full HD LCD display with 250nits of brightness and a 16:9 aspect ratio. While the display is decent enough for most productivity tasks, creatives might be turned off by it since the panel only supports 45% of the NTSC color gamut. However, ASUS makes up for that by allowing the ExpertBook B1500 to connect to up to two 4K monitors (one via USB-C DisplayPort, and one via HDMI 2.0), making it a great setup for those who prefer working with multiple displays. We got generally good color accuracy on the ExpertBook B1 (B1500), making its display do fine for watching videos.

The speakers, on the other hand, feel a little weak in terms of maximum loudness; I have to set the volume to around 80% for the best listening experience. Typical with most laptop speakers, the bass on the ExpertBook B1 (B1500)’s speakers is a bit weak, with the soundstage leaning more towards the highs.

Internals and Battery Life

Our review unit came with a Core i5-1135G7 processor that is paired with 8GB RAM, 512GB NVMe SSD, and an MX330 discrete GPU. Intel’s 11th-generation processor is proven to offer a significant performance boost over the 10th-gen Intel processors used on the previous-generation ExpertBooks like the B9450F.

The added muscle of the Iris XE, along with the inclusion of an MX330 discrete GPU, makes the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) suitable for heavier productivity tasks, low-to-mid multimedia work, and a bit of gaming in between. With its expandable RAM and internal storage, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) is a good all-around notebook, catering to most needs.

Given that it has a huge frame and plenty of vents, heat dissipation is good on the ExpertBook B1 (B1500), with the fans barely spinning at maximum speed even when using it to batch edit several photos.

Because of its size and dual storage option, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) falls short with battery life, as you get a 42wHr battery that feels small for its size. We got around 4 hours and 20 minutes of battery life in our video loop test, and around 3 hours with actual use. The ExpertBook B1 (B1500) does come with a 90w barrel port charger, though you can top it up via USB-C at up to 65w.

Wrap Up and Conclusions

If you are looking for something that can replace a clunky desktop setup, the ASUS ExpertBook B1500 shows that it is one of the viable desktop replacement laptops you can buy in our review of the device for the Philippines. Being a thick and heavy laptop, the ExpertBook B1 (B1500) makes up for that with flexible expandability options and diverse port selection that include legacy ports.

The ExpertBook B1 (B1500) compromises battery life with its undersized battery pack, but that should not be a big deal since people who plan to purchase this laptop will use it tethered to an outlet like most gaming laptops.

ASUS ExpertBook B1 (B1500) Review Philippines Price

The ExpertBook B1 (B1500) starts at Php 50,295, and our review unit, which comes with a Core i5-1135G7 processor, MX330 GPU, 512GB SSD, and 8GB RAM, is priced at Php 56,095. Check out here and on the ASUS for Business Facebook Page for where to buy the ExpertBook B1 (B1500).

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