You are probably wondering what makes this HP business ultrabook so special. Apparently, the Special Edition is about 200g lighter than the normal version, or about the weight of a phablet.
On its own, this may not seem like much, but the "special" is significant because the standard edition is already a relative lightweight at 1.2kg. To build this even lighter version, HP used a mix of magnesium-lithium alloy and carbon fibre.
It looks businesslike. The chassis is silver while the bottom of the laptop is black and covered with a grippy soft-touch material. But the hinge above the keyboard is red. It is like pairing dark trousers and dark shoes with colourful socks, which is apparently a thing for fashion-conscious men. Or perhaps I am reading too much into this.
The 12.5-inch screen is the same as in other business machines such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X250. It is not touch-capable. Viewing angles are excellent and the screen resolution is very high at 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. This resolution becomes a problem on the review set as it runs Windows 7, which does not scale well with high-resolution displays. So, icons and text still look small even after a reset to make them appear larger than normal.
But HP offers Windows 8.1 too, and Windows 10 arrives at the end of the month, as a free upgrade.
A new but not unique feature is the pressure-sensitive touchpad. Dubbed ForcePad, this touchpad, which I had tried before on the HP Elite x2 hybrid, detects the pressure exerted by your finger and uses this information for pressure- sensitive gestures.
In practice, it feels as if you are tapping on the table. Because the touchpad hardly depresses when clicked, the laptop actually generates an audible click as a cue.
It takes a while to get the hang of it, though HP has helpfully placed a shortcut to a tutorial on the Windows desktop.
The backlit keyboard has good key travel. However, the function keys are tiny.
Strangely, this laptop does not have an SD card slot. Instead, it has a microSD slot. Included is a dongle with connectors for Ethernet and VGA. You can connect the EliteBook to an optional dock that provides even more expansion ports.
With a solid-state drive, this laptop is responsive. Apps open promptly enough that you may not even notice that it runs on a slower Intel Core M chip. The advantage of this CPU is that it does not require a fan and enables silent operation.
Battery life was shorter than expected at 4hr 40min. This is probably because of HP's bright, high-resolution display. The EliteBook will be available here at the end of the month, with a free leather case and Bluetooth mouse.
• An expensive but portable laptop for the well-heeled executive.
PROCESSOR: Intel Core M-5Y71 (1.2GHz)
GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 5300
SCREEN SIZE: 12.5 inches, 2,560 x 1,440 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, microSD card reader, docking connector port, audio jack
BATTERY: 36 watt-hour
FEATURES: 1 2 3 4 5
DESIGN: 1 2 3 4 5
PERFORMANCE: 1 2 3 4 5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 1 2 3 4 5
BATTERY LIFE: 1 2 3 4 5
OVERALL: 1 2 3 4 5
This article was first published on July 08, 2015.
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