Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip review

Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip Review

Asus’ ExpertBooks have been some of our top-rated portable laptops since the site began. But, it’s been a while since we’ve had one in and they’ve been getting long in the tooth. Meanwhile, rivals have been releasing all manner of enticing competitors. Can the Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip put the brand back on top?

Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip Specs

Screen14-inch, satin-finish, 60Hz, 1,920 x 1,200 LCD display
Processor2.9–5GHz Intel Core i7-1195G7 CPU
Memory32GB DDR4-3200 RAM
GraphicsIntel Xe GPU
Hard drive1 x 1TB PCIe NVMe
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.2
5G microSIM
miniDP
HDMI 2.0b
3.5mm audio jack
microHDMI (Gigabit Ethernet via dongle)
2 x Thunderbolt 4
NFC
SpeakersIntegrated, unspecified
SecuritySecurity Card reader
Fingerprint reader & webcam (both Windows Hello)
Webcam privacy slide
WebcamHD
Battery63Wh
Dimensions320 x 234 x 19mm
Weight1.5 KG
SKUB7402FEALA0458X
Full specs and variants, here.

Design, Features & Ergonomics

The ExpertBook B7 Flip is a dark colour called ‘Star Black’ and when it catches the light, it sparkles. It won’t turn heads when out and about but it effortlessly fits into an office environment. It feels plastic but it’s very rigid and robust. There’s very little flex in the screen when a twisting force is applied.

Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip review front view
Despite having a 500-nit screen, the various filters mean it often appears a bit dark. Note the back-lit, number pad on the trackpad.

The screen is a little unusual in that although it’s a touchscreen (that can be used as a convertible tablet with stylus), it’s not a glossy black mirror – it’s as though the screen is set slightly behind a protective, satin-finished layer that impressively banishes fingerprints and reflections. It also acts as a privacy filter so that people sitting next to you will struggle to see what’s on the screen. It’s not the most responsive touchscreen when touch-navigating but the lag is minuscule not annoying.

Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip review tablet
It looks good in tablet mode when faced straight on. Note the magnetically attached (optional) Asus Pen.

Being a Flip, it converts into a tablet and makes use of the rechargeable Asus Pen which magnetically stores on the side of the screen. It’s just a shame it doesn’t inductively charge that way. It’s not easy to find AAAA battery chargers, but Asus says the single battery will last about 10 months. We should note that our Asus Pen was an optional extra.

RELATED: Asus Expertbook B5 Flip review

We should also mention that, although Asus pushes the art-pad potential of the B7 Flip, the purposely-poor, privacy-provisioned viewing angles mean the screen needs to be perfectly positioned to avoid being affected by them – especially when showing off work to other people. It’s a bit odd to push privacy and art on the same screen as the two designations noticeably conflict here.

Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip review oblique view
The screen is turned on but the privacy filter stops people from seeing it. This causes problems when in tablet mode!

Nonetheless, a crisp, 1,920 x 1,200 Windows Desktop is displayed and despite the privacy layers (and for blue-light filtering) it gets bright and colours aren’t too muted.

Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip review backlight bleed
For those who care about Backlight bleed, there’s not much blighting the ExpertBook B7 Flip.

As for multimedia, performance is acceptable. General movie watching is reasonable with decent colour and motion performance. Contrast is good with details being visible in bright and dark areas although less-so the latter. There is some visible banding in colour gradients but it’s not too distracting. Monochromatic transitions are a poor, though, and content in dark scenes quickly becomes a blocky mess.

Asus’ ExpertBook B7 Flip’s screen’s 60Hz refresh rate combines with a sluggish pixel response time which results in fast-moving objects getting blurry, quickly. Anyone wanting to do some fast and frantic gaming on the ExpertBook B7 Flip will be very disappointed – not that that’s what this laptop is designed for.

Below the screen, the Scrabble-tile keyboard is comfortable and accurate to type upon although it might be a little stiff for perpetual typists. It has white backlighting that can be set to either on or off. The 1-4 keys are highlighted with a white border – we weren’t really sure why.

The trackpad is smooth and accurate and has a nice clicking action. A touch-button in the top-right corner turns it into a lit-up, touch-sensitive number pad which works adequately. A large sticker tells us there’s an NFC pad located there too.

The B7 Flip’s side-mounted power button is a bit fiddly to reach. It also doubles as a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader works adequately despite being very thin. Above the screen is a decent HD webcam which also works well in low light, despite getting a bit grainy. It can be turned off via the F10 key but there’s also a hardware privacy slide for total reassurance against spying malfeasants. The dual-array microphones capture impressively clear audio.

The twin, Harmon Kardon speakers are also impressive. Despite the thin chassis, they pump out well-rounded audio with good fidelity (from top to bottom) and even some punchy bass. They don’t get overly loud though. A volume rocker on the side adds to the key-combo adjustment which is required when the ExpertBook B7 Flip is in tablet mode.

