HP gets down to business with redesigned and refreshed EliteBook and ProBook laptops (hands-on)

Two weeks ago "consumers" got totally redesigned HP Pavilion dv and g-series laptops, leaving those poor guys in the conference room with nothing but their "old" Calpella-based machines and sad Excel spreadsheets. Well, it's their turn now alright -- HP's been stirring up brand new EliteBook and ProBooks for the guys and gals in suits (though, we're really of the mind that these laptops are for anyone looking for some tough and powerful hardware). All ten of the new machines (yep, 10!) have been given new metal designs, Intel's latest Sandy Bridge processors, facial recognition software, and an easy-access latch to get to the hard drive and RAM. And there's more -- hit the jump for a break down and impressions of each of the models, and don't forget to check those galleries below for some shots of these rigs in the flesh.

HP EliteBook p-series

The 14-inch EliteBook 8460p and 15.6-inch EliteBook 8560p still look like they belong in the office, but the new bead-blasted magnesium-aluminum lid, edges, and palmrest, which are resistant to smudges, make the machines tough enough to take a serious beating on-the-go. They've even met the MIL-STD 810G military standards making them "business-rugged." And that's not the whole durable story -- both models have a double-shot display frames and aluminum-alloy hinges (picture of that here).

Overall, we have to say we were really impressed with the tough feel of the chassis, although it makes them a bit heavy (the 8460p weighs 4.56 pounds and the 8560p 6.1 pounds). However, our favorite two features are more focused on actual usability. The first is the chemically strengthen glass touchpad. It feels great under a finger -- a lot like the one on the Lenovo U260 actually -- and it has two dedicated right and left mouse buttons. In fact, HP's decided to exterminate the ClickPads altogether on these new business models. Still alive, however, are the pointing sticks. The second is the easy access panel on the bottom of the systems -- snap off the rear cover and you've got full access to the hard drive, RAM, etc. Seriously, it looks insanely easy to pull out the hard drive and put in, oh say, one of those new OCZ Vertex 3 Pro SSDs.

So, what are you getting exactly on the inside of these rigs? Both will be configurable with Sandy Bridge Core i3, i5, and i7 processors, up to 8GB of RAM, a USB 3.0 port, and AMD Radeon HD 6470M graphics. There will also be three-, six-, and nine-cell battery options, and HP's claiming that the SSD, nine-cell battery, and "ultra-capacity" extended battery configurations will keep these bad boys running for 32 hours. Obviously, that setup will cost quite a bit more than the $999 starting price.

HP ProBook b-series

As always, HP's ProBooks are for the more mainstream business users, which basically means, they're cheaper. The new 13.3-inch 6360b, 14-inch 6460b, and 15.6-inch 6560b, are similarly made out of aluminum, although they don't have the same finish as the EliteBooks and are a darker tungsten color. They also don't get the higher quality glass touchpad, but the pad is roomy and the rubbery right and left buttons have a nice texture to them.

Spec-wise, the ProBooks are very similar to the EliteBooks -- they're available with Intel Celeron, Core i3, i5, and i7 processors, up to 8GB of RAM, and AMD Radeon 6470 graphics. Oh, and did we mention they'll have an HD webcam option? Both the ProBooks and the EliteBooks have HP's new facial recognition software and the usual HP QuickWeb pre-boot environment. The b-series will start at $799.

HP ProBook s-series

This series is definitely the middle child of the bunch -- it just doesn't get the same kind of love as the others, but then again it's the cheapest. It may have a brushed-aluminum finish, but it's pretty plain in design. All the versions -- there's the 14-inch 4430s, 15.6-inch 4530s, and 17-inch 4730s -- will have Intel Celeron, Core i3, i5, and i7 processor options. (Note: there are 12- and 13-inchers as well, but they won't be coming to the US). While there will be AMD GPU options, the models offered will primarily have integrated graphics, which makes sense for the $579 starting price.


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HP Unveils Business Notebooks Designed with Precision Engineering

PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 23, 2011 – HP today revamped its corporate and enterprise (C&E) and small and medium business (SMB) notebook PC lineup with new technology aimed at boosting performance and productivity, while offering an enriched and sophisticated industrial design that improves notebook quality and reliability.

The company's new FORGE design framework ensures HP business notebooks embody a timeless construction, with precision-engineered durability features that are designed for maximum reliability and with the environment in mind. Precision aluminum-alloy hinges, cast titanium-alloy display latches and the HP DisplaySafe frame are a few of the design highlights behind the FORGE approach.

New products and services include:
- HP EliteBook 8460p and 8560p notebook PCs feature an aerospace- inspired HP DuraCase that meets the MIL-STD 810G military-standard testing specifications, (1) enabling it to withstand wear and tear while still sporting an attractive, professional-looking platinum color tone finish. The EliteBook 8460p also provides industry-leading battery life up to 32 hours.(2)
- HP ProBook 6360b, 6460b and 6560b notebook PCs offer configuration flexibility in areas such as processor, graphics and battery technology. Boasting an all-new 13.3-inch diagonal display option, the ProBook b-series also features a new smudge-resistant and wear-resistant tungsten-colored design.
- HP ProBook s-series 4230s, 4330s, 4430s, 4530s and 4730s notebook PCs are available in an array of sizes – from ultra-light to desktop replacement – making them an excellent, affordable choice for SMBs.

