HP ProBook 4510s Laptop Review Inverness
HP ProBook 4510s Laptop Review
With a new naming convention and a new aesthetic HP for its notebooks, HP is clearly trying to reinvent itself for the business market and judging by this first look at a final production sample ProBook 4510s, it’s not doing a bad job.
As far as looks are concerned the ProBook is a certainly a success. It's finished in glossy black plastic, and the keys are the "Scrabble-tile" arrangement (HP calls it a "chiclet" keyboard) by now familiar on Apple and Sony's notebooks. The keys have a decent amount of travel and the base feels solid: it's easy to get a full head of steam when touch-typing. It's also pleasing to see HP using the whole width of the notebook's base, with the right hand side given to a full number pad, which makes spreadsheets easier to work on. The only downside to the glossy lid is that fingerprints stick all too easily.
Surprisingly, given the consumer-friendly gloss finish on the lid, the screen itself has a matte finish. It's big and readable - the 15.6in panel is bright and sharp, although some will lament the lack of resolution. HP markets the panel as "HD", which is technically true but not actually a big deal for a screen this size – at 1,366 x 768, the desktop can feel constrained at times.
Even browsing the web it gets cramped, and we wouldn't recommend this to anyone looking to get any work done in applications such as Photoshop. HP offers a range of different ProBook models, but none of the 15.6in ones offers greater resolution. For a more accommodating screen you’ll need to opt for the 17.3in version. These offer a similar range of specifications as this one but have larger, 1,600 x 900 screens. On the plus side there's a 2-megapixel webcam integrated into the top of the bezel — an unusual but welcome inclusion on a business laptop.
The lack of resolution is a shame, as the ProBook has a huge amount of power on tap. The processor is a Core 2 Duo P7370 running at 2GHZ, and there's 3GB of RAM to keep everything running smoothly, spread across two SODIMM slots. In our benchmarks it returned an overall score of 1.13, more than enough for everyday office jobs, and sufficient for more creative applications, if only the low screen resolution allowed for it.
There's a similar amount of space for power-hungry applications — the Fujitsu hard disk has a 320GB capacity, with 10GB held over for HP's recovery partition. It's a useful amount of space for applications and large files — again, we found ourselves lamenting the fact that a machine perfect for mobile creative professionals didn't have the screen resolution to match.
Unsurprisingly given the price, the ProBook's HD credentials stop at the screen. The optical drive reads and writes to all the usual suspects, but lacks the ability to read Blu-ray discs.
It performed magnificently in our battery tests. With the processor idling it ran for six and three quarter hours — impressive indeed for a laptop with such a large display. Under strain it was rather less impressive at just 1:52, but even so, under most circumstances you'll probably still see around four hours' worth of battery life from a single charge. It's enough for a lengthy presentation, or for those who find themselves with time to kill, a film.
Most of the usual components are here — Gigabit Ethernet caters for those who want to add the ProBook to their existing office network, while the Intel WiFi Link 5100AGN caters for 802.11a/b/g and draft-n standards. On the front of each side of the ProBook are a pair of USB ports, which should keep most users happy, as well as a VGA port and, unusually, an HDMI port on the left hand side. The VGA port will come in handy for connecting to projectors; the HDMI port for expanding the ProBook's desktop, which could be a excellent way of bypassing the resolution limitations of the display.
Only a few things are missing, although none come as much of a surprise given the price. There isn't a TPM chip, which could prove a security no-no for some companies. We're not too impressed at the lack of a fingerprint reader, either, which would greatly speed up entering login information. Finally, this exact model (product code NA923EA) lacks mobile broadband, although other models in the ProBook range can be specified with HSDPA modules.
We're willing to forgive these minor omissions, though, as HP includes its superb ProtectTools Security Manager. From here, you can choose to encrypt your entire hard disk, or, if you're an administrator, set up the policies that will be in effect on each new notebook. These range from basic aspects of security such as the BIOS password, right up to involved choices such as whether a user is allowed to use the DVD drive or USB ports for mass storage devices. You can also disable Bluetooth.
Additionally, there's an HP Credential Manager, which atones for the lack of a fingerprint reader by usefully gathering your usernames and passwords into one place. Finally, the File Sanitizer gives you a secure way to dispose of data you want lost forever.
There are really no major features missing from the ProBook. At 2.62kg it isn't particularly portable, but on the plus side it offers a lot of power and storage. The screen, while not high-resolution, is a fine example and anyone who's struggled with a laptop keyboard will instantly be at home on the ProBook's solid keys — the number pad is a plus too. Most impressively of all it costs under £700 — and those happy with less power and storage can pick up ProBook's for under £400. These cheaper models still come with HP's impressive range of software tools. Inevitably, systems from the likes of Dell and Lenovo offer incredibly stiff competition, but the ProBook is undeniably fine value for money.
Author: Dave Stevenson