Business-rugged HP EliteBook 8460p Review

The HP EliteBook 8460p's full magnesium alloy chassis

The HP EliteBook 8460p is a beautifully crafted machine with power and durability to match. With its durability, good looks and great performance, could this notebook be any better? The EliteBook systems have been tested to military standards “MIL-STD-810F” and can handle the most hostile environments. The system is put through over 95,000 hours of testing and 50,000 steps of HP’s comprehensive, proven testing program. The program is intended to build solid, more reliable business notebooks, reducing downtime and lowering the total cost of ownership. As a result, the EliteBook is an investment if nothing else, for instance, mechanical tests simulate opening and closing the notebook 10 times every day for six years (25,000 cycles), and seven years of keyboard usage (10 million keystrokes). The Elitebook’s ruggedness includes the following features.

The full magnesium alloy chassis and Anodized aluminum with an attractive brushed finish palm-rest

  • A full magnesium alloy chassis – up to 18 times stronger than PC/ABS plastic – protects both top and bottom of the notebook during rigorous usage.
  • Anodized aluminum with an attractive brushed finish is also used on the palm-rest surface.
  • The newly-improved display latch creates a four-point lock-down for the top and bottom of the notebook when the lid is closed. Reinforced metal pins and hooks help protect the display enclosure from additional vibrations, resulting in better protection against shock and side impacts.
  • Metal alloy hinges with hardened steel pin axles are designed to withstand extensive use.

Intel Core i7 with vPro Technology - with finger print reader visible

The hardware is based on the Intel vPro Technology and includes the new intel second-generation Sandy Bridge CPUs, as well as USB 3.0, upgraded sound options, and HD webcams, but lets take a closer look.

Firstly there’s the Spec, we received the well specced model “LG744ET”.
The spec includes…

 

 

  • 14.0-inch diagonal LED-backlit HD+ anti-glare (1600 x 900 resolution).
  • Intel Core i7 2620M with vPro.
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM – 1333 MHz – upgradable to 16GB.
  • 320 GB – Serial ATA-300 – 7200 rpm with HP 3D DriveGuard protection – a digital accelerometer temporarily halts all data transfer and parks the hard drive when abrupt motion is detected.
  • AMD Radeon™ HD 6470M discrete graphics with 1 GB dedicated video memory.
  • All new design with aluminum display enclosure, magnesium-reinforced chassis, wear-resistant platinum-colored HP DuraFinish, HP DisplaySafe frame, precision aluminum-alloy hinges, cast titanium-alloy display latches, keyboard in full aluminum deck, and chemically strengthened glass touchpad.
  • Easily hot dock with one of the optional HP docking stations.
  • AMD Eyefinity Technology for advanced multi-monitor support.
  • DisplayPort for high-resolution support.
  • SRS Premium Sound optimized for high fidelity audio.
  • Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR.
  • 720p HD webcam.
  • SRS Premium Sound™
  • Windows 7 Professional.
  • TPM 1.2 Embedded Security Chip.
  • HP Fingerprint Sensor,
  • 6-cell Lithium Ion battery with up to 8 hours and 15 minutes. (System Standby Time Up to 1 week)

So, on paper we can see the EliteBook 8460p is quite well equipped, so lets take a look at what actually comes out of the box. When we took the 8460p from its packaging, the first thing we noticed was the extremely solid build quality of they unit, albeit at the sacrifice of a bit of added weight but hey, it its going to be as durable as all the hype suggests, whats a little extra poundage here or there.

The Work Area

Anodized aluminum with an attractive brushed finish palm-rest and solid aluminum-alloy hinges

The new bead-blasted magnesium-aluminum lid, edges, and palm rest, which are resistant to smudges and scratches, seen here, result in a very slick-looking piece of kit with quality to match. Opening the screen the build quality was yet again evident. It’s the precise engineering that is evident when the screen is opened, it doesn’t sway a millimeter on its aluminum-alloy hinges.

The full-sized keyboard with great typing action

The handy little LED light for illuminating the keyboard at night, along with HD webcam and Ambient light sensor

The Supersized touchpad, made from chemically strengthened glass

The black plastic isolated keys aren’t going to win any fashion awards but it’s still a very nice full-sized keyboard with the nicest typing action and tactile response I’ve found in a notebook in a long long time. The half height Function keys also have the usual hot-key controls for volume control, brightness – including turning on the ambient light sensor.

The mute button is one of three round buttons above the main keyboard; the others are to control the Wi-Fi and open a Web browser or to boot HP’s QuickWeb pre-boot shell with Web browser and Skype. I personally prefer a slider for Wi-Fi control or at least an LED to indicate whether it’s on or off. The Keyboard isn’t backlit but there is a Cool LED light next to the Webcam that illuminates the keys in a dark room, it can also be used to read business cards or other documents.

