For people who need to use professional, demanding programs on a daily basis a notebook must meet certain criteria – input devices, display and internal components have to be up to scratch.
The HP Elitebook 8560w hits the mark. For $1899 the Elitebook 8560w brings a powerful dualcore i5-2540M backed up by a pixel-crunching AMD FirePro M5950 graphics card. Then there’s a somewhat average 4GB RAM and 500GB hard drive. The display is out of the ordinary, though – the 15″ matt screen features a full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. For an extra $850 the spec can be upgraded to a quadcore processor with NVidia Quadro 2000M graphics card and 8GB RAM, but that’s another story.
The HP Elitebook 8560w is solidly constructed; almost four centimeteres thick and weighing 3.3kg. That bulk makes it stable, at least, and it also looks the part with its elegant, angular, silver plastic and metal surfaces. Check out these HP Elitebook 8560w pictures:
The base models feature an HD+ 1600 x 900 pixel display, but the top models are equipped with full HD 1920 x 1080 screens featuring DreamColor technology for high color fidelity. The LG Philips LED-backlit matte display is adequate for most needs; brightness is excellent at 236 nits and a contrast ratio of 536:1 means vibrant colors. Even vertical viewing angles are impeccable. The sRGB spectrum is pretty well covered though the display falls short of the AdobeRGB standard. An ambient light sensor adjusts brightness automatically with a single button press.
The SRS-enabled speakers offer decent volume but the usual tinny tones.
Port-wise the Elitebook 8560w is most unusual in lacking HDMI output; instead there are VGA and DisplayPort interfaces, two USB-3 and three USB-2 sockets, a card reader, ExpresCard slot, and an eSATA/FireWire port. A docking station and secondary battery can be connected via the interface on the notebook’s underside.
Connectivity comes by means of Intel Advanced N6205 WiFi or Bluetooth 3.0, and of course there’s an Ethernet socket as well as RJ-11 modem.
Security is an important feature on such a high-end notebook – a smart card reader, fingerprint scanner, TPM chip and HD webcam with face recognition should take care of that. Hard drive encryption, passwords and biometrics are all handled by the HP ProtectTools Security Manager. There’s also plenty of bloatware ready-installed. A Driver and Recovery DVD are supplied for re-installing the Windows 7 Professional OS.
The largish keys (15 x 15mm) deliver fast and accurate typing. Obviously as a professional machine a numberpad is present and there are four quick launch keys – WiFi, Volume, Internet and Calculator.
The touchpad is similarly well-designed – generously-proportioned at 110 x 50mm, with a smooth rubber surface for the ultimate in high-precision control. It’s slightly recessed to avoid problems when typing, and is multitouch-enabled with switchable scroll bars. The trio of mouse keys feature excellent travel and feedback. An orange trackpoint is located in the centre of the keyboard for rapid cursor control.
Running the show is a dualcore i5-2430M clocked at 2.6GHz with hyper-threading, giving four parallel threads, although quad-core CPUs are configurable. Optimus switching technology is not available; the 8560w was clearly not designed for ultimate portability, and the hardware runs faster without Optimus.
Performance tests show the processor 6% ahead of the entry quadcore i7-2670QM but falls down in heavily multi-threaded apps; the i7 version is preferable if your software is optimized for it.
Data transfer reaches 92MB/s but upgrading the 7200rpm HDD to an SSD is advisable for improved speeds. Benchmark scores are typical of upper mid-range notebooks, though upgrading to an SSD would improve speeds significantly. Gaming performance is impressive, but current titles such as Battlefield 3 or Skyrim only run smoothly at lowered settings.
The video-looping battery test on max brightness gave one and three-quarter hours service, which is about average for upper mid-rangers, although WiFi surfing of less than 3 hours is hardly acceptable.
Enjoy this HP Elitebook 8560w video with really cool music:
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