HP's consumer laptops look stylish, so it is no surprise that we're beginning to see a new flair for design in the company's enterprise models as well. With its rounded corners and plenty of brushed aluminium, the ProBook 4530s certainly stands out from other business laptops, but does it sacrifice usability for style? Tom Morgan finds out.
We're used to laptop manufacturers going to great lengths to include as many features as possible in their business models, but styling often goes ignored. It's therefore refreshing to see HP striking a balance between form and function with its ProBook 4530s. With a brushed metal chassis and plenty of smooth curves, it's certainly one of the nicer looking 15.6in laptops we’ve seen recently, but there's still plenty of performance hardware underneath.
With a brushed metal chassis and plenty of smooth curves, the ProBook is certainly one of the nicer looking 15.6in laptops we’ve seen recently.
Although the Intel Core i5-2410m processor is fairly run-of-the-mill for a mid-range laptop, the 2.3GHz clock speed should still be more than enough for most everyday tasks. Each of its two cores can also speed up to 2.9GHz using Turbo Boost for more intensive applications; Hyper-Threading and 4GB of system memory will also help with heavy multitasking in programs such as our multimedia benchmarks. Performance in both the image editing and video encoding tests was very impressive, helping the 4530s achieve an overall score of 52. Most users will see the benefit from this 2D muscle, but unlike many business laptops the ProBook is also quite capable in 3D applications as well.
Unusually for a laptop aimed at business users, the ProBook comes equipped with a dedicated graphics card. AMD's Radeon HD 6490m might not be the most powerful card available, but it still has 1GB of dedicated video memory; this alone should make the laptop much more responsive in graphically heavy tasks compared to a similarly equipped laptop running Intel's integrated graphics. Programs designed to take advantage of GPU acceleration will also benefit, as will anyone that likes their laptop to be capable of a little gaming after hours.
Processor: Intel Core i5-2410M 2.3GHz
Memory: 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics integrated / AMD Radeon HD 6490M dedicated
Hard disk: 640GB
Display: 15.6in 1,366x768, LED-backlit screen
Features: 1.3 megapixel webcam, microphone
Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Ports: 4 x USB2, 1 x 4-in-one card reader, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x ExpressCard/34, 1x 3.5mm headphone output, 1x 3.5mm microphone input
Dimensions: 378x249x33mm (WxDxH)
Warranty: 1 year collect and return warranty
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Product code: LH311EA
Image editing 71
Video encoding 50
Multiple apps 47
Light usage battery life – 5h 35m