HP EliteBook 8460p (LW959PA) business laptop

HP EliteBook 8460p review: A 14in laptop with excellent build quality, performance and security features

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HP EliteBook 8460p (LW959PA)
  • HP EliteBook 8460p (LW959PA)
  • HP EliteBook 8460p (LW959PA)
  • HP EliteBook 8460p (LW959PA)
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Excellent performance
  • Great build quality
  • Good security features

Cons

  • High price
  • Heavy for its size
  • Access panel comes off easily

Bottom Line

There's no doubt that the HP EliteBook 8460p is an excellent little laptop. It's fast, strong and offers good security options. It's also heavy for its size though, and definitely pricey!

Would you buy this?

Specifications and performance

The performance of the HP EliteBook 8460p was fast in our tests, which is what we expected considering the high-end quad-core CPU in its chassis. The configuration of our test model included an Intel Core i7-2720QM CPU with a frequency of 2.2GHz, four cores and Hyper-Threading; 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, the aforementioned AMD Radeon HD 6470 graphics adapter with 1GB of RAM, and a 160GB, SATA II solid state drive (an Intel SSDSA2M160G2HP model).

It recorded a time of 21sec in our Blender 3D rendering test, and 44sec in our iTunes MP3 encoding test. These are the fastest laptop results we've seen all year. Furthermore, it took only 45min to convert our test DVD file into a 1.5GB Xvid file using AutoGordianKnot. Its drive performance was also fast — it recorded a rate of 73.10 megabytes per second when copying data from one area of the drive to another, which is an excellent result. Its graphics adapter recorded 5213 in 3DMark06, which tells us that there is more than enough graphics grunt for presentation, graphics and video software, and that it can do a good job of processing 3D graphics in real-time.

Boot up time was as little long for our liking, as it took around 36sec (not including the time it took to authenticate our fingerprint in the pre-windows environment) before the laptop arrived at the Windows desktop and was ready to use. Other recent laptops with solid state drives, such as the Toshiba Portege R830, take around 20sec.

Battery life

Our EliteBook 8460p came with a 6-cell, 55 Watt-hour battery plugged in to its spine. This battery lasted 3hr 27min in our rundown test, in which we disable power management, maximise screen brightness, enable Wi-Fi and loop an Xvid-encoded video. This is a decent time for such a powerful laptop, and you should be able to get more out of it if you employ a power scheme (but it will depend on the tasks you undertake, too).

A comprehensive yet simple to use battery utility is supplied. This not only allows you to get the most out of the battery, it also allows you to monitor its power usage and carbon footprint.

There are many battery options for the 8460p, including a more powerful 9-cell (100 Watt-hour) primary battery, and 9-cell (100 Watt-hour and 73 Watt-hour) secondary batteries.

User comfort

The chiclet keyboard on the EliteBook is solid and its keys have adequate travel and responsiveness. There is a TrackPoint device installed though, and this can sometimes get in the way while touch typing. Only one other aspect of the keyboard was annoying apart from us sometimes hitting the TrackPoint, and that was the size and position of the up and down arrow keys. These are far too small and too close together, which makes them hard to differentiate by feel.

The HP EliteBook 8460p has a large chemically-strengthened glass touchpad (100x49mm) and it feels soft and smooth. However, it's a little too responsive by default, especially when using multi-finger gestures. This can be changed through the comprehensive Synaptics driver in the Windows 7 Control Panel. An ambient light sensor is installed, and it worked smoothly when adjusting the brightness level of the screen; we did notice some sudden fluctuations when using the notebook in a shaded outdoor area, though.

Security

For security, the HP EliteBook 8460p offers a smartcard reader, a fingerprint reader and facial recognition, and in addition to Windows login security, you can also set initial boot-up security. The fingerprint reader was a little hit-and-miss during our tests and we often had to swipe two or three times before it would work.

Drive encryption and file shredding is present, along with the ability to disable hardware components depending on the user. These are part of the HP ProtectTools suite, which we have talked about before in our review of the ProBook 6540b, for example. The laptop has TPM, supports vPro, and it has anti-theft features that can be enabled — a one-year Computrace subscription can cost up to $75 depending on the level of service.

Conclusion

The HP EliteBook 8460p is one of the best laptops on the market. Whether it's worth the high asking price is another story. It's very fast, it's very well built, it's comfortable to use and it has good security features. However, it's also heavy, it could use a backlit keyboard and we wish it didn't take so long to set up initially. Nevertheless, if you can convince your purse handlers in your company that it's a good purchase, then we think you'll be very happy with it.

The EliteBook 8460p shares the same docking solution as the EliteBook 8440p.

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