HP ProBook 5330m review

HP's latest ultra-portable business laptop may look like an Apple-knockoff, but it's a desirable computer in its own right.

22 Sep, 2011
ex VAT
The HP ProBook 5330m would be an excellent ultraportable laptop if only it had the long battery life to go with its sturdy, attractive design and good specification. As such, it's just a good laptop rather than a superb one. If you can live with its comparatively short battery life or just need a fast processor, it's a good alternative to the MacBook Air. If applications performance is entirely unimportant, the considerably cheaper Sony Vaio Y series has longer battery life making it a great budget alternative.

We did a double take when the HP ProBook 5330m first arrived in the IT Pro offices. With its metallic construction and black, backlit keyboard, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the 13in MacBook Pro. Despite the initial similarities, the ProBook isn't just a carbon copy of Apple's ultraportable laptop. For starters, unlike the MacBook Pro, the ProBook doesn't have a built-in optical drive so it weighs just 1.8kg which is light for a laptop with a standard voltage Core i5 processor.

Although the ProBook 5330m appears to be entirely metallic at first glance, only the wrist rest and the lid are actually made out of metal – the rest is plastic. In spite of this, the ProBook feels sturdy and well-made. The rubberized underside stops it sliding around on your desk, although it can also become alarmingly and uncomfortably warm when running demanding applications.

The HP ProBook 5330m

Although the ProBook 5330m appears to be entirely metallic at first glance, only the wrist rest and the lid are actually made out of metal – the rest is plastic.

The backlit keyboard is comfortable to use thanks to the large size of the keys and their firm, responsive feedback and short amount of travel. The only hiccups are the small size of the up and down cursor keys. The return key could also bigger – some may prefer a double height return key to the single row version found here.

The touchpad is smaller than we'd like, but it feels accurate. The multitouch gestures, even basic ones such as two-fingered scrolling, feel jerky and sluggish though. We're not fans of the spongy buttons either – we'd prefer buttons with a much firmer feel.

The 2.5GHz Core i5 2520M processor is paired with 4GB of RAM and performed very well in our benchmarks, scoring 55 overall. It did particularly well in our image editing test with a high score of 81. It should be able to handle most demanding tasks for some time to come. The integrated Intel graphics chip won't be of much help for GPGPU-accelerated applications though – it managed just under 10fps when rendering 3D graphics.



Processor: Intel Core i5 2520M, 2.5GHz

Memory: 4GB 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000

Hard disk: 128GB solid state disk

Display: 13.3in 1,366 x 768, LED-backlit screen

Features: 1.3 megapixel camera, microphone, stereo speakers

Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

Ports: 2 x USB2, 1x eSATA/USB2 combo, 1 x VGA, 1 x HDMI, 1 x SDHC slot, 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo audio socket

Dimensions: 328x226x29mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 1.83kg

Warranty: 1 year onsite warranty

OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Part code: LG724EA#ABU


Image editing 81

Video encoding 53

Multiple apps 48

Overall 55

Light usage battery life – 6h07m


Sleep 0W

Idle 12W

Active 55W