HP ProBook 6540b review

Price when reviewed

The LED backlit display is equally worthy of praise. Where many manufacturers seem content to saddle larger notebooks with low-resolution panels, the ProBook 6540b wisely combines a 15.6in diagonal with a 1,600 x 900 resolution. The matte finish keeps glare to a minimum under office lights, and the image quality is good. Photos look crisp and lively and, while the viewing angles are a tad narrow, colour reproduction and overall brightness are impressive.

In its pursuit of business laptop greatness, HP has clearly thought long and hard before equipping its ProBooks. The docking connector on the laptop’s underside can interface with HP’s wide range of stations, and there’s a comprehensive array of ports and connectors: four USB 2 ports, mini-FireWire, a 4-in-1 card reader, ExpressCard/54, and D-SUB and DisplayPort outputs. There’s also an elderly RS-232 serial port kept company by a rare 56k modem, presumably intended as an emergency fallback should all other connectivity fail.

HP ProBook 6540b

Wireless connectivity is good, too, with Intel’s entry-level WiFi Link 1000 adapter providing up to 802.11n speeds, and Bluetooth 2.1 present and correct. Those seeking wireless broadband on their business laptop should opt for one of the 3G-equipped variants elsewhere in the ProBook 6540b line-up.

As is typical with HP’s business models, the range of pre-loaded software is generally useful. The decision to employ a 32-bit copy of Windows 7 Professional is odd given the 4GB of installed RAM but, that aside, ProtectTools works with the TPM 1.2 chip to secure data and passwords, and the Disk Sanitizer function is an excellent inclusion for digitally shredding sensitive documents.

The HP ProBook 6540b is by no means inexpensive, but it’s a capable all-round workhorse. It should have enough power for the majority of office functions, its battery will almost last a working day and the 15.6in display is simply superb. With few faults and many features, the ProBook 6540b’s dour exterior can safely be ignored in the knowledge that there’s plenty of class underneath.


Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 371 x 248 x 43mm (WDH)
Weight 2.720kg
Travelling weight 3.2kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-430M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM57 Express
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,600
Resolution screen vertical 900
Resolution 1600 x 900
Graphics chipset Intel HD graphics
Graphics card RAM 32MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 1


Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 298GB
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk WDC WD3200BEKT-60V5T1
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive HP TS-L633N
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0


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) 4
FireWire ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 1
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 yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader yes
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset IDT 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 no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 5hr 32min
Battery life, heavy use 1hr 22min
Overall application benchmark score 1.51
Office application benchmark score 1.40
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.53
Encoding application benchmark score 1.37
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.75
3D performance (crysis) low settings N/A
3D performance setting N/A

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software supplied HP ProtectTools

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