HP Adds Touch, Color to EliteBook, ProBook

The six new systems with their faster Intel i5 and i7 CPUs, touchscreens, and brushed aluminum cases are intended to lure businesses off Windows XP.


HP's First Business Tablet, the EliteBook 2740p

HP has had convertible tablet computers aimed at business users before. But the company offered only pen-based input. The EliteBook 2740p is the first to offer pen input as well as the finger-based multitouch of its consumer TouchSmart models. Its 12-inch, 1280-by-800 display comes in either backlit LED or an optional outdoor-optimized version.


Steel, Magnesium Make EliteBook 2740p 'Business Rugged'

The 3.8-pound 2740p is covered with a stainless steel surface as well as a full magnesium shell that puts the convertible tablet/laptop in the business-rugged class, HP says. The fade-resistant DuraKeys keyboard coating and 3D DriveGuard (PDF), which shuts off the hard drive when it detects a drop, add to the 2740p's durability.

The new model comes with Intel Core i5 or i7 processors in either standard or low-voltage. Expect up to five hours of battery life with a lower-voltage CPU on the standard 6-cell Lithium-ion battery. Users can get a 1/3-pound add-on battery that grants 11 hours of battery life. Starting price: $1599.


HP's Most Petite Business Notebook: EliteBook 2540p

HP's new EliteBook 2540p tips the scales at just 3.4 pounds. It has a 12-inch LED-backlit 1280-by-800 screen, choice of low or standard voltage Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, and room for up to 8 GB of 1333MHz DDR SDRAM. Note: users choosing the faster standard-voltage CPU must sacrifice a DVD drive. In return, they can get a 7200 RPM hard disk drive with up to 500GB of storage space (SSDs with up to 160 GB are also offered.)


Aluminum... With a Platinum Finish

While the 2540p's screen enclosure is made of aluminum, HP insists on calling the color finish the richer-sounding platinum. You can call it "gray." Battery life is four hours with the 3-cell battery, but can be bumped up to 10.5 hours with the 9-cell option. Starting price: $1099.


HP Upgrades ProBooks for Small Business

HP introduced four new notebooks in its lower-end ProBook line, differentiated mostly by screen size. Besides a choice of Intel's new Core i3, i5 or i7 CPUs and up to 8 GB of 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM, the new ProBooks -- such as this 4320s with the 13-inch (1366-x768) screen -- sport new brushed aluminum cases with a choice of two colors. This one is called Bordeaux, though the HP manager introducing it admitted you could just call it "light maroon."

One new feature debuting on ProBooks such as the 15-inch 4520s is the DayStarter. Developed by HP, DayStarter displays appointments copied from the last time Microsoft Outlook calendar was running while Windows 7 is going through bootup. DayStarter will arrive soon on HP's other business notebooks. It augments the QuickWeb feature that lets users surf the Web without booting Windows. These both contrast with Lenovo's strategy of speeding up the booting of Windows.


ProBook 4320's Bigger Brother in 'Caviar'

The ProBook 4420s sports a 14-inch screen. All of the four new ProBooks come with users' choice of Intel HD graphics, or discrete ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4350 graphics, both with 512 MB of gDDR3 video memory. Users can also choose between various flavors of Windows 7 and Vista, as well as SUSE Linux. This differs from the enterprise-oriented EliteBooks, which still offer Windows XP (via downgrade).

Ports-wise, the new ProBooks such as the 17-inch, 1600-by-900 4720s (not shown) come with three USB 2.0 ports (no USB 3.0, yet), as well as an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port for storage. Users can connect to a monitor or TV via either a VGA or HDMI port. Starting weights range between 4.5 pounds for the no-DVD drive 4320s, to 6.8 pounds for the 4720s. Starting price for the new ProBooks: $719.

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