"HP is the market leader in business notebooks and we have raised the bar with a completely revamped line of business-grade notebooks‖ said Dan Forlenza, vice president, Business Notebooks, Personal Systems Group, HP. "Our all-metal EliteBooks meet military standards and will surpass customer expectations in durability"

Rugged, optimized design for premium business performance
Bold, confident and modern, the HP EliteBook 8460p and HP EliteBook 8560p are the culmination of creative design and precision engineering. Starting at only 4.56 pounds and 6.10 pounds, respectively, the HP EliteBook 8460p and 8560p offer 14- and 15.6-inch diagonal high- definition (HD) LED-backlit displays(3) that deliver incredible portability without sacrificing screen legibility.

The EliteBook p-series delivers optimum business performance with second-generation Intel® CoreTM i7 quad-core processors and Core i7, i5 and i3 dual-core processors,(4) while offering flexible choices of UMA or high-performance AMD Radeon HD 6470M discrete graphics with responsive performance and rich media capabilities. The notebooks also feature new USB 3.0 ports and a USB 2.0 charging port, in addition to a range of wireless connectivity options, choice of multiple operating systems, and either hard disk drive or solid-state disk drive options.

The HP EliteBook p-series also offers 3-, 6- and 9-cell options for lightweight and extended battery run time, and an HP Long Life Battery option(5) for the highest-achieving notebook battery lifespan on the market. The notebooks also are compatible with the new HP Extended Life Notebook Battery and HP Ultra-Capacity Notebook Battery. With the new HP Ultra-Capacity Notebook battery, the HP EliteBook 8460p can achieve up to 32 hours of battery life.(2)

The new HP EliteBook p-series easily connects to the HP 90W Docking Station or the HP 120W Advanced Docking Station(5) for use with peripherals like a monitor and keyboard, enabling users to have a desktop experience without needing to plug and unplug accessories. In addition, the HP EliteBook p-series offers SRS Premium Sound, which delivers optimized audio settings for voice and multimedia applications.

Smartly designed, productivity-enhancing notebook series
The new HP ProBook 6360b, HP ProBook 6460b and HP ProBook 6560b are ideal choices when smart design, ultimate configurability and business-critical attributes are top priorities.
The HP ProBook b-series sports bead-blast aluminum display enclosures, a magnesium-reinforced ABS chassis and a bottom-case drain that helps protect against accidental minor spills on the keyboard. Other new features include an HP DisplaySafe frame for added panel protection, precision display latches for a more secure fit and a spill-resistant keyboard set in a full aluminum deck for a better look and feel.

Available with 13.3-inch (6360b), 14-inch (6460b) and 15.6-inch (6560b) diagonal HD LED backlit displays,(3) the HP ProBook b-series offers a range of processing options, including second-generation Intel Core i7, i5 and i3 dual-core processors or an Intel Celeron® processor.(4) For businesses looking for simple multimedia functionality, the ProBook b- series offers an optional HD webcam(3, 5) and features a standard Media Card Reader, SRS Premium Sound, discrete launch buttons and a touchpad on/off button.

Stylish with affordable enhanced security for small businesses
The HP ProBook s-series balances business functionality with style and affordability. Designed with small business needs in mind, the HP ProBook 4230s (12.1-inch diagonal), ProBook 4330s (13.3-inch diagonal), ProBook 4430s (14-inch diagonal), ProBook 4530s (15.6-inch diagonal) and ProBook 4730s (17.3-inch diagonal) are available in a stylish yet durable brushed-aluminum finish in metallic gray color. The HP ProBook s-series offers second-generation Intel Core i7, i5 and i3 processors for high performance and advanced processing speed or an Intel Celeron processor.(4)

Additionally, HP ProBook s-series notebooks are optimized for business and home multimedia usage. The ProBook s-series includes a spill- resistant keyboard set in a full aluminum deck, touchpad with gestures supported, integrated HD webcam(3) with optional dual-array microphones(5) and SRS Premium Sound. The series also includes a choice between Power Express Switchable Graphics (6) and Integrated Graphics, and offers a productivity suite including USB 3.0, standard media card reader and a fingerprint reader.

HP Professional Innovations
HP is focused on innovations that enhance productivity and simplify how people use technology.

The latest version of HP QuickWeb(7) builds on the premise that users have a need to get online fast – without waiting for long boot times – whether they are browsing the web or using applications such as email and conferencing. The newest version of HP QuickWeb now includes web browser, offline email, video conferencing via Skype and multiple widgets such as weather, stocks and social media apps.

The updated is a single software application that manages integrated mobile broadband connections, as well as reports the status of Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections. It now supports 3G/4G,(8 )Wi-Fi(9) and Ethernet for most networks across Windows® 7, Vista® and XP and has been redesigned to integrate with IT managers can now centrally manage and view mobile broadband usage for client machines with HP mobile broadband modules on their networks. Bluetooth® wireless on a user's mobile phone, paired with face recognition authentication, delivers robust user access to Windows and websites.(10)

HP Power Assistant(11) software extends battery run time while reducing energy consumption through a simple, new user interface. It is an integrated solution that measures and logs reported energy usage by the PC and up to four HP connected monitors (for a total of five screens).(12) Users can now create custom power plans and track energy consumption to meet specific computing needs around the clock.

Pricing and availability(13, 14)
- The HP EliteBook 8460p and 8560p start at $999 and $1099, respectively, and are expected to be available in the United States on March 15.
- The HP ProBook b-series starts at $799 and is expected to be available in the United States on March 15.
- The HP ProBook s-series starts at $579 and is expected to be available in the United States on March 15.

More information about the products, including product specifications and images, is available at