HP launches new ProBook laptops for 2011 and EliteBook 8460p and 8560p

New 2011 HP Elitebook design (Elitebook 8460p pictured)

HP has just announced their new business notebooks, refreshed for 2011. There’s 6 new ProBook models, with their screen sizes spanning from 13.3 to 17.3 inches, in your choice of two flavors; the more feature-packed ProBook 6000-b line or the more affordable ProBook 4000-s series. What’s in the spotlight in today’s range of announcements are the two new models in HP’s uppity-up Elitebook high-end business notebook range. The new 14 inch Elitebook 8460p and 15.6 inch Elitebook 8560p models succeed last year’s EliteBook 8440p and EliteBook 8540p notebooks respectively. For most part, the guts and port selection on these two are the same as their predecessors… what’s changed includes the new 2011 Intel Sandy Bridge (Second generation Intel Core i-series) mobile processors in them, Intel HD3000-series integrated graphics (or AMD Radeon 6470M if you go the discrete graphics route) and USB 3.0 port availability (though just one of four ports, the other three will be USB 2.0).

Perhaps the most controversial of them all, in my opinion, is HP’s new take on the design of their business notebooks. The new Elitebooks are supposedly slightly more rugged and more accessible (there’s a single panel covering the entire bottom of the notebook that pops off with the tug of a switch) than previous models, but they don’t look… how does one put it… they don’t quite look as sleek as the old design (example). I know it’s been a loooong time, too long, since I last posted and I apologize for that (and I’ve got a surprise for all you readers, coming this week), that won’t happen again… but now, I wanna hear YOUR take on HP’s new design for their business notebook line. Personally, well, I’m praying hard with fingers crossed that the new EliteBook 2560p ultra-portable and EliteBook 8460w, EliteBook 8560w and EliteBook 8760w mobile workstation notebooks will, at least, not look like the result of a bunch of HP design engineers going all “retro, eccentric and Lady Gaga” at the drawing board… as was probably the case when they made today’s eight new ProBook and EliteBook models!

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9 Comments

  1. vēer February 23, 2011 Reply

    At first look new Elitebooks look thin and industrial, but thats only when looking at HP’s promo pictures, take a look over at Engadgets hands on pictures and youll see that new Elitebooks are rather ugly, half of the notebook is flashy aluminum that makes you think “Wow, this thing is thin and light!” while in reality its just design aspec to make it LOOK thinner than it really is, the other – lower half of the laptops base is ugly sloped black thickness monster! I mean, I hate when companies combine colors and materials the way they do on new Elitebooks base on budget laptops, but when they make it on premium enterprise laptop, it just looks cheap and doesnt convince me in such structures sturdiness.
    I like plain old looks of ThinkPad’s, at the same time, new Latitdes while at first made me think how much Dell have messed ’em up now make me appreciate their 13″ E6320 offering.
    What I hate about HP/Dell is their protruding batteries, how come Lenovo managed to make their 6 cell batteries flush and HP cant? The same applies to Dell, quite sure their new 6 cell batteries will protrude.

    Either way, I have my hope up for 12″ Elitebook’s!

    I think only B series Probooks benefited from design change.
    Cant say the same about S series Probooks – I much preferred their 4x20s design, it was smooth, angled, straight, classy and rather elegant at the same time.
    I guess Ill get used to new S series design, cant say the same about Elitebooks, unless they turn out to be much better looking and thinner in real life.

    Your surprise – early review on some of refreshed business HP’s offerings :D?

  2. Brad February 23, 2011 Reply

    Veer, I totally agree with you on just about everything – those are exactly my thoughts you read! I heard of these things floating around near Christmas last year and I really thought those guys were trying to mimic car makers with hideous disguises to hide the real deal. Who knew it was in fact the final design!

    The Elitebooks look good in the press photos (not only in the thin sense, but they even reminded me of Sony’s Vaio computers with the lid open, especially the 8560p) but pretty unattractive in the flesh. I think it’s the “wide screen hinge” that stretches from one side to the other (who uses those nowadays anyway? reminds me of my old HP Compaq ultra portable from 2004!) and overly square design that makes these new PCs look chunky and look like ancient laptops from 1855!

    Durability is not an excuse for ugly design. The first two generations of Elitebooks looked fine (not stunning or eye-catching, but sufficiently ‘business stylish’) AND I could literally stand on one. I’ve personally demonstrated to friends and people I know, the ability for my tiny 12 inch Elitebook 2530p’s lid to support my 180 lbs frame! I recently had the chance to compare my Elitebook with a fleet of Dell Latitudes at an acquaintance’s office, and I was thinking how ugly the Dells looked compared to the Elitebook. Looks like HP has turned the tables on themselves with this new design!

    I have no idea what happened there. IBM/Lenovo has been sticking to “what works” on their Thinkpads for years and years, which gives them a “timeless” sort of look. I think HP should’ve just took the 8440/8540, stuck a full-chiclet keyboard in and called it a day. There was nothing wrong with the old design – they looked good, heat dissipation was not a problem (in fact their ability to channel off heat was excellent!) and they were just as durable.

