HP EliteBook 8460p Notebook Review

A few months ago we posted our review of the HP ProBook 6360b, the latest addition to HP’s “b” series notebooks and their first in a 13.3″ form factor. Today we’ll be looking at another business-class notebook from HP, the EliteBook 8460p. As its name suggests, this system is a step above the standard business-minded 6360b and as such, it’s billed as a Large Enterprise Business product. The “professional” EliteBook retails for about $300 more than the ProBook, but is that premium worthwhile?

 

Our review unit is armed with an Intel Core i5-2520M operating at 2.50GHz (3.2GHz Turbo Boost), 4GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 memory, a 320GB 7200RPM hard drive, Intel Centrino 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, a removable 6-cell (62WHr) Li-Ion battery, a DVD +/-RW SuperMulti DL optical drive with LightScribe and a 14.0″ LED-backlit HD anti-glare display with a native resolution of 1366 x 768. Graphics are processed using an AMD Radeon HD 6470M with 1GB of dedicated DDR3 memory.

As configured today, our sample machine retails for $1,061.99 at Newegg.

 

The system measures 13.31″ x 9.11″ x 1.25″ (W/D/H) and weighs 4.56lbs, making it slightly thinner than the 6360b but at the same time, nearly half a pound heavier. Even with the decreased thickness, the system is still a little bit fatter than most other recent notebooks we’ve looked at.

At first glance the two business notebooks appear very similar, but there are some pretty obvious differences. Much like the ProBook, the EliteBook features an HP DuraFinish smudge, wear and scratch-resistant coating on the outer shell that will keep the system looking newer for longer.

The color is different as the EliteBook features a platinum paint scheme while the ProBook had a tungsten tint. The same stylized HP logo can be found on the lid. This unit featured an enhanced HP DuraCase which is designed to meet military standards (MIL-STD 810G for drop, vibration, dust, temperature, shock, altitude and high temperature).

On the front of the EliteBook is a push-button style lid latch on the bottom base. The left side has four pin-hole sized LED activity indicators. From left to right: wireless, power, charging and disk activity.

 

 The right side has accommodations for headphones and a microphone, an eSATA/USB combo port, powered USB port, a DisplayPort connector, cooling vents and a Kensington lock slot. On the back of the notebook is a modem jack, VGA-out and a network jack. The aluminum hinge and removable battery are also easily viewable from this vantage point.

The left side shows the power connector, 1394a connector, two USB 3.0 connectors, an SD/MMC card reader, a 54mm ExpressCard slot and the optical drive.

The bottom of the notebook is nearly identical to what we saw on the ProBook, which was pleasing. There are several rubber feet that provide stability and lift, a docking port and secondary battery connector. This notebook also uses the same quick-release access panel, making it easy to get inside for maintenance or upgrades.

 

Under the access panel, we find that there is an additional RAM expansion bay and it looks like the optical drive can be taken out by removing a screw.

We found the speaker placement a bit odd. This EliteBook uses two speakers: one is left of the lid latch near the front of the system while the other is further left of this, near the side of the system by the optical drive tray. We will explore the effects of this later in the review.

 

The six-row chiclet-style keyboard is virtually identical to what’s used on the ProBook. Again, this is a good thing as we really liked the layout and feel of that board. There is no backlight, although HP has included a tiny pop-out keyboard light beside the webcam at the top of the display. It’s a nice gesture but virtually useless.

 

  One key difference, however, is that HP has included a Pointstick and two pick buttons — very similar to Lenovo’s TrackPoint pointing device. Additionally, the touchpad is 0.5″ wider than the ProBook’s and the mouse click buttons retain the same great feel.

In a conference call to discuss the notebook’s features, HP claimed the touchpad was constructed of chemically strengthened glass, but when I pressed for more details, the HP team declined to comment further on the type of chemical or anything else about it.

