HP ProBook 4310s review
It might look a little 1980s, but it skilfully blurs the line between business and pleasure
Review Date: 3 Dec 2009
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £550 (£632 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
After laying eyes on HP's ProBook 4310s for the first time, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd travelled back through time to an age when laptops were square and practical, but never particularly pretty. But despite the fact that there's hardly a curve to be found on its chiselled, retro-styled figure, the ProBook 4310s has an eccentric charm all of its own.
It isn't particularly attractive, with a thick-set, glossy black frame that stands 40mm proud of the desk, but the 13.3in display makes it reasonably compact while just tipping over the 2kg mark. It's a shame the battery life isn't better, though; with a little over four hours of light use and 1hr 19mins of heavy use, you'll need to carry it back to the mains on a fairly regular basis.
Get your hands on the ProBook, however, and you might just be pleasantly surprised. The keyboard might look a touch suspect, but it's much better than appearances suggest. The large, square keys have a nice positive action, and the wide spacing between each key helps keep typos to a minimum. Only the trackpad has room for improvement, with the hinged buttons occasionally feeling somewhat awkward under the finger.
The screen gives away the ProBook's more sensible pretensions, as unlike the glossy display of many consumer models, the ProBook has a matte panel. It's a good thing, though, as reflections are kept to a minimum, and despite the slight loss in vibrancy, the HP still made a good fist of our test photos. Reasonably accurate colour reproduction helps keep skintones looking fresh and lifelike, with only the weak contrast disappointing.
The presence of Windows 7 Professional will be welcome for business applications, too. This version adds XP Mode, automatic backup capabilities, and the business-friendly Domain Join features to the standard Home Premium. HP also adds some of its own proprietary software. The ProtectTools suite takes on drive encryption duties, and Disk Sanitizer allows users, or security-conscious IT departments, to wipe a hard disk of sensitive data without any fear of it being undeleted.
For all its seriousness, though, the ProBook has a lighter side. There are both VGA and HDMI ports at the side, and the ATI graphics even allow a little bit of light gaming, despatching our least taxing Crysis test at 39fps. General performance isn't to be sniffed at either, with the 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 7,200rpm hard drive helping to earn the HP a score of 1.03 in our benchmarks.
It might not do quite enough to win an award, but we can't help liking the little ProBook 4310s. It's as comfortable hooked up to an HDTV as it is churning through an Excel spreadsheet, and as a sensible, compact, all-round laptop, it has plenty to offer.
Author: Sasha Muller
Your review mentions that Windows 7 Professional includes XP mode (for enhanced backward software compatibility). I thought that this feature requires a processor with hardware assisted virtualization. The T6570 does not include this feature according to the Intel website. Therefore XP mode should not be available on this laptop - right?
By BinghamStephen on 4 Dec 2009
Fanous last words?
Further to my comment above:
Some intel pages suggest that the T6570 supports virtualisation:
but others suggest the contrary:
well I'm confused... Has anyone actually tried XP mode with a T6570?
By BinghamStephen on 4 Dec 2009
I've tried it and it works perfectly. In fact, the only difference between the seemingly identical T6500 and T6570 processors is that the latter supports Intel VT-x.
One word of warning though. Once you've enabled virtualisation in the BIOS, make sure to completely power off the machine before you start Windows. If you just restart the laptop after making the necessary changes in the BIOS, VT-x won't be enabled.
By SashaMuller on 4 Dec 2009
Thanks for the clarification Sasha. I'm sure I'm not alone in having obscure "technical" 1995-2000 vintage software that I need to keep using. Windows 7 "XP mode" virtualisation does sound very helpful on the face of it, but finding out which hardware supports it is not as straightforward as it should be. Apparently, even if the processor supports virtualisation some BIOS's don't allow it. For example, many recent Sony laptops need a BIOS upgrade to use XP mode it seems.
A couple of further comments:
A useful thing about the HP ProBook range is that they offer what seems to be a comprehensive range of XP drivers and utilities.
Readers might also look at the ProBook 5310m, which is more portable in style than the 4310s and only about £80 more.
By BinghamStephen on 4 Dec 2009
I am interested in the 4320s, but gather there may be issues with the touchpad/integrated buttons. Any comments?
Also, would you recommend the 4320 over the 4310, or vice versa, for general 'productivity' tasks?
By usera on 26 May 2010
- Will the next Windows 8.1 update arrive next month?
- BBC Sport comes to Chromecast
- Those parental-control filters? As few as 4% are signing up
- iPhone 6's Apple logo may light up for notifications
- Apple releases round 4 of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite betas
- Cortana preview headed to Britain in two weeks
- Google unveils Chrome OS update "Athena"
- Piracy warning letters: four strikes and you're not out
- iPhone 6 sapphire display: is Apple cutting costs with composite materials?
- Google admits games with in-app purchases aren't free
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- Hacking the Internet of Things: from smart cars to toilets
- BlackBerry Passport release date, specs, features, and rumours: when is the new BlackBerry coming out?
- What's changing in the computing curriculum
- Teaching kids to code
- Best free translation apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Apple iOS vs Android vs Windows 8 – what's the best compact tablet OS?
- The 11 best tablets of 2014: what’s the best tablet on the market?
- How to free up hard disk space
- Driverless cars: could your next car be driven by a robot?
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?