    I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one, this new ‘sharp edges, so-called industrial look’ design concept will be likely making its rounds soon to the Mobile Workstation models “w”-series. The 12 inch ultra-portables MIGHT stand a slight chance (Especially the 2760p tablet, since it needs to be ergonomic and sharp corners will poke your hands) getting a different look or being slimmer… but it’s gonna be another year till we see the next round of refreshes; Elitebook 8470p and 8570p anyone?!

  3. vēer February 23, 2011 Reply

    While you can stand on your 2540p, Im not sure you can on T410 which has no extra lid protection, they ditched roll cage from lid assembly and replaced the lid with simple ABS plastic cover.
    So, ThinkPads might be going down as well, lets see if reintroduction of roll cage in refreshed T420 will make things better.
    Overall I would prefer all metal body 2540p/Latitude E6320 laptop as my next rather than ThinkPad with its squeaking plastic body and not so perfect build quality as many think it should have as ThinkPad.
    What kept me from getting Elitebook is mainly poor battery design – 6 cells protruding from 12″ models, fugly 9 cell for the same 12″. Oh and for me ThinkPad wins design wise for its keyboard looks, Elitebooks just looked too simple and toyish to me.

  4. Jeff February 24, 2011 Reply

    Business class computers seem to occupy a different mind space than consumer products. For some reason, people think their designs should not change, and should not aim for aesthetic appeal, simply for durability and consistency. I have a somewhat contrarian view. As much as I agree that the durability must be maintained, I am a fan of industrial design and I can’t agree that Thinkpads are scoring any points by not changing their designs since the mid-90s. Why can’t these products be as aesthetically leading edge as they are in the area of durability? Why should not the most expensive notebook computers a company makes benefit by the most innovative industrial design talent available? I don’t think it is “un-manly” for business class notebooks to also be works of industrial art. That doesn’t mean they should change for change’s sake, or that the changes should make them look worse, jut that they deserve “refreshes” that make them look like the ultra-expensive pieces of gear they are. Just my 2 cents.

  5. DC February 26, 2011 Reply

    I really like the new design. They look like high end audio equipment! Clean, simple, solid and tough… and there are NO touch buttons to be found! Hotness…

  6. Jeff March 1, 2011 Reply

    Doesn’t seem like there’s much activity here, so I’ll keep it short. DC, I agree with you in principal but I have not seen a full 3-D view of the 8X60s to be certain if I like them. I just stand by my previous comment about the best made computers deserving to be the most aesthetically advanced as well. Not trendy, because I do think some consistency is required in this market. But do it right the first time, then make minor tweaks over the life cycle of a design (3-5 years, depending on make and model) on the outside, just as they do on the inside, and then create new designs for each new product cycle, retaining a “family” resemblance to previous models, but reflecting design “ethos” of the new half-decade. Kind of like European cars: BMWs and Mercedes have a 5-7 year life cycle of a design, but the re-designs have historically been transitional rather than radical. BMW changed that with the 2002 7 series, followed by the 2004 5-series and, if you follow these cars, those early “00s” designs, penned by Chris Bangle of BMW, were drastic departures from all previous models and, well, they were real barkers! But after universal panning of writers and consumers – and a dip in sales – they came to their senses and, first, made the wise decision not to “Bangle-ize” their flagship/cash cow 3 series and now, with the re-designs of the 2008-11 models, they’ve gone back to the traditional, classy lines from decades past. Shame of it is, all the Japanese and Korean makers seem to have picked up on the “trend” set by the 00s BMWs and the roads are packed with some very ungainly designs we’re likely to be living with years after the “trend setter” (BMW/Bangle) has completely reformed their disastrous experiment.

    I know, I’ve gone way off the track, but I hope someone sees the parallels and might want to comment on the “moral of the story” as I see it: for high end products with long life cycles, aesthetic design is an important element of success in the marketplace; start with a classic approach, refresh it – inside and out – every couple of years, re-design at end of product life cycle modernizing the look but sticking with classic lines and avoiding radical design changes – particularly with no “function to the form” – and, if what’s most important, the quality and performance of the computer (we’re back to the topic now!), remains competitive, the design aesthetics will help seal the deal and make repeat buyers an ever larger percentage of your sales.

    On the special case of Lenovo/Thinkpad designs essentially never changing: it’s clearly been a winning strategy for them, but that’s a brand strategy that generally will only work for one “special” brand in a market, and though I find much not to admire about the traditional Thinkpad form AND function, they’ve pulled it off with success no one would have predicted could go on for this long and, my view here, no one in their right mind would risk an established brand’s reputation, fan base and sales volume by emulating the anti-design design philosophy!

  7. Jeff March 1, 2011 Reply

    Sorry, that post was anything but the “short” one I said it would be in the beginning. Just got carried away, and I don’t know how to edit it down once it’s been posted. I won’t be offended if people find it too long and judgmental to take seriously, but please know my comments were in earnest. Jeff

  8. Sauron March 3, 2011 Reply

    THANKS FOR COMING BACK!!

    We missed you!!

  9. jke March 29, 2011 Reply

    Plus: i think they also only worked on the design (which was already good!) and didn’t improve on the smaller details like a backlit keyboard or GNU/Linux drv for their Gobi modems. Oh, and battery runtime of course. Oh well…

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