HP Compaq EliteBook 6930p review

The EliteBook blends business practicality with brushed aluminium style with surprising success

5
Price when reviewed 
857
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Back when Dell's Latitude D630 ruled the business laptop roost, there wasn't much in the way of competition. Until, that is, HP's sterling 14.1in Compaq 6910p waded boldly into the fray.

Now the 6910p has gone back to HP Compaq' R&D labs and emerged resplendent as the new Elitebook 6930p. Design-wise it's very similar to its predecessor - no bad thing given the 6910p's all-round excellence - but the dour black and dark grey finish is a distant memory, replaced by a classy brushed-aluminium lid and wristrest.

It's no lightweight stunner, weighing a plump 2.38kg, but it feels made to last and is a delight to use. There's a choice of trackpoint and touchpad for mouse pointing, and its keyboard is one of the best around. The layout is spacious and uncluttered, and great feel goes hand in hand with good layout. If you do a lot of typing in your working day, the HP is a fine ally.

Security is high on the 6930p's agenda, too. Both smartcard and fingerprint readers are built-in as standard and backed by a TPM 1.2 hardware chip. There are plenty of other potentially useful features too, such as a two-megapixel webcam, a 2-in-1 card reader, mini-FireWire and an ExpressCard/54 slot.

The HP's 3D performance is non-existent - no great issue for a business notebook - but the 6930p comprehensively outperforms the rest of the group elsewhere, with its Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 processor combining power and efficiency with aplomb. A score of 1.27 in our benchmarks is impressive, and when you need to stray from the mains socket, the 6930p rewards with 6hrs 39mins of battery life.

Against the very best, the HP's 14.1in display fails to excite, but it's more than ample for its target market. It isn't the punchiest nor the most vibrant display, but the matte panel keeps reflections from overhead office lights at bay. The 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution isn't generous either, but we prefer it to the 1,366 x 768 panels on many of the laptops here, especially for work purposes.

HP Compaq's 6930p is a great laptop for work. There's stiff competition from Lenovo's slightly heavier and less portable T500, but if you're after a business portable that's a good-looking, capable all-rounder, you can't go far wrong.

Warranty

Warranty3 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions332 x 244 x 38mm (WDH)
Weight2.380kg
Travelling weight2.9kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo P8600
Motherboard chipsetIntel GM45/47
RAM capacity2.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free1
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size14.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,280
Resolution screen vertical800
Resolution1280 x 800
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 4500MHD
Graphics card RAM64MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity160GB
Hard disk usable capacity149GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi Travelstar 5K320
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveTSSTcorp TS-L633M
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
Modemyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readerno
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readerno
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetSoundMAX HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating2.0mp
TPMyes
Fingerprint readeryes
Smartcard readeryes
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use6hr 39min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 40min
Overall application benchmark score1.27

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Business 32-bit
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery Partition
Software suppliedHP ProtectTools, HP Disk Sanitizer

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