HP Slims Down EliteBooks, ProBooks, Updates With Intel Haswell

Hewlett-Packard has updated its portfolio of business Ultrabooks with Intel Haswell chips and slimmer, more consumer-friendly design cues.

Hewlett-Packard has introduced a new portfolio of business laptops. Understanding that consumer tastes now rule in the enterprise, HP slimmed down the laptops where possible; gave them backlit keyboards and rounded, less-boxy edges; and swapped out the old aluminum exteriors for magnesium covers that receive a four-coat painting process that's said to keep them looking as good during the second year of a deployment as on the day they were purchased.

IT decision makers are "faced with history's most diverse and technically savvy workforce, and their demands for devices that reflect personal style and productivity preferences present a unique business challenge," Enrique Lores, HP's senior vice president and general manager of commercial PCs, said in an Oct. 1 statement.

"HP is leading the transformation of the workplace with innovative and mobile business PCs designed for style but built for security and reliability," he added.

In the lineup of new EliteBooks and ProBooks, the EliteBook 820 G1 does the best job of looking like something a consumer would happily purchase and tote around.

HP slimmed down its EliteBook line considerably—by 40 percent—and shaved 28 percent off the weight. And still they're business-rugged, meeting military specification 810G, meaning they can put up with weather highs and lows, humidity, vibration and some impact, and comes with the option of a slice battery offering 33 hours of work time.

The 820 G features a 12-inch display, and is 35 percent thinner and 18 percent lighter than its predecessor. It weighs less than 3 pounds and, like the others, runs Windows 8.

The 840 G1 features a 14-inch display with the option of touch capabilities, while the 850 G1 offers a 15.6-inch display, the latest Intel architecture and the full HP Client Security portfolio.

HP kept the docking connectors the same so the new Ultrabooks can be used with older docks, and it improved the drop-jaw hinge on the Ethernet port, which is a piece that often breaks off. Now, it's strong enough to support 20 pounds, making it better able to handle constant usage.

For the EliteBook 800 series, HP also introduced HP Sure Start, a "self-healing BIOS solution" exclusive to HP. The solution can detect malware and security attacks and remedy them before the PC user has even noticed the issue.

Sure Start Crisis Recovery Mode immediately and automatically detects the effects of an attack or corruption and replaces the corrupted BIOS Boot Block with a clean copy from the secure memory—all within about 30 seconds," HP said in its statement.

"IT hates to update BIOS information," an HP spokesperson told eWEEK, because any glitch in the power source while the information is updating could wipe out the device entirely. Running Sure Start, he added, "IT would be sweating to see me do this," and he pulled out the power supply. When he put it back in, the system continued on with the process it was performing, no sweat.

HP improved its ProBook 600 series by making the notebooks more customizable, and so more suited to needs and budgets. Among the options is 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) and wireless WAN (WWAN) connectivity, and a choice of HD+ or full-HD displays.

The HP ProBook 640 G1 has a 14-inch display and the choice of an Intel fourth-generation Core i3, i5 or i7 dual-core processor.

The ProBook 645 G1 also has a 14-inch display but runs either an AMD 35W quad-core or dual-core APU. It also has multiple docking options.

The ProBook 650 G1 has a 15.6-inch display and DTS Sound+ for a "crystal clear" audio experience, while the 655 G1 is 19 percent thinner than the previous generation and pairs its 15.6-inch display with AMD Radeon HD 8000G Series graphics.