By Johan Keyter 28 June 2010


The HP Probook 4520s is the latest ''built-for-business'' notebook from HP, combining sleek looks with powerful performance features. To top it off it's quite affordable compared to previous models in the range, available from R 7299, close to the same price as its predecessor, the Probook 4510s.
Build quality
At roughly 2.5 kg the Probook 4520s is perfect for the business on the go. Although it's not as thin as the Asus UL30J for example, it still isn't too bulky and shouldn't afford too much trouble to those wishing to carry it around.
The 15.6” LED backlit HD-ready display offers an acceptable display resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels with BrightView, helping it appear crystal clear in all operating conditions. We also experienced minimal screen reflection off the 4520s making it ideal for movies and other multimedia applications. On that note, the 4520s makes for a great movie viewing experience with its wide display and impressive oboard speakers.
Sporting a new brushed-aluminium design with two colour options (caviar and bordeaux), the Probook 4520s feels sturdy and high quality. And if you've ever knocked a cup of coffee over on your notebook you'll be pleased to learn that the new spill-resistant keyboard will help protect key components from minor spills while easing the cleanup process at the same time. The Probook 4520s also features the HP 3D DriveGuard system which helps protects hard drives against sudden impacts.
The model we tested was powered by the Intel Core i3-350M 2.27 GHz processor. Supporting this was 3 GB of DDR3 memory, a 300 GB HDD and a DVD writer. Taking care of graphical needs was an onboard Intel Graphics Media Accelerator HD and consumers have the choice of trading it for a dedicated ATI Radeon Mobility HD 4350 512 MB video card.
Port-wise, the 4520s has you covered with four USB ports plus an eSATA (doubles as a USB port), HDMI, audio and VGA-out ports. Add to this Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless support and you’ll be connected for the foreseeable future. One problem we did experience with the ports was that the frame of the notebook prohibited bulky USB devices such as certain modems from being attached.
Other notable features include a 2MP webcam and mic, multicard reader, ExpressCard slot and a handy fingerprint reader to keep unwanted snoopers from accessing your data. It is also preloaded with a 32-bit version of Windows 7 Professional edition.
Keyboard/touchpad layout
Featuring a full keyboard and dedicated number pad the 4520s’ keyboard is just about as good as one would find in a notebook. Its slightly isolated chiclet-styled keys are responsive and easy to type on and the brushed palmrest makes the entire process much more comfortable.
While the inclusion of the number pad makes the unit slightly wider the advantages far outweighs the compromise, especially in a business laptop the full number pad is frequently essential. 
The touchpad, which blends elegantly into the rest of the design, is also very responsive and easy to use. The two traditional mouse buttons are incorporated into the touchpad itself with no extra keys assigned to them.
One issue came to light with the touchpad though, since it’s positioned slightly to the left your left hand sometimes brushes over it sending your cursor flying to the edges of the desktop. Overall we didn't find this to be a major problem; just something the user gets used to after spending some time with the device. However if you're using a regular computer mouse you can sidestep this problem completely by deactivating the touchpad with two simple taps in the corner of the pad. 
Battery life
The HP Probook 4520s comes with a standard six-cell Li-Ion battery. In testing we found that the battery life is around the three hour mark in normal use (i.e. no gaming). If extended battery life is a priority for you however you can also order the Probook 4520s with an HP nine-cell Li-Ion battery.
With its sleek design and intelligent layout the HP Probook 4520s should prove to be a great business companion. Its aluminium body gives it a reassuring solid feel and the large array of business-centric features should prove to be a selling point with many buyers.
The HP Probook is available from from R7299 incl. VAT.
Sleek notebook with lots of features and very competitive pricing.
Trackpad positioning may slightly interfere with typing and bulkier USB drives may be unable to be connected.

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