 

  A fingerprint reader is situated on the right side of the palm rest just under the arrow keys. The 14.0″ LED-backlit HD anti-glare display is surrounded by a black bezel that looks fitting. An integrated webcam is centered above the display with dual microphones on either side of the lens. While we weren’t sent one for testing, there are optional external batteries available that attach to the bottom of the ProBook for extended battery life, including the BB09 Ultra Extended Life battery that claims up to 32 hours of runtime.

Bundled Software and Performance
Our EliteBook shipped with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, although you have the option of selecting lower-level Windows installs during configuration. HP has done a respectable job of not congesting the machine with third-party bloatware. Microsoft Office 2010 comes loaded on the system and users have the option to activate the full version or use Office Starter (you’ll probably want to uninstall the Bing Bar). Roxio burning software is also included, as is PDF Complete Special Edition.Although the ProBook is mostly clear of third-party applications, HP bundles a ton of its own software. I counted no less than 24 HP-specific programs of which HP ProtectTools is the most important. The security suite is meant to be used by enterprises when deploying notebooks to employees, among other things it centralizes security management and aids in the event of password loss or if the machine is stolen.

 

Another software feature, HP QuickWeb allows you access to the Internet, email, contacts and calendar at the touch of a button without having to wait for Windows to load up. This is similar to what we have seen on desktop motherboards for a while now. HP Power Assistant is similar to Lenovo’s Power Manager 3 in that it lets you configure profiles and view power data about the laptop’s usage and battery.

 

  The system takes 1 minute and 2 seconds to boot completely into Windows from a fully powered down state.

We have run our standard suite of benchmark tests on the EliteBook 8460p to give you an idea of how the system performs under load. It’s worth noting that Intel’s Turbo Boost 2 is enabled during testing. Found in second-gen Core series processor, the feature is designed to better manage workloads by dynamically adjusting individual core speeds depending on the processing power is needed.

 

HP EliteBook 8460p System Specs

 

  • 14.0″ LED-backlit HD anti-glare 1366 x 768 display
  • Intel Core i5-2520M (2.5GHz – 3.2GHz, 3MB L3 cache)
  • 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 memory
  • 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6470M
  • 320GB 7200RPM hard drive
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)

 

HP ProBook 6360b System Specs

 

  • 13.3″ HD AG LED SVA 1366 x 768 display
  • Intel Core i5-2410M (2.3GHz – 2.9GHz, 3MB L3 cache)
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Intel HD 3000 Graphics (650MHz – 1.3GHz)
  • Hitachi 320GB 7200RPM hard drive
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)

 

 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 System Specs

 

  • 13.4″ TFT 1366 x 768 display (covered with Corning Gorilla glass)
  • Intel Core i5-2520M (2.5GHz – 3.2GHz, 3MB L3 cache)
  • 4GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Intel HD 3000 Graphics (650MHz – 1.3GHz)
  • Hitachi 320GB 7200RPM hard drive
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)

 

HP Envy 14 (2010) System Specs

 

  • 14.5″ HP Radiance 1600 x 900 display
  • Intel Core i5-450M (2.4GHz – 2.66GHz, 3MB L3 cache)
  • 4GB DDR3 system memory
  • 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650
  • Seagate Momentus 500GB 7200RPM
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)

 

Benchmark Results

 

Synthetic Tests EliteBook 8460p ProBook 6360b ThinkPad X1 Envy 14
3DMark 06
3DMark Score 5029 3DMarks 3951 3DMarks 3750 3DMarks 6866 3DMarks
PCMark Vantage
PCMark Suite 7408 PCMarks 5859 PCMarks 7607 PCMarks 6840 PCMarks

 

Application Tests EliteBook 8460p ProBook 6360b ThinkPad X1 Envy 14
iTunes Encoding Test 01 min 12 sec 01 min 23 sec 01 min 15 sec 01 min 34 sec
File Transfer Test
Small files 1 min 23 sec 1 min 18 sec 1 min 23 sec 01 min 20 sec
Large file 1 min 5 sec 55 sec 1 min 2 sec 1 min 14 sec

The iTunes encoding tests consist of converting 14 MP3s (119MB) to 128Kbps ACC files and measuring the operation’s duration in seconds. For the file transfer test, we measure how long it takes to copy two sets of files from one location to another on the same hard drive. On the small files test we transfer 557 MP3s, totaling 2.56GB. For the large file, these same MP3s were zipped into a single file measuring 2.52GB.

