AsusPro business laptop: A featherweight that packs welterweight punch

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2018 03:45 PM

The AsusPro weighs just 1.23kg but packs an 8th generation Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.

MANILA - Business laptops are all about portability, power and battery life. As a category, they may not always be the prettiest of the lot, but in terms of practicality, they are at the top. 

The AsusPro doesn’t have the refined looks of the Taiwanese electronic company’s flagship ZenBooks, or the graphics processing muscle of its ROG gaming laptops. But at a little over 1 kilogram in weight, the Asuspro is much much lighter than either of them. For most business tasks, the AsusPro also gets the job done, plus a little more. 

Our review unit, dubbed the P5440, came with an 8th generation Core i5 processor running at 1.8 GHz, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB solid state drive, which are pretty standard for this class of laptops. But the AsusPro can also be configured to have up to 16GB of RAM and an additional 1TB hard disk drive. There’s also an option for a faster Core i7 processor.

The AsusPro has several ports for connecting peripherals.

The laptop has a 14 inch 1080p IPS screen that’s easy on the eyes, and thanks to its matte coating, doesn’t reflect much glare. The screen can also be tilted 180 degrees, which allows users to flat-lay the laptop on a table. This is a feature that could come in handy during a business huddle or a collaboration meeting when several people need to see what you are presenting on the screen. 

The screen however doesn’t swivel 360 degrees like in 2-in-1 models. You can’t use this notebook as a presentation screen, or a tablet like the Lenovo Yoga or Asus’ own Zenbook Flip and Vivobook Flip series. The screen also doesn’t support touch input nor does its trackpad function as an extra display like in Asus’ top-of-the-line notebook.

But what it lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in one feature that’s very important to a lot of business travelers: weight. The AsusPro weighed just 1.23 kg. As someone who was more used to lugging a 15-inch MacBook Pro, this notebook felt almost impossibly light. After using it for about 2 weeks, going back to my MacBook Pro felt like carrying a kettlebell. 

The AsusPro is even lighter than the MacBook Air, whose most affordable 13-inch version weighs 1.25 kgs. The only other laptop I could think of that was lighter is the 12-inch MacBook, which is 0.92 kgs. Tech pundits however have pointed out that these 2 lightweight laptops from Apple both scrimp on ports and require users to carry dongles for peripherals.

The AsusPro screen tilts 180 degrees.

The AsusPro meanwhile gives business users numerous I/O ports. If you need to connect external drives, monitors, projectors, speakers or just look at the photos and videos from your camera, the AsusPro has you covered. You don’t need to lug around a lot of dongles to connect peripherals to this machine as it has 1 USB-C port, 2 USB-3 ports, 1 HDMI port, an SD card reader, a power port and an audio jack. 

But in case you need to connect to older projectors that require a VGA port, Asus also sells a dongle for that. 

Since this laptop can connect via the superfast 802.11ac Wifi, there isn’t much need for a LAN port. But if you need faster gigabit access or your office supports the slower 802.11bg or 802.11n standards, you can also get a LAN dongle for this laptop. 

Dongles aren’t the most convenient solution, but it would have been silly to accommodate too many legacy ports on a laptop designed to be as portable as this. 

Typing on the AsusPro was excellent. I loved the feel of writing on this laptop because the keys were soft without being too feathery, and the layout was just right--it didn’t feel cramped at all. 
In low-light conditions, users can also turn on the keyboard’s backlighting. There’s also a fingerprint scanner next to the trackpad for extra security. 

Asus claims a 10-hour battery life for this laptop. I was never able to verify this, but casual days of web browsing, writing and watching videos on this machine for around 3 hours still left it with about 65 percent battery life, so the official estimate is probably not too far from real world conditions. 

This laptop also has enough processing power and memory to handle photo editing. It can even do some light video editing for business presentations or stuff that need to be uploaded to social media sites. But I wouldn’t recommend it for professional video editors.

The AsusPro’s magnesium alloy body also feels sturdy enough to handle the rigors of business trips and daily use.

For professionals who need a lightweight laptop that packs enough power for demanding business tasks, the AsusPro is a very solid choice.