Review: HP EliteBook 2560p

The future of HP’s personal computer unit may remain uncertain since the departure of Leo Apotheker earlier this month, but that hasn’t stopped the company from pushing models of its PC offerings, like the EliteBook 2560p.

On the face of it, the EliteBook2560p actually appears to be a compact and powerful laptop from HP, with a selection box of features and a form factor attractive for many businesspeople:  The machine boasts a very portable 12.5 inch screen, and like so many of its current laptop kin, the EliteBook sports a chiclet keyboard reminiscent of a Mac keyboard, which may be a ‘Marmite moment’ for prospective buyers.

Under the bonnet, the EliteBook 2560p is powered by a 2nd Generation i5-2540M processor from Intel and 4GB of DDR3 RAM, giving it the sort of punchy performance you’d expect from modern business laptops. While most of the EliteBook options feature a traditional hard disk drive, HP does offer a solid state drive for users looking to spend an extra wad of cash on the device. HP has also thrown in a couple of extra security features in the form of a fingerprint reader and face recognition, which is nice if you’re more than a little paranoid.

There’s also a fair mix of connectivity options too, though the lack of a USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports begins to point to the fact the EliteBook isn’t quite the shining example of a superior portable business laptop its scratch-resistant, sleek, grey chassis would suggest…

Although on the face of it the EliteBook 2560p may give the impression of premium quality and workmanship, and its footprint may allude to high portability, make no mistake – this particular laptop is plasticky, far from sturdy, and is heavy enough to be an effective counterweight to Big Ben.

The small form factor created by the compact screen and keyboard layout may say ‘easily luggable’, but the battery juts out of the back of the machine by an inch or so, making the EliteBook 2560p look and feel unbalanced. At a time when so-called ‘ultra-books’ with super slim profiles are beginning to roll out into the laptop sector – following the likes of Apple’s MacBook Air – the EliteBook feels old hat and more than a little dated.

It’s also a heavy machine, which given its size came as quite a surprise and added further weight (sorry!) to the disappointment we felt towards the EliteBook 2560p.

And you know what feature underlines how poor the device is? It’s the tiny LED light sat beside the integrated webcam – apparently it’s there as a keyboard light, enabling users to work in low light conditions. However the fact remains it’s a poor man’s substitute for true premium functionality (a back-lit keyboard) which barely lit the keys to a satisfactory standard.

What we’re left with then is a machine that should be a portable powerhouse (and it is, under the hood), but is ultimately let down but its big bum, cheap feeling case, aging connectivity, and an LED light that’s the equivalent of taping up the corner of a pair of glasses when an arm has fallen off.

 

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