The HP ProBook 4520s belongs to the small and medium business notebook niche that replaces last year's outdated 4510s. In the new model, the manufacturer abandoned the use of the CORE 2 Duo family of processors in favor of the Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors. In this review we take a look at what has changed and how the new model is packaged compared to its predecessor.
Construction and Design
The HP ProBook 4520s has a slightly roughened outer surface, a step up from its predecessor. The cover of the screen, instead of the plastic one in the 4510s, in the new model is made of brushed metal, which looks structurally stronger and more effective. Fingerprints and other minor dirt are practically invisible on the new coating, and the new coating also has protection against minor scratches. The interior is also superb - bronze, anodized and brushed metal.
Despite these changes, the laptop retains much of the previous design. A miniature keyboard with glossy black plastic inlay extends to the display panel, which has a similar design. The bottom cover of the laptop is made in the same style and has sliding panels for replacing components in the event of a future upgrade.
The build quality is very good and is a step up from the previous model. The brushed metal lid gives the 4520s some of the required rigidity and screen protection that the previous model lacked. The wrist rest and speaker grill also got a little stiffness and almost no flex under the increased pressure. The chassis feels rigid overall, but still falls short of the business models of the EliteBook or ThinkPad series. It is also possible that the keyboard feels a little sag, which of course is not found in more expensive models.
The controversial design of the bottom panel has its own strengths and weaknesses. A monolithic cover can make it difficult to upgrade or replace faulty components, however, in this case, there is a plus - the body has greater rigidity than if the bottom cover consisted of several composite panels.
Screen and speakers
The ProBook 4520s is equipped with a 15.6 ”antiglare display with an aspect ratio of 16: 9. The screen resolution is 1366 x 768 pixels. This 720p screen is excellent for work and has good colors and contrast. Many people are concerned about going from a 16:10 to a 16: 9 screen ratio (as that means lower vertical resolutions), but the difference is so small that the vast majority of users won't experience any discomfort.
Horizontal viewing angles are pretty impressive, so you start to notice a shift in color gamut after 75 degrees off center. Vertical viewing angles can be called average - about 45 degrees. The matte finish really helped with the large viewing angles, as glossy panels can sometimes reflect surrounding objects, which affects the user's comfort.
The speakers on the HP ProBook 4520s are similar to other small and medium business notebooks. At the same time, there will be plenty of them for listening to light music or watching your favorite TV show somewhere on the road. The maximum volume was sufficient for a small to medium sized room. Of course bass and mids were lacking, but this is a common drawback for notebooks of this class.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The 4520s full-size keyboard has the same design as the 4510s and provides fantastic space between keys, including the numeric keypad - a major plus for a business laptop as it speeds up typing or typing. Each button is relatively flat with a nice matte texture. The only area of the keyboard where there is a slight deflection is the block of numeric buttons.However, since the prototype was tested, HP claims that these kinds of minor flaws will be addressed at retail.
The buttons are pressed almost silently without a "click". The keystroke depth is excellent, although some may not like the honeycomb keyboard style. Summing up the section on the keyboard, we can conclude that the key layout is extremely convenient.
HP has updated the touchpad in the 4520s over the previous 4510s and now has a buttonless Synaptic Clickpad. The main difference is the large surface for gestures and a smoother surface without additional buttons. It must be said that using this touchpad design may take some time. If you are a laptop user who likes to place your fingers on the touchpad buttons as you move your cursor around the screen, you will find yourself in a world of surprises. Even in the areas reserved for the touchpad buttons, your stationary fingers will often be identified as a multi-touch gesture. Even when multi-touch gestures were turned off, it was sometimes noticeable how the cursor "jumped" across the screen. The Dell Inspiron 11z also made a similar impression. By making the area of the touchpad buttons "dead" you will 100% solve the problem.
Generally the touchpad was very responsive and easy to use (apart from the above problem). The speed was excellent and there was no problem with input lag. Multi-touch gestures were quickly recognized and worked smoothly. The touchpad's response time was also fast, allowing circles to be drawn quickly with little tail effect.
Ports and functionality
The port list for the HP ProBook 4520s is not bad for a small business laptop, but it looks like there isn't much room left that could be used to accommodate additional ports. The laptop has three USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA / USB combo port, VGA and HDMI-out, LAN, dial-up modem, and audio outputs. The case also has an ExpressCard / 34 slot and an SDHC card reader for expansion.
Front view: SDHC card reader, audio outputs.
Left side: Kensington lock slot, VGA out, LAN, HDMI out, eSATA / USB combo port, one USB 2.0 port, ExpressCard / 34 slot.
Right side: two USB 2.0 ports, modem, optical drive, power connector.
Speed and performance
The performance of the HP ProBook 4520s is very good with the new 2010 Intel Core processor line. HP offers models with an Intel Core i3 350M and an Intel Core i5 430M processor.
Compared to its predecessor, the ProBook 4510s, the new model is improved in many ways. The latest onboard Intel GMA HD graphics chipset offers faster 3D performance and a new CPU that is much faster than the outdated Core 2 Duo found in its predecessor. The performance gain was over 30% in some system-wide benchmarks such as PCMark05. Playing multimedia files, HD movies is also not satisfactory. Playback of HD Flash files on sites such as YouTube also took place without pauses and jerks, and using the HDMI output, you can output video to an external source (TV, monitor or projector).
One of the nice things about the 4520s is that it comes with a fast 7200 rpm hard drive, while the previous model used a slow 5400 rpm hard drive.
wPrime - the results of comparing the speed of processors (the lower the result, the higher the performance)
PCMark05 - measures the overall system performance (the higher the score, the better the performance)
3DMark06 measures video and gaming performance (the higher the score, the better the performance):
CrystalDiskMark - Hard Drive Performance:
Heat dissipation and noise
The HP ProBook 4520s performed well in thermal tests, keeping the case temperatures within an acceptable range. In full load mode, the case temperature at the top reached just 27 degrees, while the temperature at the bottom was 32 degrees.During this time, the noise level was very acceptable, barely perceptible.
This model is equipped with a 6-cell 47Wh battery. In the test with a screen brightness of 70% of the nominal, an active wireless connection, and a web page refresh every 60 seconds on the installed Windows 7, the laptop worked for 4 hours and 18 minutes.
The new HP ProBook 4520s brings many positive improvements over the older Core 2 Duo 4510s. The metal finish has improved the look over the plastic that was used in the old model. The brushed metal interior also adds a touch of sophistication to the look of this model.
All in all, the 4520s has a huge performance advantage with the new 2010 Intel Core processor lineup. The increase in productivity was over 30% compared to the previous model. If you're looking for a reliable, low-cost business laptop, then the ProBook 4520s is well worth checking out.
- Convenient keyboard
- Very high performance in business and multimedia applications
- Nice looks and build quality
- Not always comfortable touchpad
- Average battery life