- Excellent build quality
- Solid performance in its class
- Good backlit keyboard
- Limited configuration options
- Gets warmer than expected
- Good, but not great battery life
The ProBook 5330m is an attractive business notebook with excellent durability and performance at a low price.
The HP ProBook line of business notebooks has always attempted the meet the needs of businesses and consumers alike. The new HP ProBook 5330m looks like the perfect solution if you want a powerful, aluminum-wrapped laptop for work and play but can’t afford a MacBook Pro. Is it possible to find a lust-worthy business laptop for $899 or less? Keep reading to find out.
Build and Design
Let’s be honest. Anyone who thinks the new HP ProBook 5330m wasn’t designed to directly compete with the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro is likely suffering from some type of delusion. The 13.3-inch ProBook 5330m combines all the aluminum-clad beauty of the MacBook Pro with the Windows-based business features of the HP Elitebook laptops.
The 5330m is less than 1-inch thin (if you don’t count the rubber feet on the bottom of the notebook), features a dual-tone color scheme, brushed aluminum chassis and backlit keyboard and is HP’s first business notebook to offer “Beats Audio” with software-enhanced audio playback over the built-in speakers and the earphone jack. The ProBook 5330m features a 13.3-inch anti-glare display (1366×768) and second-generation Intel Core i-series processors, including the dual-core i3 and i5 variants. It does not have an internal optical drive but weighs only 4.0 lbs.
The design is a quantum leap over most of the previous HP ProBook laptops — which are mostly just low-cost alternatives to the enterprise-class HP EliteBook line. The 5330m gives you the durability of aluminum construction combined with an underside made of magnesium alloy and covered in rubberized black paint similar to what you’ll find on the Lenovo ThinkPad line of business-rugged notebooks.
Overall, the build is exceptionally strong for a notebook that has a starting price of just $799. At first glance the build and design has a lot of drool-worthy elements for both IT geeks and average computer users. Of course, you can’t have everything on a budget.
Ports and Features
Most notebooks designed for business have an impressive array of ports so you can connect your laptop to any number of devices. Unfortunately, HP didn’t include that many ports since the ProBook 5330m was designed for budget-conscious businesses and consumers. Of course, you also don’t get a built-in DVD drive. What you do get are two USB 2.0 ports (three if you count the eSATA/USB 2.0 port), Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, an SD card reader and a headset jack.
Gone are the days of ExpressCard expansion slots, FireWire or dedicated microphone and headphone jacks. HP decided to offer HDMI on the 5330m rather than DisplayPort since more consumers will likely connect their notebook to consumer-grade monitors or HDTVs. The only connection I’m disappointed isn’t here is a USB 3.0 port. USB 3.0 is the new USB standard and we’re seeing more and more external storage and accessories take advantage of the faster speeds offered by this port. I understand that HP was aiming for a street price of $899 or less, but this 5330m should have come with USB 3.0.
Back: Screen hinges
Left: Security lock slot, VGA, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, HDMI and SD card slot
Right: Audio jack, USB 2.0 x 2, Ethernet, power jack