Taiwanese PC maker Asus is known more for its gaming PCs than business laptops, but you'd not know it from the AsusPro B8430U.
This 14-inch laptop ticks all the boxes when it comes to enterprise-friendly features, from a fingerprint reader for user authentication to a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip for data encryption.
Its industrial design - pragmatic, sturdy and professional - reflects its down-to-earth business sensibilities.
Asus says that the laptop has been tested to exceed the 810G military standard for robustness and reliability.
For instance, the laptop hinge is said to have undergone 20,000 more cycles of being opened and closed than standard notebooks.
The standard configuration comes with a 1TB hard drive that is protected against shocks and drops by sponge cushions.
A built-in accelerometer detects if the laptop is being dropped and stops the drive head from touching the drive platter and causing a potential crash.
However, such protection is not required on my review unit, which has a 256GB solid-state drive.
The backlit keyboard offers excellent key travel. There is ample spacing between keys, which makes for a comfortable typing experience.
Those who prefer to use a pointing stick over the touchpad will find this input device in the middle of the keyboard.
The touchpad is fairly large for a business laptop but it feels quite mushy and less responsive when pressed near the edges. Two-fingered scrolling is smooth.
As you'd expect from a business laptop, the 1,920 x 1,080 pixels screen has a matte finish.
Viewing angles are decent, though the display, which tops out at 200 nits, could be brighter.
Asus has lined the sides of the B8430U with ports and connectors.
In addition to the usual USB 3.0 ports, you will find VGA, mini-DisplayPort, LAN and SD card reader.
It even has a smart card slot for authentication.
HDMI is the only port that is missing, but this is fine as most projectors still support VGA.
With a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of system memory, the B8430U has standard specifications for a premium business laptop.
It is not quite a workstation because of its limited RAM and the lack of dedicated graphics, but this laptop will handle most office workloads without a hitch.
This is seen in its PCMark 8 Home score of 2,795, which is slightly higher than those of most consumer ultrabooks I have tested this year.
The laptop managed 6hr 40min in our video-loop battery test, which is good for a 14-inch notebook.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6600U (2.6GHz)
GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 520
SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: 4 x USB 3.0, mini-DisplayPort, VGA, Gigabit LAN, SD card reader, audio jack
BATTERY: 48 watt-hour
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
BATTERY LIFE: 4/5
• Verdict: A solid business laptop that offers useful features and good battery stamina.
This article was first published on December 21, 2016.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.
Purchase this article for republication.