HP ProBook 4520s Review

The HP ProBook 4520s is aimed at small and medium businesses. This 15.6 inch laptop is the successor to the ProBook 4510s. While its predecessor had Intel Core 2 Duo processors, the new model is available with your choice of a Core i3, i5 and i7 processors.

Our HP ProBook 4520s Specifications:

Processor: Intel Core i5 430M Processor (2.26GHz, 3MB cache)
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (32-bit)
Display: 15.6-inch LED-backlit anti-glare HD display (1366 x 768)
Graphics: Intel GMA HD Integrated Graphics
Memory: 4GB DDR2 800MHz RAM
Hard drive: 320GB 7200RPM HDD
Battery: 6-cell 47Whr battery

Price as configured: $749

Build and Design
The new HP ProBook 4520s features a semi-rugged case design with brushed metal lid which appears more durable than the plastic lid on the 4510s. The bottom of the notebook has no access panels for user-replaceable parts. So upgrading this machine down the line may be a bit of a hassle. Build quality is excellent. The notebook looks and feels solid in your hands.

Display
The ProBook 4520s has a 15.6 inch anti-glare display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The display features good color and contrast and the matte finish makes it easier to read outdoors. Horizontal viewing angles are excellent, but vertical viewing angles are average.

Keyboard and Touchpad
The HP ProBook 4520s has a full-size chiclet style keyboard. There is good spacing between the keys. Another major plus is the dedicated number pad which will come in handy if you use your computer for data entry. The keyboard shows barely any flex at all and the keys provide nice tactile feedback.

The Synaptics touchpad has a button-less design. It shows good sensitivity and is easy to use. But the button-less layout has its share of drawbacks. This arrangement may also require some getting used to.

Ports and Features
Port selection is satisfactory. There are 3 USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA/USB combo port, VGA, HDMI-output, LAN and audio jacks. There is also an ExpressCard/34 slot and SDHC-card reader for expansion.

Performance and Benchmarks
The ProBook 4520s features Intel Core series processors which offer good performance. HP offers pre-configured models with the Intel Core i3 350M processor and the Intel Core i5 430M. Custom configurations with up to the 2.66GHz Core i7 620M and ATI Radeon 4350 dedicated graphics are also possible.

The 4520s offers significantly better performance than the 4510s in many respects. The new Core i5 processor is much faster than the Core 2 Duo seen in the previous model. Graphics performance has also improved. The machine can easily handle HD video content. The 4520s has a faster 7200rpm hard drive as against the slower 5400rpm hard drive seen on the 4510s. Agreed, it isn’t as fast as the latest SSDs, but it does manage to reduce application load times.

Heat and Noise
Heat and noise levels are well within normal limits. The laptop is quite lap-friendly.

Battery Life
The ProBook 4520s comes standard with a 47Wh 6-cell battery. It gets a little over 4 hours of battery life. It is worth pointing out that the 4510s with its 63Wh 8-cell battery gets over 5 hours.

Conclusion
The HP ProBook 4520s is definitely worth considering if you are in the market for a portable business laptop. It is affordable and is significantly better than its predecessor in both looks and performance. The button-free touchpad, however, badly needs some refinement. You may also want to invest in a larger battery if you travel a lot.

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