Performance

Inside Asus’ ExpertBook B7 Flip is a 2.9–5GHz Intel Core i7-1195G7 quad-core processor. There’s also a generous 32GB of DDR4-3200 RAM and a 1TB hard drive. We get that business laptops like this have a long shelf-life but we’d really like to see a 12th Gen version sooner rather than later.

Nonetheless, in the general-computing, PCMark 10 benchmark it scored a reasonable 5,081 which rivals the scores of current-gen competitors from HP and Dynabook (which uses newer but lower-powered silicon). However, scores of 950 and 5,365 in the Cinebench R15 and R23 rendering tests (respectively) are slower and feel much more last-gen.

For 3D, we didn’t expect much from the Tiger Lake-based Intel Xe graphics but the beefier, older GPU exceeded the lower-powered variants in the HP and Dynabook once again. While it couldn’t run the challenging 3DMark ray-tracing tests, it did score 1,313 in Time Spy which is an average of 7.2fps. That’s low but 1fps higher than the newer HP and Dynabook. In Fire Strike Extreme it managed 1,377 (average 6.5fps).

It did manage 11,713 (average 63.3fps) in the lesser Night Raid test. However, while this shows it will play casual and some competitive games, you won’t want to play fast and frantic shooters like CS:GO and Valorant on such a slow screen.

On that note, we’ll soon be updating our benchmarks and including real-world competitive shooter, CS:GO. We ran Ulletical’s FPS Benchmark and used CapFrameX to establish that, over the course of 90 seconds, it averaged just 24fps. More importantly, when the slowest 1% of framerates were averaged, this dropped to just 4fps.

We do this because it’s a real-world indication of how system components perform when working (very hard) together: when smoke grenades go off (for instance), performance drops off a cliff. Try planting a virtual bomb at 4fps in a tournament match(!) So, while you could tinker with settings to bring CS:GO’s average fps to above 30fps – which is considered the minimum playable speed – you won’t be able to be competitive if your computer freezes whenever a grenade explodes.

Finally, note that in Performance mode and under load, the ExpertBook B7 Flip’s fan can get a bit warm and audible. However, for the most part it’s cool and quiet.

Connectivity

Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip review - left
On the left are two Thunderbolt 4 ports (one is used by the power supply), HDMI 2.0b, USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, micro HDMI port (used only with Ethernet conversion dongle) and a 3.5mm audio jack.
Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip review - right
On the right is a miniDP port, microSIM holder, Smart Card Reader, fingerprint reading power switch, volume rocker and another USB 3.2 Gen 2 port.

Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 and 5G wireless connectivity. All in all, that’s almost everything but the kitchen sink.

Portability and battery life

The Asus B7 Flip is very robustly built and yet it weighs just 1.5KG and is only 19mm thick. It’s also MIL-STD 810H certified for solidity. The small power supply adds just another 350g.

Asus-ExpertBook-B7-Flip-underneath
The ExpertBook B7 Flip is robustly built with decent battery life, a small PSU and a low weight. Impressive. Note the microHDMI-to-Ethernet dongle at the bottom.

Meanwhile, the three-cell, 63Wh battery ran our PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test for 11 hours 1 minute. That’s a full day out of the office, but some way behind the impressive performance we’ve seen from Asus’ other ExpertBooks. It means that this B7 Flip isn’t the standout ultraportable that its predecessors have been, it’s part of a crowd.

Price and Availability

At $3,364, the Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip isn’t cheap in this market. It doesn’t help that it uses last-generation components and an updated 12th Gen version is imminent. We’ll cover that as soon as we’re able. It’s been out for a while already, but can still be bought in most locations.

5 Alternatives to the Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip

Unlike its predecessors, the B7 Flip now finds itself in a crowded space. Here are some similar options.

MSI Prestige 14 Evo

More powerful | Cheaper | Less security | Fewer features | More portable | Not convertible

Acer Swift 5

More power | Less expensive | More portable | Not convertible

Dynabook X40L-K

Also convertible | Business focused | Less security | Fingerprint magnet

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13

More powerful | Equally corporate | Less security | More portable

HP Elitebook X360 1040 G9

Much cheaper | Latest-gen tech | Similar type | Stylus included

Conclusion

The Asus ExpertBook B7 Flip offers some good ergonomics, connectivity and portability, but it’s a mediocre value proposition and we expect better performance for the money. What’s most perplexing is that the screen is pushed towards colour-loving artists and corporate privacy hounds alike. Which is it? The privacy-based viewing angles are so effective that they heavily impact on its ability to act as an artist’s palate?!

There are numerous other competitors that will turn your head, not least the imminent, updated, 12th Gen version of itself! That said, if the price plummets it can still be a reasonable buy but we’re not totally sure who for, beyond the business crowd. Ultimately, it’s a nice laptop but just too expensive for all but some cashed-up, very niche buyers who want particular features.

Pros

Good speakers
Loads of ports
Decent battery life

Cons

Expensive
Hit-and-miss screen
Last-gen components

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