HP ProBook 6560b (LW954PA) business laptop
HP ProBook 6560b review: A solid 15.6in business laptop, but it's not without its problems
- Build quality
- 32-bit Windows
With great build quality and lots of features, the ProBook 6560b should be a winner. However, it's let down by a couple of configuration issues, it's noisy and it's keyboard and touchpad could be better.
Price$ 1,899.00 (AUD)
Around the edges of the ProBook 6560b you'll find a DVD burner, Gigabit Ethernet, five USB 2.0 ports (one doubles as an eSATA port), a mini FireWire port, VGA, DisplayPort, Serial, and microphone and headphone ports. The DVD burner can be replaced with a second hard drive or weight saver (although you'd need to ditch a lot more than the DVD burner to noticeably lower the weight of this model). There is also an ExpressCard/54 slot and an SD card slot. Like the Lenovo ThinkPad T420 business notebook that we reviewed a few months ago, the HP ProBook 6560b doesn't have a USB 3.0 controller.
HP also provides a webcam, 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an integrated 3G modem and SIM card reader. We had a few problems when using the 3G modem with our iiNet Sim card. When it worked, it worked well. However, the 3G modem sometimes failed to initialise properly, even after a numerous system restarts.
Security can be handled by the fingerprint reader that resides just below the keyboard on the right side of the chassis, and it works in conjunction with the installed HP ProtectTools utility software. It can be used not only to log you in to Windows, but also to log you in to Web sites that you use regularly. A TPM chip is embedded and drive encryption is also available.
HP ProBook 6560b: Specifications and performance
On the inside, the HP ProBook 6560b runs a Second Generation Intel Core i7-2620M CPU, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM (with only 2.98GB usable by the system), a Radeon HD 6460M graphics adapter (it uses HyperMemory technology, which dynamically uses up to 1.7GB of system RAM) and a 500GB, 7200rpm hard drive. It's more than capable of running everyday office applications and we saw no problems with its performance during our tests. It recorded 37sec in our Blender 3D rendering test, 46sec in our iTunes MP3 encoding test and 46min in our AutoGordianKnot DVD-to-Xvid transcoding test. Its hard drive transfer rate of 37.19 megabytes per second is a good result for a single, 7200rpm drive, and its 3DMark06 score of 5109 shows that it has decent grunt for real-time 3D rendering.
A 6-cell, 55 Watt-hour battery is installed in the spine of the laptop and it lasted 2hr 59min in our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video. This isn't a bad result for a notebook that uses a dedicated Radeon graphics adapter, but we can't help but think that HP should implement a configuration that allows the CPU's onboard Intel HD 3000 graphics to also be used. This would allow the notebook to last even longer.
HP ProBook 6560b: Conclusion
Because of its size and weight, the 15.6in ProBook should be considered only if you want a desktop replacement-style notebook that you'll rarely have to take on the road with you. It's quite heavy, it doesn't have USB 3.0, it doesn't make use of switchable graphics and it could use better input devices, as well as 64-bit Windows by default. HP reckons many of its customers still want the 32-bit version of Windows and by installing the 32-bit version by default, it reduces the time it takes those customers to re-image back to the 32-bit version. Since you have to set up the ProBook when you get it anyway, we think the selection for 32- or 64-bit Windows should be one of the first steps in the procedure (it didn't give us this option).
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