Performance and Benchmarks
System performance on the HP ProBook 4520s is very good with the newer 2010 Intel Core processor lineup. HP offers preconfigured models with the Intel Core i3 350M processor as well as the Intel Core i5 430M, which is included in our review unit. If you take the route of going custom, HP lets you chose from a much larger range of processors up to the 2.66GHz Core i7 620M as well as ATI Radeon 4350 dedicated graphics.
Compared to the previous ProBook 4510s we reviewed with the same listing price the 4520 improved in many ways. The newer Intel GMA HD graphics increased 3D performance and the newer processor is much faster than the old Core 2 Duo seen in the past model. We saw gains of over 30% in some overall system benchmarks such as PCMark05. Multimedia playback on the 4520s is very good, handling downloaded HD movies without a problem. HD Flash playback on sites such as YouTube played without any stutter or lag, and with the HDMI-out port this system could easily pull double duty as a multimedia hub.
One area we enjoyed seeing on the new 4520s is the included 7200RPM drive as standard whereas the older 4510s of the same price used a slower 5400RPM drive. While it might not be as fast as the latest SSD, it helps keep application load times down and increases responsiveness of the operating system.
wPrime processor comparison results (lower scores mean better performance):
PCMark05 measures overall system performance (higher scores mean better performance):
3DMark06 measures video and gaming performance (higher scores mean better performance):
CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance results:
Heat and Noise
The HP ProBook performed exceptionally well in our thermal tests, keeping case temperatures well within our comfortable range. Under a full load the system barely broke a sweat with a peak recorded body temperature of 81 degrees Fahrenheit on the top and 89 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom. During this time system noise levels were very reasonable and a hair above ambient levels.
The HP ProBook 4520s comes with a 47Wh 6-cell battery standard, but for the same price the older 4510s configuration gave you a 63Wh 8-cell battery. This difference kept the 4520s from achieving the same battery life as the previous model. In our battery test with the screen brightness reduced to 70%, wireless active and refreshing a webpage every 60 seconds, and Windows 7 on the Balanced profile the notebook only stayed on for 4 hours and 18 minutes. This is less than the $749 configuration of the 4510s which stayed on for 5 hours and 10 minutes.
The HP ProBook 4520s offers many improvements from the previous Core 2 Duo-based 4510s. The metal exterior cladding improves looks over the older plastic finish and gives the body a stronger feel. Inside, the brushed metal surface is used above and below the keyboard. Another change is the Synaptics ClickPad which offers a spacious flush-mount touch surface at the expense of integrating the left and right mouse buttons. Looks are improved but in use we found the all-in-one touchpad surface to cause problems with resting fingers on the touchpad surface over the buttons.
Overall the 4520s brings huge improvements in the looks department from the older model with equally big performance increases with the new 2010 Intel Core processors. The Intel Core i5 processor in the 4520s performed very well in our tests, offering improvements of more than 30% over the previous model. If you are in the market for a small-business rig the ProBook 4520s is worth checking out, but spring for the larger battery if you plan on traveling.
Software & Support
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
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