Small, Light and Powerful
Anyone who tells you that you can’t get high performance and long battery life in a small and light package is either lying to you or hasn’t seen HP’s EliteBook 2560p. The computer doesn’t so much balance power with battery life as ignore the compromises that other laptops have to make, but at $1,700, is an expensive proposition for cash-strapped schools.
The silver and black system has a 12.5-inch screen, yet fits into the space of a 12.0-inch system. At 1.1 by 11.9 by 8.9 inches, its 6-cell battery sticks out of the back of the system. There’s also a larger 9-cell battery available as well as a 3-cell power pack that doesn’t take up as much space.
Overall, it’s a nice size for schools with teachers and students able to put the system into a briefcase and still have lots of room left over for the accoutrement of education. It has a press-to-open latch and a large on-off button above the keyboard.
While the system on its own weighs 4.3 pounds, with its AC adapter and power cord, the EB 2560p has a travel weight of 5.1 pounds. It also has a three-prong grounded plug so it might not fit in to older school buildings without an adapter.
With a 2.6GHz Core i5 2540M processor and 4GB of RAM, the system has been set up with performance in mind. There are versions with slower processors that start at $1,099.
The $1,700 version that I took a look at comes with 128GB of ultra rugged solid state flash memory rather than a fragile hard drive. In other words, it takes the weakest part of a computer and makes it one of the toughest. You can order models with up to 500GB hard drives.
For those who have had to replace or repair broken systems all too often, the EB 2560p has your back. On top of a sturdy metal frame and a spill-resistant keyboard, the system has been tested to meet many of the requirements of the Army’s Mil Std 810G requirements for surviving drops, shock,vibration, dust, humidity, altitude and temperature.
Its 12.5-inch display and Intel HD 3000 graphics accelerator with 64MB of dedicated video memory and can grab up to 1.5GB from system memory. This adds up to the ability to show 1,366 by 768 resolution for displaying high definition material. It came with a DVD Super Multi optical drive.
Above is a Web cam as well as dual microphones that can help reduce background noises during videoconferences. By far the most interesting creature comfort that the 2560p has is its LED night light that can illuminate the keys and touchpad. This will be a boon to teachers who have had to work by the stray light from a classroom projector. It casts a bluish light that’s more than enough to work by.
It’s also about as secure as a notebook gets these days with a Total Protection Module (TPM) and a slew of ProtectTools programs for things like disk encryption. The system has a fingerprint reader and SmartCard scanner.
With 19.2mm keys, the system’s keyboard is good for either kids or grown-ups. It has both a pointing stick in the center of the keyboard, a large touchpad below as well as actuation buttons for each.
The system’s assortment of connectors is a mix of old and new, including 3 for plugging in USB devices (one of which is shared with an e-SATA connection). It does without recent additions, like USB 3.0 and HDMI, though. There’s the choie of either using the VGA or DisplayPort for connecting an external monitor or projector as well as an ExpressCard slot and a flash card reader that works with SD and MMC cards.
Wired or wireless, the EB2560p can get and stay online with Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth. Its WiFi can work with 802.11a, b, g and n networks and had an adequate range of 90-feet. It’s a blast from the past with what has to be one of the last notebooks with an old school modem for dialing in to a server over phone lines.
It all adds up to a top performing notebook that scored a 1,441 on the Performance 7.0 series of benchmark tests, or roughly twice the potential of most mid-range systems and three-times the output of the typical netbook or tablet. More to the point, the 5,600 milliamp-hour battery ran for 5 hours and 50 minutes, double the run time of its competitors, making it that rare system that excels in both categories without compromises.
Plus, its battery pack has a surprise. On the bottom it has a four element battery gauge so that you can see how much capacity remains without turning the system on. I wish more notebooks would use this simple and inexpensive device.
Like other EliteBooks, the 2560p comes with Windows Professional and a three year warranty on the system; the battery is covered for just 1 year, though. For most computers this is worth at least $150.
The EB2560p is well-built, exceptionally well-equipped and built to take a daily beating, but at $1,200 – the cost of two midrange systems – it will stretch the budget of even the best financed school these days.
+ Small and light
+ Excellent performance and battery life
+ Rugged design
+ Battery gauge
+ Keyboard light
+ Three-year warranty
- No USB 3.0 or HDMI