The EliteBook, ProBook b-series, and ProBook s-series

HP has divided their enterprise machines into three different lines. In descending order, they are the EliteBook p-series, the ProBook b-series, and the ProBook s-series. All of the features mentioned on the previous page are integrated into each of these lines, so it's largely a matter of market segmentation.

The EliteBook p-series

HP's big daddy line is the EliteBook p-series. These notebooks will be available in 14-inch and 15.6-inch models.

HP was quite proud to show these off and to be fair, they're mighty attractive. The major differentiators here are a silver outer shell with increased durability inside, designed to be as rugged and durable as possible. Perks include a chemically-strengthened glass touchpad designed to be simultaneously more comfortable and more wear-resistant along with support for HP's Ultra-Capacity notebook battery slate, which HP rates at offering the 14-inch model up to a staggering 32 hours of battery life.

The p-series will come equipped with the new Sandy Bridge processors, but graphics support is somewhat disappointing, topping out at just the AMD Radeon HD 6470M. The 6470M has just 160 stream processors and support for GDDR5, making it feel a bit anemic for such a premium line, but AMD has apparently introduced technology comparable to NVIDIA's Optimus that enables switching between the Sandy Bridge IGP and the dedicated AMD graphics. We hope to get a look at this in the near future.

The EliteBook notebooks start at $999.

The ProBook b-series

Stepping down to the ProBook b-series means moving to a slightly less rugged but still durable shell colored in a gunmetal shade of gray. You still get most of the perks, but HP hasn't announced availability of discrete graphics options for these notebooks. These can be ordered with processors ranging from the top-end Core i7 Sandy Bridge chips down to the lowly Celerons.

HP's ProBook b-series will start at $799 and will be available in 13.3-inch, 14-inch, and 15.6-inch form factors.

The ProBook s-series

One would be tempted to call the s-series the budget line of the bunch, but that's not entirely fair. These notebooks include many of the same design perks of the b-series and EliteBooks, with the primary differentiators seeming to be the latches on the lids and a slightly less generous port selection (upon inspection these looked to be missing FireWire and ExpressCard ports).

The flipside is that HP will be offering discrete graphics in these notebooks, though they haven't announced yet which models will be available except to say they'll be AMD Radeons. They'll also run a larger gamut of sizes, being available in 13.3-inch, 14-inch, 15.6-inch, and 17.3-inch models. Overseas there will be an additional 12.1-inch model, though unfortunately it doesn't look like we'll get to enjoy it in the states. Sales of ultraportables out here are fairly low while the Asian markets tend to eat them up and forego the larger desktop replacement models.

HP's ProBook s-series will start at $579.

Coming in March: HP Updates in a Big Way Conclusion: Back, in Style
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  • chiddy - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    Also very interested if updated line will include W series, IPS, W/Station graphics etc.
  • mschira - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    All very nice but where are simple stats such as weight etc.
    The look nice, but they also look heavy....
    In particular what would the weight of the 14" elitebook with 32h battery be - that's what it all comes down to in my book.

    So no real number here all just noise, moving on nothing to see.
  • AmdInside - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    I dunno. These look so ugly compared to dells business laptops. Maybe they look better in person.
  • bigd33ns - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    Have you seen the new line of Lattitude and Precision Laptops that's coming in march?

    They are most ugly. They look like consumer laptop with a much more rounded shape. They look really cheap and makes me think of their Studio lineup. I love their current lineup though.

    On Topic, I was also really disapointed by the lack of GPU power. My 8530P currently has an Radeon 3650 which is 2 years older in design but still manages to be comparable. I understand that they won't put a premium GPU in this P line (Thinking about the W line) but I was maybe looking for a Radeon 6550M with good memory. That would have been much better and versatile.

    Also, the move back to AMD is a good one. Since the G8x and G9x fiasco in laptops during the mid-end 2000's I will never ever buy a mobile Nvidia product again.
  • Byte - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    Im in the market for an i7 2xxx series. These look pretty decent. Middle mouse button can be done with two buttons if they are implemented in the drivers, just press both buttons at the same time. There are a few laptops where you can just push them both with one thumb. The easiest is my Dell 1705, what a great notebook, they just don't make em like they use to. All the new don't even have physical buttons. The older DVXXXX series at least had buttons that can be thumbable middle buttoned. Also the newer synaptic drivers remove this function all together so you have to find old driver. I use the middle button as much as I use the right button. This makes using the laptop in bed way easier, if i want to use a mouse, i'd go to my desktop.

    The more i look at the new stuff the more i'm thinking maybe I should just find a used 1705 for around $200ish.
  • LaptopDoc - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    As a retired IBM engineer with a laptop repair business, I am somewhat puzzled as to why nobody seems concerned about HP's failure rate and warranty/service policies. Over 60% of the laptops that come into my shop (last 3 years) have been HPQ. Grated most of these have been retail models (DV, CQ, and G series), but the internal build quality of HP products has certainly gone to hell....but they sure are pretty. A little less attention on marketing hype (ie..Beats commercial) and a bit more on thermal packaging would be appreciated. Most of them, especially the AMD packages, are little furnaces.
  • Taft12 - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    As someone with a laptop repair business and former engineer, how have you not noticed this is true for all low-end consumer laptops for the last few years regardless of brand? They all compete on price only and are equally trash.

    The HP laptops this article is about are nothing like those.
  • mike8675309 - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Please remind HP when they show stuff off like this to you. Sure, the screen size has some impact but if not a proper resolution, who cares how big or small it is?
  • LoneWolf15 - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    "It's fair to say the refreshes HP announced for their consumer computers earlier this month seemed fairly lackluster. While nobody can complain about improved notebook speakers and the triumphant return of dedicated mouse buttons, there wasn't anything else remarkably fresh or exciting about their spring line."

    If the refresh includes reliability, it would be fresh and exciting. I've seen far more reliability issues with HP consumer laptops than, say, Dell's consumer products. Overheat issues, solder joins causing power-on or fan-sensor problems, etc. I can't comment for the business line, (see my bottom question).

    "The bottom panel of the notebook is a single large piece that can be removed by simply squeezing a latch and sliding it off, allowing for easy access to all of the internals. It's such a smart idea that one wonders why we don't see it more often—we'd love to get such a feature on more consumer laptops!"

    Dell's been doing it for a bit on their business Latitudes, and possibly some Vostros. Looks to me like HP might just be using the same builder for some of their new designs.

    One question: Is HP's pricing becoming more competitive? My past two business notebook purchases, I've been able to get both equivalent Dell or Lenovo for cheaper, which ruled out HP from the start.
  • Scipio Africanus - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    The Elitebook line has been very good but just so pricey. My 8530w is just a great machine. I owned its predecessors as well, the 8510p and the nc8430. I'm not too sure about the Mac-y look myself and the graphics card blows. They'll most likely introduce a 8560w which will have hopefully a way better graphics card. They are built like tanks though and I hope this continues.

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