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This good-looking and durable business ultraportable offers a great combination of speed and battery life. Tailor made for well-heeled business users, HP's EliteBook line is known for its elegant but rugged designs and top-of-the-line components. And unlike with Lenovo's ThinkPad Xs, you get a built-in optical drive. The EliteBook p isn't perfect, but it's one of the best business ultraportables available. While HP recently focused on redesigning its line of notebooks for small businesses, its enterprise-ready line of EliteBooks look the same as before, which is to say the p is still one sleek machine.

The system has a full magnesium alloy casing, which extends to the palm rest, hinges, and chassis on the inside. The surfaces, meanwhile, are made of scratch-resistant anodized aluminum. The overall look is more modern than the latest ThinkPad Xs. At 4 pounds with the six-cell battery, the p is a bit on the heavy side for an ultraporable.

For example, the ThinkPad Xs weighs 3. Then again, the Xs doesn't come with an integrated optical drive, and the p's small size While the six-cell battery jutting out of the back might make it awkward to place inside a larger bag, some might appreciate how it gives them something to hold on to when they carry the laptop with one hand.

The p's spill-resistant keyboard is a contrasting black. At the center of the keyboard is a bumpy, concave pointing stick with matching buttons just beneath the space bar. Additionally, on the palm rest you'll find a traditional touchpad with its own two mouse buttons. The lower right corner of the palm rest houses a fingerprint reader, a feature you'll find on any business notebook worth its salt including the similar Lenovo ThinkPad X Above the keyboard is a row of touch-sensitive LED lights that respond to light taps.

Using these controls, you can turn Wi-Fi on or off, launch your default web browser, open HP's Software Installer more on that later , adjust the volume, or turn off the touchpad. The keys on the p are coated in HP's DuraKey coating, which makes them scratch-resistant and allows for a nice, gritty finish.

We were able to type quickly, matching our all-time best score of 88 words per minute on the Ten Thumbs Typing Test. However, we found the layout to be a little flat, whereas the Xs' keys have a chunkier feel that will appeal to touch typists. While business users will appreciate having a pointing stick, we're not fans of its concave shape. Nevertheless, we could move the cursor across the desktop with relatively subtle movements, and we never felt as if we didn't have control.

The corresponding buttons, which have a rubbery finish, are easy--but not too easy--to press. In fact, we soon came to prefer using the pointing stick to the touchpad, particularly since the touchpad measures a small 2.

After playing a Hulu video clip for 15 minutes, we observed cooler-than-average temperatures on some areas of the p: 86 degrees Fahrenheit on the touchpad, 89 in the center of the keyboard, and 97 on the underside of the notebook the average ultraportable measures 96, 96, and degrees in these locations. However, the notebook's vent was hot--it measured a disturbing degrees. In addition to the magnesium alloy casing, scratch-resistant surfaces, and spill-resistant keyboard, the p was tested in accordance with military specifications MIL-STD G , which includes a drop test from several feet, among others trials.

HP says the notebook can also withstand up to pounds of pressure. Security features include the fingerprint reader, along with a 3D accelerometer that parks the hard drive head in the event of a drop. The p also comes with a host of HP-branded security tools, including HP Spare Key, which helps you get back into the computer if you've forgotten your password, and the Disk and File Sanitizer utilities.

It also has a tray-loading DVD burner built into the left side. Two of the USB ports and the Ethernet jack are located on the back side of the system, which is unusual but allows for a discreet arrangement of cables when back at your desk. It's worth noting that because Ultra-Low Voltage systems like this one have a 1.

The standard-voltage version of this notebook does not have room for an optical drive, and has just two USB ports. The 2-megapixel webcam showed an impressive amount of detail at its highest resolution, although video at that quality was predictably slow. Our VGA video was predictably smoother, whereas both samples exhibited good sound.

Our machine also came loaded with optional HP Business Card Reader software, which uses the webcam to take snapshots of cards and then organizes key pieces of contact information, such as names, titles, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. We held a card in place with our hand and then slowly tipped the notebook's screen forward, observing the blue LED light at the top of the lid.