 

Gaming Performance EliteBook 8460p ProBook 6360b ThinkPad X1 Envy 14
Far Cry 2
1024×768 Medium Quality 27.05 FPS 26.23 FPS 26.59 FPS
Native Resolution, High Quality 22.28 FPS 17.95 FPS 17.94 FPS
StarCraft 2
1024×768 Medium Quality 44.70 FPS 14.90 FPS 15.23 FPS
Native Resolution, High Quality 27.78 FPS 10.90 FPS 10.42 FPS
Impressions and Conclusion
In a nutshell, the EliteBook 8460p is a classier, slightly thinner, and faster version of theProBook 6360b that we recently reviewed. At 1.25″ thick, this notebook does not adhere to ultraportable standards, but that means you also get an optical drive and a 54mm ExpressCard slot. Additionally, the system also features two USB 3.0 ports, something we haven’t seen on most notebooks thus far.Our informal YouTube 1080p full screen video test taxed the CPU around 17%. The 4k resolution video test pushed the CPU to around the 80% range. The video feed was smooth at this point, unlike the ProBook’s i5-2410M, which showed a little lag.

Thickness and weight aside, the HP DuraCase chassis looks extremely professional. The 14″ LED-backlit HD anti-glare display is nice if you plan to use the notebook in brightly lit environments. It’s not quite as vibrant as the IPS display we found on Lenovo’s ThinkPad X220, but it’s adequate.

 

The keyboard is virtually identical to the one on the ProBook which I really liked. Backlit keys would have been nice but the chiclet-style keyboard and thoughtful layout are very good. Fans of Lenovo’s TrackPoint will appreciate HP’s version, called Pointstick. The separate touchpad and mouse click buttons are among the best I have used. As a friend that tried the system said, “the touchpad is buttery smooth.”

I conducted our standard notebook battery tests on the EliteBook. Our video playback test consists of looping a 720p rip of one of my favorite movies (Inception) in Windows Media Player at full screen with max brightness and Wi-Fi disabled. This is a taxing test that resulted in 4 hours and 57 minutes of usage — a decent result.

Our endurance test is run with five Firefox windows open with the “Reload Every” add-on refreshing each page every five minutes to simulate real-world browsing. Max screen brightness is used and Wi-Fi is enabled. This test resulted in 4 hours and 37 minutes of life.

These results are about half an hour or so lower than what we saw on the ProBook but factor in the faster processor and it’s right on target.

As with the ProBook, I really liked the tool-less access panel on the bottom of the notebook. This simple feature lets you upgrade your system much quicker and you don’t run the risk of stripping one the zillion screws that other notebooks require you to remove in order to access the same expansion bays.

 

Unlike the ProBook, however, the audio system on the EliteBook is pretty bad. As noted earlier, there are two speakers on the bottom of the notebook. One is on the very bottom left of the system and the other is positioned at a 45-degree angle near where the left mouse button is, meaning it’s still technically on the left side of the system. Having both speakers on one side completely ruins any sense of immersion or stereo sound. Furthermore, the far left speaker is either heavily underpowered or possibly damaged as it barely made any noise.

The EliteBook offers some very nice connectivity options, including two USB 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort connection, 54mm ExpressCard slot, docking station and an optical drive.

The system is quiet during normal usage. It’s only when you put a lot of stress on the CPU that you hear and feel it come to life. It’s not very loud nor does it get hot, but both elements are slightly higher than the ProBook due to the faster processor.

It’s difficult to come away from this review without simply saying that this is a slightly more refined version of the ProBook 6360b. For $300 more, the EliteBook 8460p gives you a faster processor, discrete graphics, a slightly thinner (yet a bit heavier) chassis that looks better, a Pointstick and a great touchpad, two USB 3.0 ports and forgettable speakers.

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