Heat and Noise
The HP EliteBook 8560p does a fine job of handling the thermal output of its fast processor and dedicated graphics card. Likewise, the cooling fan is generally very quiet as long as you aren't stressing the notebook with complex video encoding or gaming. Under normal daily activities fan noise can barely be heard over the white noise you typically find in an office environment. Heat through the chassis is minimal even under stress thanks to some well-thought-out interior thermal design by HP. The bottom of the notebook gets a little warm after hours of serious use, but exterior temperatures remain mostly "lap friendly." All temperatures shown below are listed in degrees Fahrenheit.
With the Intel Core i7-2620M processor and AMD Radeon HD 6470M graphics our EliteBook delivered reasonably good battery life from the 6-cell (62 WHr) Li-Ion battery but it wasn't as impressive as we expected. In our battery tests with the screen brightness set to 70%, wireless active, and Windows 7 set to the Balanced profile the system stayed on for 5 hours and 28 minutes. This is still plenty of time to watch a movie or two in while traveling with the screen set to a conservative backlight level, but if you are looking for jaw-dropping battery life figures you need to consider the optional 9-cell (100 WHr) Li-Ion battery from HP.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
The HP EliteBook 8560p is a solid update to the EliteBook line of business laptops. The combination of powerful Intel Sandy Bridge processors, a stylish-yet-durable design, and decent battery life make for a very well-balanced business notebook.
My biggest complaints may or may not be a concern for most potential EliteBook buyers. The optional AMD Radeon 6470M graphics is good, but not particularly remarkable when you consider the $1,499 price tag. Given that this is an EliteBook it's reasonable for customers to assume this notebook offers extremely high-end graphics/video performance and we're just not seeing it here. Likewise, the lack of a 1080p screen option is a bit disappointing when competitors are offing full HD screens on their 15-inch notebooks. I was also sad that HP didn't give the 8560p a backlit keyboard or a three-button touchpad.
Again, if none of those quibbles stand out as major problems to you then the new EliteBook 8560p might be the best business notebook for your needs.
Software & Support
* Ratings averaged to produce final score
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