The modern world of business PCs has been shaken up over the last year as Ultrabooks and convertible notebook hybrid tablets have flooded the market. But what if you're just looking for a powerful-yet-portable business laptop? The HP EliteBook 2570p might be the perfect solution for you. It's not the newest or sexiest Windows PC, but the 2570p is mighty appealing if you're an IT guy looking for a relatively rugged solution for a mobile workforce.
Build and Design
The 12.5-inch 2570p is an evolutionary update to the 2560p designed for traveling business professionals. The 2570p was the smallest full-featured notebook in the EliteBook family (only recently bested by the 11.6-inch Elitebook 2170p) and thanks to HP's DuraCase technology this notebook will survive bangs, scratches, bumps, and falls that would usually result in display cracks, broken hinges, and hard drive data loss.
The chassis has a hard magnesium alloy as a sturdy support structure and is made to protect the top and bottom of the notebook against the elements. The display is layered in magnesium and then covered in an anodized aluminum sheet. HP points out that this construction is "50 percent stronger than magnesium alone."
The palmrests are brushed with an aluminum finish that helps prevent against scratches, and the display's hinges are made of metal alloy with steel pin axels. HP has tested the hinges withstanding power, stating that the notebook can be opened and closed ten times every day for a total of six years or 25,000 cycles. It's quite impressive that the notebook still weighs in at 3.68 pounds with all of this added material and layering.
When pressing down in the middle of the keyboard, the notebook does not flex under pressure; nor do the palmrests. The display lid is similarly firm even though the outside screen surrounds are plastic. The entire bottom outside casing is also plastic but doesn't feel poorly constructed.
The design hasn't changed much from last year--it's still covered in black and silver accents and carries a very professional look without being too bland. Simply put, the silver against black color scheme creates a nice contrast without being outlandish. The surfaces are also smooth and feel great.
Overall, the build is exceptional and strong and the design is pleasing to the eyes. I have confidence that it will withstand years of bumps, bruises and the occasional mishap. Speaking of mishaps, the 2570p has a shock-mounted hard drive (to help prevent data loss in the event of a drop) and the keyboard is spill resistant. Really, there isn't much at all to complain about. Some users might see this laptop as being too bulky compared to modern ultraportables, but the thinkness of the notebook is the price you pay for greater durability as well as serviceability and upgradeability.
Ports and Features
The 2570p is one of the very few 12.5-inch notebooks in the market with an integrated optical drive. Our review model came equipped with a DVD+/-RW SuperMulti optical drive, although a simple DVD-ROM or weight-saving module are also available. The port selection the notebook is quite extensive. Since this is meant to be primarily a travel/business notebook, it doesn't have HDMI. What it does have is three USB ports (including a USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and an eSATA/USB 3.0 combo port), a Smart Card reader, ExpressCard/34, SD/MMC, DisplayPort, VGA, and a lock slot.
Front: three speaker grilles
Back: VGA, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 (one for charging mobile devices)
Left: a/c power, Ethernet, Smart Card reader
Right: ExpressCard/34, SD/MMC combo, headphones jack, DisplayPort, eSATA/USB 3.0 combo, dock connector, exhaust vent, lock slot
Screen and Speakers
The HP EliteBook 2560p has a 12.5-inch HD anti-glare 720p (1366x768) display with LED backlighting. There aren't any upgrade options for the display. The display is of a lower resolution, but then again not many people will be photo/video editing or extensive work where a better resolution is needed while away from the desk, so the lower resolution shouldn't be a determining factor.
Head-on at full brightness, the details of the display appear good enough for getting regular work tasks done. The horizontal viewing angles aren't that good, however, and start to distort images about 5-10 degrees off-center. The vertical viewing angles are much better; images don't begin to distort until about 25 degrees off center.
The contrast ratio is average to low--we measured it at 196:1 with a peak luminance of 149 nits in the center. This notebook displays acceptable color contrast for what it will primarily be used for.
The 2570p has three speaker grilles, located on the front of the notebook. The audio is above average for a notebook of this size with a good range of volume at the high, middle and low levels. At a high volume the 2570p should be able to project audio out adequately for a presentation or training. At high levels the audio still sounds clear without sounding muffled or distorted.
Although, we had a few problems with the the location of the speakers. When the speakers are set on the front edge of the notebook instead of near the top of the keyboard, sound doesn't reach the ears as well because the audio doesn't project outward as it should. The placement also allowed me to feel the audio being played on the palmrests at higher volume levels. It's extremely distracting to feel the vibrations of the speakers when audio is playing; even in the middle volume range the speakers create subtle but noticeable vibrations through the palmrests.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The HP EliteBook 2570p has the same Chiclet-style keyboard as the 2560p. There is extra spacing between the keys to help with key flow and travel. The keys are flat and have a textured feel to them. Key travel and throw are excellent; it's generally very easy to type with and is a quite comfortable experience. The support structure in the chassis prevents the keyboard from flexing under heavy typing pressure.
If you're interested in typing in a dark room there is a keyboard light located above the display; click the lightbulb button once to open it. It's small and not particularly bright, but it does help you see the keyboard in dark places. Other features include a pointstick in the center of the keyboard, Wi-Fi, browser launch and mute quick keys in the upper-right, and a fingerprint reader on the bottom-right.
The only complaint I have about the keyboard is that the page up, page down, end, and home keys are set on the up/down and left/right arrows. Users must press the function key to use them, which may be a turn-off for frequent users of them.
The Synaptics touchpad is quite small--meaning if you want to move the cursor from one end of the screen to the other, it'll take more time than it usually does (even if the pointer speed is set to very fast). The surface of the touchpad is very smooth and creates an enjoyable experience that will still be enjoyable even when there's moisture on your fingers. The size of the touchpad is an issue, but if you turn the pointer speed up it shouldn't be a big issue. That being said, the touchpad is above average for notebooks of this size because of its texture; it improves its ease of use.
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