The supersized glass touchpad with scroll zones is ultra-smooth, with just enough texture to stop your fingers slipping. According to HP, it’s made from chemically strengthened glass, similar to the MacBook, and it responds smoothly and fluidly to gestures. It’s complemented by a brushed-aluminum wrist rest (which is also wear-resistant) and it also has a pointing stick, similar to IBM’s ThinkPad range.

There’s a wide choice of scrolling options; at the edges, two fingers, moving your finger in a circle and even changing the direction of scrolling. The two-finger pinch zoom and rotate work well and three finger forward/back and full-screen gestures are more responsive than on many notebooks. You can also adjust palm rejection, which stops the courser darting around the screen as you type. Like the rest of the system, there’s no gimmicks, just features.

Left side - USB3 Ports, Firewire Port, Charger Port, Optical Drive

A Plethora of Ports

Although the Elitebook is slightly heavy, it’s not as heavy as you’d expect considering the  surprisingly large chassis. The cutaway angle of the sides makes it look slimmer from above and all that space is justified with the ports packed into it!

Gigabit Lan, VGA port and Phone line port

The elevated hinge means there’s plenty of room for the VGA and LAN ports, Also, there’s 56k Modem port (Something we haven’t seen on a notebook in a very long time). two USB 2

Right side - eSATA/USB2 port, USB2 Charging port, Display Port

ports (one doubling as eSATA), FireWire, DisplayPort and a smartcard reader to go with the fingerprint reader on the palm rest. There’s also an ExpressCard 54 slot, a SD/MMC card slot, separate headphone and microphone jacks and a Lightscribe DVD burner.

The higher-than-usual spec webcam (up to 720p) has pretty good detail but the image appears quite dark in low light conditions. Wi-Fi n and Bluetooth are included as standard.

The base, basically..

The Battery release and base release along with Docking PortWith base removed, memory, HDD and more are exposed

The removable base

Underneath on the base, there are two release latches. One latch releases the battery and the other releases magnesium alloy casing that covers most of the internal components, giving a unique easy access to change the hard drive or upgrade the memory – we’d love to see this on more notebooks, it’s so handy! Removing the cover also revels the drip tray for the keyboard – carefully isolated from the other components.

Vents on the front and side pump out a gentle stream of warm air from the Sandy Bridge Core i5 but we didn’t find the unit ever got particularly hot. The processor plus 4GB of memory and a fast 7200rpm drive make this a speedy system. The Radeon™ HD 6470M isn’t the fastest mobile video card available and will struggle to live up to the latest games at full resolutions but it is by no means bad. it’s in Passmark’s list of High End video cards and just by making the list, its evidently a decent card and shouldn’t disappoint.

Sublime screen

14.0-inch diagonal LED-backlit HD+ anti-glare (1600 x 900 resolution)

The LED backlit 1600 x 900 screen has an attractive matte finish which results in very few problems with glare. With the ambient light sensor switched on, on a sunny day, the brightness is cranked up until you can comfortably read outside in bright sunlight. Horizontal viewing angles are fairly good but if you tilt the screen too far towards you, it kinda get hard to see. Detail is crisp and clear and contrast is excellent, showing plenty of detail even in dark areas and colours are very accurate.

SRS Sound

Sound quality is pretty good considering that it’s coming out of one speaker on the base and another on the front of the case (and you’ll get less muffled sound if you put the EliteBook on a desk rather than on your lap). Thanks to the SRS audio enhancement there’s reasonable volume and bass and a pretty “rich” overall sound, and high notes doesn’t sound unnecessarily tinny which is normally the case with the small notebook speakers.

Battery Life

With Radeon graphics , Wi-Fi, screen at medium brightness and streaming music or video, the battery life is a slightly disappointing 2.5 hours. Normally i wouldn’t get so upset about this but HP do say that up to 32 hours battery life is possible, but that’s for the SSD model with the ‘ultra-capacity’ battery. Still though, i thought the standard spec battery would be a bit more… special.

Included Software

The bundled software is all business an includes; Office Starter and Norton Internet Security, HP ProtectTools for setting up drive encryption, facial recognition, theft protection and secure file deletion, Power Assistant for power management, Skype and Roxio MyDVD.

 

The End Result

HP EliteBook 8460p is proof that work and play can co-exist and with this system, they do so flawlessly. It is a little heavy though, both in weight and price, but an excellent specification means that this system is an investment. We love the effort that’s been put into the structure of the chassis, you really can feel how rugged it is and the quick release base to gain access to the hard disk and memory, we love that! Battery life isn’t really much to worry about as it’s the type of system that would be ideally used as a desktop replacement but if you were looking to do that extra bit of mobile computing, consider the nine cell battery. With that on board, you have a notebook that really couldn’t be much better.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Business-rugged HP EliteBook 8460p Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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