HP updates ultra-portable EliteBook laptops; EliteBook 2770p tablet still missing

2012 HP EliteBook 2170p

If you’ve been keeping up with the news this week, HP has practically updated every single notebook they have. There’s a lot more happening on the consumer side with the launch of brand new Envy models and tweaked Pavilion models while on the business side, we’re mainly seeing ProBook models with slightly improved designs and selection of new processors. The EliteBook models are HP’s flagship top-notch laptops and they too have not undergone significant changes design-wise. You do get faster processors and new graphics options though, which is great if you’re stepping up from a year 2010 or earlier model but 2011 EliteBook owners shouldn’t jump yet.

Perhaps the biggest new thing about the HP EliteBook range is, ironically, the smallest (physically) thing announced today. HP just welcomed a new ‘baby EliteBook’ to their top business laptop range: the EliteBook 2170p. This model brings back the ultra low voltage Intel processors that have been around since the HP 2510p, 2530p and 2540p days but were missing on last year’s EliteBook 2560p in favor of more powerful full-voltage processors. Why on earth would anyone want an ultra low voltage (ULV) processor when a full-voltage one will be more powerful? Battery life and heat, that’s why! Having used and owned many HP products, and still using an EliteBook 2530p as my primary travel laptop, I can say I love ULV processors. My EliteBook 2530p which uses a now-ancient low-voltage Intel processor runs fanless on an almost full-time basis. The fan only comes on once temperature hits 45 Celcius, and the laptop usually hovers around 30-40 Celcius unless the weather is hot or if I’m running Photoshop or Premiere Pro on the tiny machine (silly me!).

The HP EliteBook 2170p which will run on currently-unspecified 2012 ULV Intel Ivy Bridge processors should run even cooler and have more battery stamina than ever, though HP doesn’t have any battery life numbers for us yet. As hinted by its model name, the EliteBook 2170p has an 11 inch screen (1366 x 768 resolution), making it the smallest EliteBook model so far. It’s also one of the lightest, weighing in at just 1.3 kg (2.9 pounds) which is a hair lighter than Apple’s 13 inch MacBook Air, but not quite as light as the 11 inch MacBook Air yet. But hey, what do you expect from an EliteBook? If the EliteBook 2170p is as durable as its ancestors in the EliteBook family (which we do not doubt), you could probably stand a person or two on its closed lid (not that we’re encouraging this)  and have absolutely no detrimental effect resulting from that… while any MacBook Air subjected to the same torture will probably have its screen cracked (or worse, remember not to try this at home and not stand on your laptop!). The EliteBook 2170p is constructed from the same magnesium-alloy material as its siblings and looks a lot like a shrunken EliteBook 2570p.

The EliteBook 2170p, despite being the smallest in the family, sports standard HP EliteBook business class features, including a big trackpad with buttons plus a pointing stick with dedicated buttons, full-sized keyboard, SRS Premium Sound branding, 720p HD webcam option, fingerprint reader and Smart Card reader. Strangely enough, the EliteBook 2170p will be compatible with the full-sized docking station used by larger ProBook and EliteBook models instead of the smaller docking station with a different design used by the EliteBook 25xxp series for years. This strangeness in design makes us hopeful that HP brings back support for secondary batteries on their ultra-portable range (The add-on secondary battery has been limited to 14 inch and larger models since 2007 though we have seen Compaq allow secondary batteries on their tiny 12 inch laptops back in 2005/2006, so it’s not impossible!).

The EliteBook 2170p does not have an HP Night Light but will allow you to configure it with a backlit keyboard as an option. Ports on the EliteBook 2170p will include 2 USB 3.0 ports, a combo headphone/microphone jack, full-sized Display Port, VGA, Ethernet and SD card slot. The EliteBook 2170p will start at $999, available June 22.

2012 HP EliteBook 2570p

On to the EliteBook 2570p, successor to last year’s EliteBook 2560p. As you can see, this 12.5 inch ultra-portable laptop inherits the design of its predecessor so it’s physically identical down to the ports and display. The EliteBook 2570p weighs 1.6 kg (3.6 lbs) which is slightly lighter than its predecessor, much to the delight of road warriors, and upgrades its guts with next-generation full-voltage 2012 Intel Ivy Bridge processors and integrated graphics. The EliteBook 2570p still uses the HP Night Light and does not have any keyboard backlight options. Also we’re very curious if HP will offer an IPS display option on the EliteBook 2570p like Lenovo has been doing with their X220 model since last year; it would bring great joy to us users if HP did that (the EliteBook 2560p was offered only with a 1366 x 768 resolution ‘standard’ LED backlit display). The EliteBook 2570p will be available on June 22 at a starting price of $1099.

And guess who’s missing in this week’s announcements? The 2012 HP EliteBook convertible tablet! The tablet-variant has been historically known to come out with its ultra-portable EliteBook 25xx counterpart, including the simultaneous announcement of the EliteBook 2560p ultra-portable and EliteBook 2760p convertible tablet last year. What happened to the HP EliteBook 2770p?! We’re not sure. The rumor mill runs amok with speak about the resurrection of a true Compaq tc1100 successor but who knows…

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3 Comments

  1. 1515 May 12, 2012 Reply

    Thank You for coming back. This is really awesome to have a all hp site back.
    Do you like the new hp.com site redesign?

  2. Eric May 13, 2012 Reply

    The EliteBook looks like a pretty sweet laptop, with a design that could probably give the Macbook a run for its money. Also, I love the chrome/metal design…kind of industrial looking, but at the same time, it’s very sleek. For a fairly small notebook, this thing seems powerful. Nice review, Brad.

  3. nando May 20, 2012 Reply

    Looking deeper into the 2170P we see it skimps by providing a 48Whr prismatic 6-cell (Folio 13 has a 60Whr 6-cell), no expresscard/Thunderbolt port and the much unliked 16:9 LCD by those who’ve experienced 16:10.

    On the otherhand, the just-announced Lenovo X230 gets the first two right, has a IPS 16:9 LCD with great viewing angles and provides a full power CPU

    So you may want to hold onto that 2530P a bit longer. It can be specced with a 62/93Whr 6/9-cell, has an expresscard slot, a 16:10 LCD and has unwhitelisted modded bios available [2540P/2560P doesn’t]. Wish HP still made the same 16:10 chassis.

    Maybe you can also ask your HP contacts when will they cease their ridiculous WWAN/wifi whitelisting policy? That is engineered sabotage and is not desired by the end user who may wish to upgrade their communications down the track. Dell doesn’t do it so it’s not clear why HP is paying a bios engineer to do it.

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