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HP ProBook 4720s review

Alan Lu
22 Jul 2010
HP ProBook 4720s
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
692
inc VAT

The HP ProBook 4720s looks great and has surprisingly long battery life, but it's short on RAM and hard disk space at this price.

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Specifications

17.3 in 1,600x900 display, 3.1kg, 2.27GHz Intel Core i3-350M, 2.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows 7 Professional 32-bit

Most laptops aimed at businesses look rather staid and boring, but the HP ProBook 4720s is surprisingly stylish. The brown metal wrist rest, lid and speaker grille look great and blend in well with the rest of the black plastic construction. It's a bit chunky, but it feels reassuringly sturdy.

The ProBook has a 17.3in screen and is a desktop replacement laptop, so as well as weighing 3.1kg, it's quite large. It's not ideal for travelling, so we were surprised by its lengthy battery life of over six hours - one of the longest times we've seen for a 17in laptop.

Like many other business laptops, the ProBook's screen has a matte finish instead of a glossy one. This means it's not reflective, but it doesn't look as bright and punchy as many glossy displays. It's still reasonably bright with accurate colours, though, and viewing angles are quite wide. Plus, the 1,600x900 pixel resolution is great for working on a large spreadsheet or a pair of documents side-by-side.

Tying was accurate thanks to the large, responsive keys which give just the right amount of feedback. There's a numeric keypad for quick number entry in spreadsheets and no undersized or oddly placed keys, either.

HP ProBook 4720s

Unfortunately, the touchpad isn't nearly as impressive. Although it's large and accurate, the two buttons are built into the bottom of the pad itself. These are too stiff so some force is needed to press them, which can also inadvertently move the cursor. This makes some tasks, such as dragging icons, harder than they should be. It's profoundly frustrating and a problem we've seen on other HP laptops recently.

Security-conscious users will appreciate the built-in fingerprint reader which can be used instead of a password. There's no integrated 3G modem or USB3 ports, but these features can be added later using the ExpressCard/34 slot.

The 250GB hard disk is stingy at this price, but should be large enough if you're storing only business documents. HP has been stingy with memory, too. The 2GB of RAM is enough for running Windows and several programs simultaneously, but should you want to add more, it's rather time-consuming to get to the memory slots and hard disk bay.

It's a shame that the ProBook doesn't have a Core i5 processor like other, similarly priced laptops but it's by no means slow. Its i3 350M is still fast enough for most tasks, though, scoring 80 overall in our benchmarks. We didn't expect it to do well in games, but the Mobility Radeon HD 4350 managed 16fps in our Call of Duty 4 test. It'll allow you to play moderns games if you can compromise on graphical detail and play at lower screen resolutions.

The ProBook looks and feels great. We were impressed by its battery life, but its weight means this isn't such a great advantage. This, in addition to a miserly amount of RAM and hard disk space, prevents the ProBook from receiving our unconditional recommendation.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i3-350M
Processor clock speed2.27GHz
Memory2.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size40x410x266
Weight3.1kg
SoundIDT HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size17.3 in
Native resolution1,600x900
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 4350
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity250GB
Optical drive modelHP GT30L
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g/n
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/34
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSDHC, MMC, MMCplus, Memory Stick Pro/Duo, MicroDrive, xD
Other ports1x eSATA

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Professional 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition, restore disc
Software includedCorel Home Office 5, ArcSoft TotalMedia Suite 2009, PDF Complete Special Edition 3.5
Optional extras£34

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£692
Detailswww.hp.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk

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