HP Compaq EliteBook 6930p review

£857
Price when reviewed

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

Warranty 3 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 332 x 244 x 38mm (WDH)
Weight 2.380kg
Travelling weight 2.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core 2 Duo P8600
Motherboard chipset Intel GM45/47
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 1
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 14.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,280
Resolution screen vertical 800
Resolution 1280 x 800
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 4500MHD
Graphics card RAM 64MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 160GB
Hard disk usable capacity 149GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Hitachi Travelstar 5K320
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive TSSTcorp TS-L633M
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem yes
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 1
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
FireWire ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader no
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset SoundMAX HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge
Hardware volume control? yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 2.0mp
TPM yes
Fingerprint reader yes
Smartcard reader yes
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 6hr 39min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 40min
Overall application benchmark score 1.27

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows Vista Business 32-bit
OS family Windows Vista
Recovery method Recovery Partition
Software supplied HP ProtectTools, HP Disk Sanitizer

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