HP revamps its business laptop lineup, boosts security and productivity

HP has revamped its corporate and enterprise (C&E) and small and medium business (SMB) laptop lineup with technologies aimed at boosting security, performance and productivity. What’s also appealing about the new machines is the striking precision-engineered industrial design.

The new lineup comprises the HP EliteBook 8460p and 8560p PCs which feature an aerospace-inspired HP DuraCase that passes the Mil Spec 8710G testing specifications for withstanding wear and tear, the ProBook 6360b, 6460b and 6560b which boast an all-new 33.8cm diagonal form factor and new smudge and wear-resistant tungsten-coloured design, and the ProBook s-series (4330s, 4530s and 4730s) which are available in an array of sizes – from ultra-light to desktop replacement.

On the security front, HP ProtectTools are integrated into all of the new machines, helping businesses better protect their assets and data, deploy security patches, and address legislative concerns. In addition, HP ProtectTools enable companies to centrally manage security across both HP and non-HP client PCs.

Starting at 2.1kg and 2.8kg respectively, the HP EliteBook 8460p and 8560p offer 35.6cm and 39.6cm diagonal high-definition (HD) LED-backlit displays. The EliteBook p-series delivers high-end performance with second-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processors and Core i7, i5 and i3 dual-core processors, while offering the choice of UMA or high-performance AMD Radeon HD 6470M discrete graphics with responsive performance and rich media capabilities.

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The laptops 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 a hard disk drive or a higher-performance solid-state disk drive.

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 for the “highest-achieving laptop battery lifespan on the market.” For those people who need even longer battery life, there is also an integrated connector for the new optional HP Extended Life Notebook Battery, and the HP Ultra-Capacity Notebook batteries. With the new HP Ultra-Capacity Notebook battery, the HP EliteBook 8460p can achieve up to a claimed 32 hours of battery life.

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

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In addition to the security and protection provided by HP ProtectTools, the HP ProBook b-series sports bead-blast aluminium 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 aluminium deck for a better look and feel.

Available in 33.8cm (6360b), 35.6cm (6460b) and 39.6cm (6560b) diagonal HD LED screens, the HP ProBook b-series offers a range of processing options, including second-generation Intel Core i7, i5 and i3 dual-core processors and an Intel Celeron processor. For businesses looking for simple multimedia functionality, the ProBook b-series offers an optional HD webcam and features a standard Media Card Reader, SRS Premium Sound, discrete launch buttons and a touchpad on/off button.

Designed with small business needs in mind, the HP ProBook 4330s (33.8cm diagonal), ProBook 4530s (39.6cm diagonal) and ProBook 4730s (43.9cm diagonal) are available in a brushed-aluminium finish in metallic grey colour. The HP ProBook s-series offers Intel’s second-generation Core i7, i5 and i3 processors for high-performance and advanced processing speed or Intel’s Celeron processor.

Additionally, HP ProBook s-series laptops are optimised for business and home multimedia usage. The ProBook s-series includes a spill-resistant keyboard set in a full aluminium deck, touchpad with gestures supported, integrated HD webcam with optional dual-array microphones and SRS Premium Sound. The series also includes a choice between Power Express Switchable Graphics and Integrated Graphics, and offers a productivity suite including USB 3.0, standard Media Card Reader and a Fingerprint Reader.

The latest version of HP QuickWeb 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 e-mail and conferencing. The newest version of HP QuickWeb now includes web browser, offline e-mail, video conferencing via Skype and multiple widgets such as weather, stocks and social media apps.

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

HP Power Assistant software extends battery run time while reducing energy consumption through a new simple 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). Users can now create custom power plans and track energy consumption to meet specific computing needs around the clock.

The HP EliteBook 8460p and 8560p start at £915 (ex. VAT) and £1, 400 (ex. VAT), respectively, and are expected to be available in the UK in April 2011. The HP ProBook b-series starts at £530 (ex. VAT) and is expected to be available in the UK in April. The HP ProBook s-series starts at £430 (ex. VAT) and is expected to be available in UK in April.

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Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.