by Christopher Chua
The HP Compaq EliteBook 6930p is HP’s latest 14" thin and light business notebook. It is part of HP's premium EliteBook range of business notebooks that emphasizes mobility, performance and durability.
The EliteBook range is mainly distinguished from HP's regular business notebooks by offering a unique aircraft-grade aluminum shell bonded with a magnesium alloy casing, resulting in a housing that is both rigid and durable. The anodized aluminum finishing means paint chips and scratches will be old news, even though HP’s previous dust-coated 6910p and nc6400’s have proven very durable too.
The 6930p is a direct replacement for the 6910p series notebook. It maintains the same size, weight and dimensions as its predecessor, but otherwise offers a complete refresh internally and externally. The 6930p, being the best-seller among the models in the EliteBook range, is offered in a variety of configurations and my particular unit is configured with the following specifications:
Build and Design
The first thing you'll notice about the 6930p is how good it looks, especially for a corporate notebook, which has traditionally been the last bastion of boring and staid designs. Despite the aluminum finishing, it has not lost its professional luster either. The EliteBook range has certainly redefined the stereotypical look of professional workstations.
The notebook is very well-assembled, like the previous nc6400 and 6910p I've used. It feels very sturdy and solid, but HP should definitely work on improving the weight as it is technically not the lightest 14" around these days. There are no creaks in the casing and it does not flex at all due to the strong aluminum finishing unlike carbon-fiber reinforced plastic used in many rival products. The battery does not wobble and fits snugly. There are no loose fitting parts at all. This is simply one of the most solidly constructed mainstream notebooks in the market.
The 6930p appears thicker than the nc6400 due to thicker rubber feet as can be seen in the picture below, but both chassis have similar dimensions otherwise.
The metal hinges have been redesigned and they are now extremely tight. They are in fact the tightest I've ever felt on a business notebook and I’ve tried just about every other major brand (Thinkpads, Latitudes, Tecras). The screen housing is equally rigid and does not flex nor distort the screen in any way. The screen bezel is attached firmly to the screen with no gaps that allow dust to build up.
The EliteBook range features HP's 3D DriveGuard hard disk protection system which is essentially an accelerometer embedded on the system board coupled with a hard disk enclosure design that prevents damage to the hard disk in a fall.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The 6910p has an awesome keyboard, with no flex, quiet keys and adequate travel. It is one of the most ergonomically-comfortable keyboards. HP maintained the same keyboard design and construction in the 6930p. Although the keys are now less clicky than before, I find them as comfortable to use as its predecessor. Many have criticized HP’s placement of the Home, Page Up, Page Down and End keys, but I do not find this to be a serious issue at all. In fact, I believe the proper placement of FN and CTRL keys are more important and HP has certainly designed this correctly.
The pointstick is responsive and it works, but it still pales in comparison to those found on Thinkpads mainly because the rubber caps are not as comfortable to use. HP changed the color of the rubber caps from blue to black, making them less distinctive than before. The Synaptics touchpad is very responsive and has excellent texture for comfortable usage. The rubber mouse buttons are a nice touch as they feel much better ergonomically than regular hard plastic buttons.
There are touch sensitive buttons along the top of the keyboard for HP Info centre, Wireless, Presentation, Mute and Volume buttons. Unlike the ones on the previous models, they are always lit which can get a little distracting in the dark.
A new feature adopted from the 2710p tablet PC is the HP NightLight feature, which is similar to Thinkpad's ThinkLight feature. However, HP's NightLight is neatly tucked into the screen bezel when not in use and a simple push of the button pops the bright white LED light out of the bezel to provide adequate keyboard lighting in the dark. The Nightlight is dimmer than the ThinkLight and as a result keyboard illumination is not as good in the dark.
The nc6400 and 6910p's displays suffered from a slight shimmering issue, but I'm glad to report that this is no longer the case with the 6930p. The matte AUO WXGA+ display is very bright, very clear and has no visible light leakage. Viewing angles are also excellent for a screen of this size. Colors are vivid and it is very bright and evenly-lit despite being a CCFL-backlit display. I really love this beautiful screen.
While I don't recommend the nc6400 nor the 6910p for graphics work, the 6930p certainly has a screen and graphics card good enough to handle graphics tasks on the go.
The stereo speakers are located on the front of the notebook and like its predecessors, are not symmetrically placed but this has not proven to be an issue in regular usage. They are also loud and clear. Bass is poor as expected as in the majority of business notebooks, so it is not an issue here.
Webcam and Microphones
HP offers an optional 2.0 mega pixel web cam with this notebook. It is a standard web cam which works well for video conferencing and is noisy in low light conditions.
The business card reader application bundled with the notebook is really cool and actually works, yielding almost accurate results when tested on a standard US/Australian business card (missing a space in job title "SoftwareDeveloper"). The concept is simple and the genius is in the OCR of the software. The application does not work on non-HP devices as it requires a matching camera hardware ID.
There are two microphones, which are located along the antenna cover strips. The placement isn’t that great since they are not facing you when the screen is opened and can be slightly less sensitive.
more than 100 focused websites providing quick access to a deep store of
news, advice and analysis about the technologies, products and processes crucial
to the jobs of IT pros.
All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2000 - 2013, TechTarget | Read our Privacy Statement