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Katherine Stevenson Nov 29, 2011

HP Elitebook 2560p

At A Glance

PBJ

Super-sturdy build; great performance for the size; easy upgrading.

PITA

Feels heavy; miserly touchpad; no USB 3.0.

To call HP’s 2560p an “ultraportable” is pushing it. It has a slightly smaller footprint than the Toshiba R830, with a screen size of 12.5 inches, but it’s heavier by more than a pound. With its power brick, you’re looking at more than five pounds, including a battery that protrudes a full inch from the back of the notebook’s body. This is no dainty package.

Of course, it feels like a machine that can take its licks. HP likes to point out that the notebook is designed and tested to meet Mil-Spec standards for drops, temperature shock, and altitude changes, among other stressors.

Nestled within the 2560p’s island keyboard is a pointing stick (a la Lenovo’s ThinkPads), which, along with an additional set of right and left mouse buttons below the spacebar, lets you control the cursor without moving your hands from the keys. It’s a nice feature for folks who roll that way, but if you’re partial to using a touchpad, you might resent how the additional mouse buttons encroach on the pad’s surface area. We also found horizontal and vertical scrolling on the touchpad to be erratic.


Aluminum-alloy hinges, titanium-alloy display latches, and a rubber bumper around the screen are just some of the touches that make the HP 2560p good for rough-and-tumble computing.

In performance, the 2560p is solid. It features a 2.6GHz Intel Core i5-2540M to the Toshiba’s 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-2620M, and the two trade benchmarks win within fairly close proximity, save Premiere Pro, where the HP was 21 percent faster than the Toshiba. Like the Toshiba, the HP features single-channel RAM and thus scored lower than our zero-point in Quake III.

Upgrading the HP 2560p is supremely easy, as the entire underside slides off without removing a single screw. Inside, you’ll find a 2.5-inch drive bay presently occupied by a 160GB SSD, an empty RAM slot, and an open Mini PCIe slot.

Another nice feature is the Elite Premium Support that comes included with the purchase of this notebook. It entitles owners to free 24/7 tech support from a dedicated Elite team, although it’s anyone’s guess what happens to that should HP actually spin off its computer division.

In our battery rundown test, the 2560p lasted four and a half hours playing a video file in a continuous loop. That’s a decent runtime, but a far cry from the Toshiba’s showing.

With its sturdy build, strong performance, and upgrade-friendliness, the HP 2560p is certainly appealing. But when it comes to performance and portability, we’re partial to the Toshiba R830’s lighter carry weight, longer battery life, and lower price.

$1,800, www.hp.com

Specifications
CPU 2.6GHz Intel Core i5-2540M
RAM
4GB DDR3/1333 in single-channel mode
Chipset Intel QM67
Display12.5 inch, 1366x768 LCD
Storage160GB SSD
Optical
DVD burner
Connectivity
VGA, DisplayPort, Ethernet, modem, two USB 2.0, one USB 2.0/eSATA, Express Card slot, headphone/mic, SD/MMC media reader, Bluetooth, 802.11b/g/n, webcam
Lap/Carry
4 lbs, 4.8 oz / 5 lbs, 2.6 oz
BENCHMARKS

Zero Point
Toshiba Portégé R830
Premiere Pro CS3 (sec) 1,260 780 (61.5%)
Photoshop CS3 (sec)
183.6 96.3 (90.7%)
Proshow Producer (sec)
1,533
1,009 (51.9%)
MainConcept (sec)
2,530 1,721 (47.0%)
Quake III (fps)
191.7
134.6 (-29.8%)
Quake 4 (fps)
17 37.2 (118.8%)
Battery Life (min)
240 273 (13.8%)

Our zero-point ultraportable is an HP EliteBook 2540p with a 2.13GHz Intel Core i7-640LM, 4GB of DDR3/1333 RAM, integrated graphics, a 250GB, 5,400rpm hard drive, and Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

THE VERDICT

HP Elitebook 2560p

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