Regular readers will know we’re big fans of Asus’ ExpertBook ultraportables. They’re small, light, very usable and tend to have exceptional battery life, depending on the spec. Now, here’s an overhauled model, the Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip. It’s got a screen that flips round 180o so that the touchscreen sees it become a tablet. With further enhanced connectivity, is this the ultraportable to buy?
Key specs of the Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip
13.3-inch, matte, 60Hz, 1920 x 1080, touchscreen display; 0.9-4.2GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU; 8GB RAM; 256GB HDD; Intel Iris Xe graphics; 66Wh battery; 1.27KG. SKU: B5302FEA-LG0324R, Full specs here.
Design and Handling
We’ve always liked 13.3-inch laptops as they represent that ultraportable sweet spot where 12-inches is too small and 14-inches is too bulky. The Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip’s ‘Star Black’ Aluminium lid (and base) look great and are very strong, light and rigid. The magnesium alloy palm wrest is very similar. Ultimately, it looks good and exudes quality.
The screen is bright and well-lit and the Full HD resolution means the Windows Desktop looks sharp. Colours aren’t as subdued as we’d expect from a business laptop (it also supports 100 per cent of the Adobe sRGB colour gamut) and even fast-moving motion doesn’t suffer from terrible ghosting. The screen still only has a 60Hz refresh rate so don’t expect it to work well in fast-and-frantic firefights. Colour gradients are modestly smooth with minimal banding although monochromatic transitions can turn blocky (with banding) quite quickly. The relatively high 300 nit brightness assists with contrast, helping detail to be visible in both bright and dark areas. Basically, it’s great for office work but above average for multimedia too. It’s also worth noting that it has flicker free and low-blue-light technology to help with eye fatigue.
The Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip’s display is surrounded by a slightly thick bezel but in the top resides a Windows Hello compatible HD webcam. We’re impressed with the low-light, low-grain image quality which is increasingly important in this day and age. There’s a software ‘camera-off’ button and a physical privacy slide in front of the lens if you don’t trust it. Either side is a microphone array with Asus’ bespoke, two-way noise cancelling technology which works a little better than many rivals.
The Scrabble tile keyboard is comfortable and accurate to type upon for extended periods. It’s got white, LED backlighting and our only gripe is the squished, up-and-down arrow keys.
The screen hinge is very solid and effortlessly folds round to turn the laptop into a tablet. The touchscreen is sensitive and is compatible with the optional Asus pen.
The Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip’s trackpad is smooth, accurate and has a comfortable clicking action. There’s also Asus’ number pad feature which can be illuminated on the trackpad by pressing an icon in the top right-hand side. It’s a little gimmicky but occasionally handy.
On the right side, a thin power button doubles as a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader which is linked to a TPM 2.0 module for additional security.
The speakers don’t get very loud and there’s not much bass, but fidelity is still impressive and there’s some punch there instead tinny-ness.
Inside the Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip is a quad-core 0.9-4.2GHz Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB NVMe hard drive (there’s room for another). These combined to score a respectable (for an ultraportable) 4594 in PCMark 10 showing it can take office functions in its stride. Scores of 890 and 5336 in the Cinebench rendering tests (R15 and R23 respectively) demonstrate it’s not great for power-intensive rendering workloads, though.
We never expect much from integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics but they’re not incapable. That said, it couldn’t run the complex, 3DMark Port Royal ray-tracing test and it only managed 908 in Time Spy (an average of 5fps). The Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip also scored just 870 in Fire Strike Extreme (4fps) and 1455 (8.7fps) in Wild Life Extreme. However, a score of 8496 (87.5fps) in the lesser Night Raid test shows that the it can still play casual and competitive games.
Inside is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
The Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip weighs just 1.27KG while the PSU and cables add just 330g to the mix. The aluminium chassis is robust enough to withstand life on the road and it’s even MIL-STD 810H certified for toughness. Add the svelte 1.7cm thickness and you’re left with a device that’s very good at being carried around. The large, 66Wh battery ran PCMark 10’s Modern Office battery test for a decent 11hrs 19mins. Its fast charge ability enables it to charge to 60 per cent in 39mins.
Should you buy the Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip?
We’ve come to expect ultraportables to cost the Earth but $1549 the Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip very reasonable. Its siblings cost double! It ticks all the boxes to be granted Intel’s EVO certification for portability and responsiveness. Rivals include Huawei’s MateBooks and Venom’s BlackBook Zeros but this is still our favourite work-focused device and a great buy for anyone who needs an ultra, ultra-portable ultraportable.
Asus ExpertBook B5 Flip results
- 2D Performance
- 3D Performance
Still our favourite portable work-focused device and a great buy for anyone who needs an ultra, ultra-portable ultraportable.