ASUS HAS TEAMED up with Boston-Power to deliver a new range of business notebooks that comes with Boston-Power’s Sonata Lithium-ion batteries standard. Unlike most laptop batteries, the Sonata power cells come with a three year manufacturer’s warranty. The new B-series of notebooks doesn’t just have extended life batteries though, as there are a few other features that should make them appealing to business users.
The new B-series consists for the time being of four new models, the B53J and B53F as well as the B43J and B43F. The B53 models features 15.6-inch screens and the B43 models have 14.1-inch screens. All models have matte screens which is something we’ll hopefully be seeing on a lot more notebooks, as the glossy screens really don’t live up to the hype once you start using them. All four models feature the same 1366×768 resolution. The J models features ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 graphics with 512MB of dedicated graphics memory and Eyefinity support.
All four models are available with an Intel Core i5 520M processor, while the J models are also available with the Core i7 620M. The J models ship with either 2 or 4GB of DDR3 RAM, while the F models ship with 2GB as standard. The J models come with 7,200rpm hard drives, while the F models have to make do with 5,400rpm drives. All four models ships with 320GB drives as standard, but Asus offers larger options as well. The J models also features Intel vPro technology thanks to the QM57 chipset, while the F models use the HM55 chipset. All models in the B-series also feature a docking port, although we have no details as to what kind of docking solutions will be offered.
Common for the B53 models is a built in fingerprint scanner, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity, DisplayPort, HDMI and D-sub ports, an ExpressCard 34 slot, a Smart Card reader, a memory card reader, a 2Megapixel webcam, Gigabit Ethernet, an eSATA/USB combo port, two USB 2.0 ports, a built in optical drive, a pair of audio jacks and Windows 7 Professional with XP Pro downgrade. We don’t have the details for the B43 models, but many of the connectivity options and features should be the same. The B53 models weigh in at about 2.7kg and measure 384x263x35mm.
Beyond the three year battery warranty, the B-series also comes with a three year global warranty and one year’s accidental damage warranty. Asus also claims that the new Sonata battery pack will charge to 90 percent in 90 minutes and that the batteries will retain 80 percent capacity after three years of usage. The battery life isn’t overwhelming though, as the standard 3-cell battery pack is only rated at 47Whr which Asus claims is good for up to 4h battery life on the J models and up to 5h on the F models. Asus claims that the 3-cell Sonata batteries are equivalent to a standard 6-cell battery, but we have to agree to disagree on this point, as many notebooks with 6-cell batteries have a much higher power rating and longer battery life.
Overall the new B-series look pretty decent, at least on paper. We can see some smaller business investing in these machines if the price is right, but it’s going to be hard for Asus to get in with larger corporate businesses where HP, Lenovo and Dell are strong players. This is a new territory for Asus and as a first attempt, the B-series offers competitive features and a rather stylish design for a business notebook. The B53 is available as of now with a starting price of $1,099 which seems a little bit on the steep side. As for the B43, Asus has as yet to announce availability and pricing details.S|A
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