HP ProBook 4520S
This ProBook is a behemoth that targets demanding application users rather than gamers
Ratings BreakdownEditor's Rating:
- Value for money:
Card reader: Y
Display adapter: AMD Mobility Radeon HD 530V
Display screen: 15.6-inch
Internal storage: 320GB hard drive
The ProBook 4520s comes from HP's ‘Business Laptop and Tablet PC' line. The company says the machine packs the perfect punch for ‘on-the-go professionals'. Retailing for US $694 the HP won't put an Everest-sized hole in your wallet and, when we examined the machine closely, we found it well specified.
Processing power comes from a 2.4GHz Intel Core i3 370M processor and it is mated to an Intel HM57 core-logic chipset. The notebook has 3GB of DDR3 memory to work with and in terms of graphics firepower, you get an ATI Radeon HD 530V GPU with 512MB of dedicated memory. The GPU passes its output to a 15.6-inch widescreen LCD that runs at a native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels.
Running the notebook through our application benchmarks, it performed as expected. The machine returned scores of 5,324, 3,183, 3,899, 3,717, 5,726, 3,944, 4,199 and 4,006 in our PCMark Vantage PCmark suite, Memories, TV and Movies, Gaming, Music, Communications, Productivity and HDD test suites. The HDD test score is very impressive at 4,006 as it eclipses the numbers put out by several notebooks that we tested recently. The remaining scores are competitive for an i3-based machine with 3GB of memory, so the HP is a reasonably swift everyday machine. Given that the HP isn't targeting gamers, its gaming figures of 25.53fps and 9fps in Street Fighter IV and World in Conflict aren't surprising. That said, the scores are slightly better than the 3D-enabled Acer Aspire 5745DG also reviewed in this issue.
Like the Acer, the HP sports a full-size keyboard that includes a numeric pad. As a result working on the HP doesn't require slim fingers. The trackpad offers precise tracking and great feel and because it offers a reasonably large tracking area, you won't have to up its sensitivity to get the most mileage out of it. The ProBook's 15.6-inch LCD while fairly strong at creating vibrant colours and sharp images suffers from limited viewing angles. The screen lost both brightness and contrast when we moved just slightly off center.
Weighing 2.5kg the ProBook 4520s isn't what you'd call light but is more of a portable machine rather than a desktop replacement. Running our Imtec Battery Mark benchmark on the notebook it managed to stay alive for a mere one hour and 16 minutes. The notebook is outfitted with a 6-cell battery as standard so the battery time was surprisingly short.
While the HP is a value-oriented machine you'd never be able to tell just by looking at it. The glossy screen is surrounded by premium piano black trim and the rest of the notebook is equally stylish, in combination black and silver. The machine's 2-megapixel digital camera was also a nice surprise and captured video with aplomb.