HP ProBook 450 G2 review
Processor: Dual-core 1.9GHz Intel Core i3-4030U, RAM: 4GB, Size: 375x262x25.5mm, Weight: 2.2kg, Screen size: 15.6in, Screen resolution: 1,366x768, Graphics adaptor: Intel HD Graphics 4400, Total storage: 500GB hard disk
The HP ProBook 450 G2 is something of a rarity these days, sticking with the five-year-old Windows 7 operating system instead of shipping with Windows 8 (upgrade discs are included). For many, this could be a key attraction to this bargain business laptop.
The chassis is exceptionally well built for a laptop under £500, with a rubberised coating on the outside of the lid and a dark brushed metal-style material for the keyboard tray. These materials don't pick up grease easily and also feel pretty rugged, meaning this is a laptop that should survive a fair amount of abuse being slung into bags and taken on public transport.
There are four USB ports on the device: two on the left and two on the right, with those on the left being super speed USB3 ports. The presence of HDMI a VGA connector mean you'll be able to connect to most monitors and projectors when giving a presentation or stationed at a desk, and you could even connect to a TV if you fancy watching some video on a larger screen.
The keyboard follows most other modern laptops, using separated, Chiclet-style keys. There's a decent amount of feedback to them and a generous amount of travel, too. This makes typing for long periods comfortable and pleasant. A touchpad of equal quality finishes things of nicely. Its physical buttons, located below the pad, bring back the lost art of soft mouse buttons, and have a huge amount travel, which is something we really like.
There's a fingerprint scanner just below the number pad, which allows you to set up an alternative to a password when logging into Windows. The pre-installed HP Client Security software also lets you set up file encryption to secure your important data from thieves.
The ProBook 450 G2 comes with 4GB of RAM and is powered by a dual-core 1.9GHz Intel Core i3-4030U processor. It's not the most potent of combinations but for basic business and leisure tasks it's enough, especially because it uses hyper threading technology to turn those two physical cores into four virtual ones for better multitasking. Single core performance was particularly strong: in our benchmarking tests focusing on single thread applications the ProBook scored 46. This is a good score for a sub-£500 laptop. Tasks requiring multiple cores were a little slower; for both video conversion and multitasking the laptop scored 36, giving the ProBook 450 G2 an overall score of 37.
This is a business laptop, so 3D gaming performance is likely to be of little importance to HP's target market. However, should you wish to dabble in very basic games, you may be able to do so. The processor's integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400 will happily handle high resolution video but it will stutter with advanced 3D applications and games. Running Dirt Showdown at 1,280x720 pixels on High detail yielded an average frame rate of 18fps, which isn't enough to be able to play the game smoothly. Some older games will be fine, but if you're looking for gaming performance you'll need to buy a more expensive laptop.
You get a 500GB hard disk, which should be big enough for most users to store their most important files. If that isn't enough, buyers also get a 50GB Box Cloud storage account for life, with a maximum file size limit of 250MB.
Battery life is reasonably long, with the ProBook lasting 5h 50m in our rundown test. You'll still want to take the fairly light charger with you if you're heading out for the day, but if you're going for a meeting or doing some work from the sofa, you will be fine for a few hours.
It's a shame that the 15.6in screen on the ProBook 450 G2 isn't Full HD, instead only having a 1,366x768 pixel panel. It's not a bad screen, but on a device this big a 1,920x1,080 pixel panel would have been welcome, not least because that resolution allows you to run two programs side-by-side comfortably. It's able to cover 66 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut (an average score for a laptop) and it's nice and bright, meaning you could use this laptop relatively comfortably outside. Your ability to view it outdoors is also helped by the screen's matt coating.
The HP ProBook 450 G2 is a sturdy business laptop with reasonable performance and a good keyboard, which is about as much as you can ask from a cheap business laptop. If your needs are modest, this is a great buy. Otherwise, spend £100 more and you could buy the Chillblast Akira, which has a dedicated graphics card and a Full HD screen.
|Processor||Dual-core 1.9GHz Intel Core i3-4030U|
|Memory slots (free)||2(1)|
|Sound||DTS Audio (3.5mm headset port)|
|Graphics adaptor||Intel HD Graphics 4400|
|Graphics outputs||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage||500GB hard disk|
|Optical drive type||DVD RW|
|Ports and expansion|
|USB ports||2x USB3, 2x USB2|
|Networking||802.11n Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet|
|Memory card reader||None|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Professional (Windows 8.1 upgrade discs included)|
|Operating system restore option||Restore partition|
|Parts and labour warranty||One-year collect and return|
|Price inc VAT||£499|