CDW·G Price: Starts at $999.99
Road warriors expect a lot from their notebook computers.
They want the speed of a desktop system tucked into a relatively lightweight portable that can withstand the rigors of daily travel. IT managers also demand security, manageability and a reliable shelf life of at least three years.
The Hewlett-Packard EliteBook 6930p accomplishes the feat of standing out among business-class notebooks.
The 6930p distinguishes itself with what HP calls "business-rugged" features. Essentially, this means the notebook meets the Defense Department's MIL-Std-810F and can survive conditions that typically send notebooks into early retirement. When subjected to a series of typical abuses, the EliteBook took the beat-downs in stride.
Despite its rugged features, the 6930p weighs less than 5 pounds and sports a sleek appearance with its new sturdy DuraCase magnesium alloy chassis. But the 6930p brings a lot more to the table than rugged good looks. Built on Intel Centrino 2, it delivers improved overall performance for the EliteBook through its faster 1,066-megahertz front-side bus. Centrino 2 also features expanded wireless connectivity and built-in remote management and security.
The 14-inch WXGA display has a clear, nonreflective matte finish and is easy to see even from a wide angle. The optional HP Privacy Filter can narrow the view to only the person in front of the display and automatically adjusts to ambient light change.
The 6930p's keyboard layout features touchstick and touchpad pointing devices that performed accurately when tested. A Mylar film under the keyboard adds spill resistance. The keyboard has DuraKeys with a special clear coating to preserve the printed characters and finish, and the entire keyboard deck is coated with DuraFinish.
Why it Works for it
There is no shortage of security options available for the 6930p: Trusted Platform Module drive security, Kensington lock slot, support for LoJack and Computrace, and a fingerprint reader.
The EliteBook's connectivity options include an integrated 56K modem and Gigabit Ethernet ports, three USB 2.0 ports, one 1394a port and an external VGA port. An internal Intel WiFi Link 5300 adapter and HP's integrated Bluetooth 2.0 module handle wireless connectivity. The HP Mobile Broadband module and integrated SIMM slot provide built-in 3G connectivity to wireless providers.
Business notebooks balance performance against battery life, but it seems the designers of the 6930p were determined to avoid that compromise. The EliteBook consistently delivered overall scores above 4400 using PCMark05 benchmark tests -- about 35 percent better than a beefed-up and venerable nc6400 notebook.
Windows and office application performance was exceptional, and the impressive performance of the ATI Radeon HD 3450 graphics seemed to have little impact on power consumption. Running a modified benchmark that kept the CPU load above 50 percent with continual hard-disk activity, the EliteBook churned on for two hours and 45 minutes.
Using a typical notebook power configuration, the demands of an average workday were frequently met on a single charge.
There are some minor knocks against the EliteBook 6930p. The 2-megapixel webcam produced acceptable but not particularly detailed video, and the internal microphone was weak, though web conferencing worked pretty well with a headset.
Though the notebook also boasts greatly improved energy efficiency, it requires third-party software to take advantage of some of these features.
These are minor quibbles. The feature set, construction, performance and security of the HP EliteBook 6930p, combined with its competitive price and promise of a long, reliable lifespan, make it a top-notch choice as a mid-weight business notebook.