As it blinked rapidly, we knew we were close to the point at which it would take a snapshot. Once we hit that spot, we heard a tone followed by a snapshot noise. When we looked again at our screen, the program had filled in such applicable fields as e-mail address, title, and phone number. The Although the screen is plenty bright, the colors looked fairly muted.

At least the matte finish allows for versatile viewing angles from the sides and front to some extent. The speaker, located underneath the front side of the notebook, produced acceptable sound. The audio was surprisingly rich. When it came to more bass-heavy songs, such as Jennifer Lopez' "Jenny From the Block," the tinniness became more obvious. Powered by a 2. That smokes the ultraportable category average of 2, Stay tuned for a full review.

The p's relatively small GB hard drive transferred a 4. However, the Xs completed the test at almost the same rate Meanwhile, the p booted in a fast 46 seconds. In our daily use, the low-voltage Core i7 processor was more than fast enough to keep up with us as we jumped between half a dozen open windows, including Internet Explorer 8, where we had open tabs for various blogs, Twitter, Hulu, Slacker, and our Gmail account.

When it came to heavier-duty computing, the p took to transcode a MB video clip using Oxelon Media Converter.

The average ultraportable takes an additional 40 seconds. For an ultraportable, a class of notebooks that rarely claims to be good at gaming, the p offers decent graphics performance. The system's 3DMark06 score of 1, is well above the category average of And with World of Warcraft frame rates of 45 frames per second at x albeit, this rate drops to 8 fps at x , one could do some light gaming on this notebook, particularly if he or she is willing to lower the resolution.

The less expensive ThinkPad Xs achieved a similar 3DMark06 score of 1,, but its max frame rate on World of Warcraft , 23 fps, was much lower. The p's six-cell battery held out for 6 hours and 54 minutes on the LAPTOP battery test, which is much longer than the average ultraportable, which lasts on a charge.

The ThinkPad Xs' six-cell battery lasted on the same test, although its nine-cell battery went for Users can also configure the system with a three-cell battery that sits flush with the system, or a nine-cell battery, which adds nearly an extra pound. HP says that the three-, six-, and nine-cell batteries can last up to 4, 8. The Intel Centrino Advanced-N Click to enlarge We already shared that the p operates more coolly than other notebooks.

It's also more energy efficient, taking just to charge to 80 percent, and to charge fully during this time, it consumed an average of As befits a business notebook, the p comes refreshingly devoid of trialware.

However, HP also bundles a software installer through which you can elect to install many of the programs you'd otherwise expect to find on laptops out of the box, including trials of McAfee security and Microsoft Office, among others. The overall instant-on environment, QuickLook 3, also integrates with Outlook for calendar and e-mail read-only access. To enter QuickWeb, just hold browser launch button as the PC is booting up. From the time we pressed the button, the browser took about 10 seconds to load, and it looks like a pared-down version of Firefox.

Forget about using your usual plug-ins. As the costliest preconfigured p you can choose, this business notebook comes with a three-year warranty, which is fairly standard in the world of business notebooks. The p is customizable online, but there will also be three preconfigured options.

But if you travel frequently on business and want a notebook that can look good while standing up to some abuse, this ultraportable is worth the premium. It also boasts fast performance and will easily last through that cross-country flight. Some may prefer the Lenovo ThinkPad Xs, which offers a bigger GB hard drive and a longer-lasting nine-cell battery for the same price. But if you want a better looking ultraportable with a built in optical drive and instant-on capabilities, the p is the notebook to buy.

Laptop Mag. Home Reviews. Our Verdict This good-looking and durable business ultraportable offers a great combination of speed and battery life.

For Sleek, durable design Core i7 power Long battery life Convenient instant-on software Energy efficient. Against A bit pricey Small hard drive Small touchpad and touch buttons.


Review HP EliteBook 2540p Subnotebook

The EliteBook p is the latest road-warrior ultraportable notebook from HP. The p offers a In our review, we put the new EliteBook through its paces to see how it stacks up against the competition. Build and Design The HP EliteBook p is billed as an ultraportable business notebook, therefore corporations — and many consumers — expect a high quality of materials, excellent features and an innovative design.


HP EliteBook 2540p Review

Elias Plastiras. Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more. Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up. This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on — creating content was super simple. As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess sports mode if you will in between.

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