A premium ultraportable that's light on your budget
HP touts the $900 ProBook 5310m as being the world's thinnest full-performance notebook, but its slim form factor doesn't mean limited functionality. The 5310m ultra-portable is burly enough to satisfy demanding business users, and it boasts a price tag that won't blow out your IT department's budget.
The 5310m, which is just .93 inches thick, was built specifically for small- to medium-sized businesses, but it breaks the mold of the blandly colored, chunky business notebooks your employees are probably accustomed to. This HP features a beautiful, black, anodized, brushed-aluminum finish with glossy black accents, augmented by a magnesium base for additional protection. It’s outfitted with a spacious, spill-resistant keyboard that remains comfortable even after entended typing sessions. The multi-touch trackpad offered a little too much resistance to our finger swipes and gestures, but this is far from being a a deal breaker.
Powered by Windows 7 Professional, the 3.79-pound 5310m is equipped with a 2.27GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P9300 processor, 2GB of RAM, and a 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive (mounted using HP’s shock-dampening 3D DriveGuard technology to protect it from minor bumps and short falls). Other highlights include a crisp 13.3-inch LED-backlit display with resolution of 1366 x 768, the aforementioned multi-touch track pad, and DisplayPort. Our system also came equipped with three USB 2.0 ports, a headphone jack, and a 2.0-megapixel webcam with a microphone for video and VoIP calls. There is no optical drive on this machine.
HP claims the $900 configuration we tested offers twice the performance of its $700 ultra-low voltage (ULV) counterpart. The 5310m performed very well in our PCMark Vantage test with a score of 3,908, and it booted into Windows 7 in a relatively fast 51 seconds. It offers more than enough power for business tasks, and can even handle light video and photo editing, as well as video playback, without a hitch. We watched a movie while editing a spreadsheet and surfing the web didn’t detect a hint of sluggishness. Our system's 4-cell battery lasted 3 hours and 33 minutes during a movie run-down test with the display at medium brightness, but HP says the 6-cell battery can achieve about 6.5 hours of battery life.
HP offers its own HP ProtectTools Security Manager software to prevent unauthorized access. You can encrypt data stored on the hard drive, establish pre-boot security, and more. If you decide down the road to donate the system or recycle it to another employee, HP’s Disk Sanitizer will overwrite the hard drive with a series of random binary data to purge it of any sensitive information.
If you're in an airport with a dead cellphone and need to write a quick e-mail, you'll appreciate the ProBook 5310m's QuickLook 3 and QuickWeb instant-boot functionality, which enables you to check appointments and e-mail and get on the Web in seconds. We had to setup an Outlook account before we could view our email and appointments in QuickLook 3, but Yahoo Mail and Gmail users can easily access their information using the QuicKWeb button.
HP's ProBook 5310m delivers solid performance, a gamut of security features, shock-resistant reliability, attractive industrial design, and a price tag that won’t upset the accountants. We like it a lot!
HP ProBook 5310m
Attractive design; strong security and reliability features; reasonable price tag.
Only 3.5 hours of battery life on the four-cell model
2.27GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P9300
Mobile Intel GS45 Express
Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD (integrated)