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Posted: Mar 14 2012, 01:43 AM
Member No.: 31
Joined: 14-March 12
HP¡¯s newest mobile workstation, the HP EliteBook 8560w ($1,579 direct), proves that there¡¯s just no replacement for a fully featured workstation laptop. Plenty of professionals can get by with a standard business laptop, but engineers, architects, and digital artists quickly find that run-of-the-mill just doesn¡¯t cut it. Sometimes you need better, more powerful tools. The HP EliteBook 8560w is packed to the gills with powerful components like a quad-core processor, ISV-certified graphics, and everything you need to keep a system safe and secure, and it takes the top spot among mobile workstations as our new Editors¡¯ Choice.
The EliteBook 8560w has HP¡¯s DuraCase, a durable aluminum skin covering a magnesium alloy chassis, and featuring a smudge-resistant finish. The chiseled good looks of the gunmetal grey belie the fact that this system is built tough, meeting MIL-STD 810G standards for shock, vibration, temperature, and altitude¡ªthe only laptops with more durability are fully rugged systems like the Dell Latitude E6420 XFR ($5,612 direct, 3.5 stars). The EliteBook 8560w is also spill-resistant, complete with a drain in the bottom of the chassis to remove any potentially damaging liquids.
The lid is covered with aluminum, with a hairline brushed finish radiating out in concentric circles from the blue-white glowing HP logo in the center of the lid. The lid is attached with a beefy-looking metal hinge that runs most of the laptop¡¯s length. The hinge holds the screen steady, with little to no flexing even when pressure is put on the lid. Just above the screen, HP includes a 720p webcam. The 15.6-inch widescreen display is no joke either, with 1,920-by-1,080 resolution, LED backlighting, and a matte finish. The backlighting could be just a bit brighter, but it still offered lively colors, deep blacks, and crisp details. The accompanying SRS Premium Sound produces passable audio, but when I turned up the speakers to enjoy some Jimi Hendrix, the sound thinned out at high volume.
The EliteBook 8560w has a full-sized keyboard, with black tile keys and a full numeric pad. The whole thing is backlit, with bright white LEDs and very little light leakage. In the center of the keyboard is a bright orange pointing stick, similar to that seen on the Lenovo W700, but with a bumpy concave surface instead of a textured, rounded nub. Made of a harder rubber, the stick tended to be rather stiff and didn¡¯t adequately grip my fingertip during use, making it one of the few details that fell flat. The touchpad, on the other hand, is a pleasure to use. The glass-surfaced touchpad is 4.25 inches wide. There are three buttons (right, left and a center scrolling button), with a set below the touchpad and above for use with the pointing stick.
The EliteBook 8560w bristles with ports and connectors, with connections for USB 3.0, USB 2.0, eSATA/USB 2.0, and FireWire 400, along with jacks for headphones and microphone and a media-card slot on the front. Connecting to an external monitor or projector is simple with the inclusion of both VGA and a full-sized DisplayPort, and with AMD¡¯s Eyefinity technology, you can connect and run up to five displays at once. You¡¯ll also find an ExpressCard/54 slot for expanding your hardware capabilities and a case-lock slot that lets you lock the whole thing down when needed.
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