HP Rolls Out New ProBook Notebooks

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Hewlett-Packard has a new lineup of business notebooks with prices starting at $529 and "zero percent" financing available for small businesses to purchase or lease PCs from what HP is branding its ProBook series.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company lifted the curtain on its first HP ProBooks Tuesday, launching the new brand with 14-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch models in the HP ProBook standard, or "s"-series. The keyboard design for the s-series marks the most obvious departure from HP's past business-class notebook offerings -- raised or Chiclet keys mean "fewer places for dirt and dust to hide," in the vendor's words.

The smallest HP ProBooks, the 14-inch 4410s and 4415s, lack a numeric keypad, which is included in the 15.6-inch HP ProBook 4510s and 4515s, as well as the 17.3-inch HP ProBook 4710s. All but the 17.3-inch unit have options for central processors and graphics from either Intel or Advanced Micro Devices, while the HP ProBook 4710s pairs an Intel Core 2 Duo chip with discrete ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphics from AMD.

The four 14-inch and 15.6-inch models also have an option for a color HP has dubbed "merlot" -- though that won't be available for the series until June. For now, users will have to be satisfied with black -- or "noir" in the vendor's lingo -- on the matte and glossy surfaces of the five new notebooks. The HP USB 2.0 docking station works across the lineup and costs $139. All notebooks in the ProBook portfolio feature high-definition LED-backlit displays and an HDMI port to connect to stand-alone HD displays.

The ProBook s-series also has its green credentials in order. The entire portfolio is mercury-free, holds an EPEAT silver rating and is Energy Star-qualified for power efficiency. Microsoft Windows-loaded units (Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 is available for some SKUs) feature an additional automated power management switch to low-power mode. HP's own Smart AC Adapters also are included, and the company says 90 percent of its notebooks are recyclable or recoverable -- albeit by weight, not component.

Wireless connectivity across the lineup includes standard Wi-Fi certified WLAN and optional integrated Bluetooth wireless technology, while some models have an option for HP Mobile Broadband featuring built-in Qualcomm Gobi technology and the HP un2400 module to support multiple mobile broadband network technologies and mobile operators.

HP's own Professional Innovations software, available across the lineup, includes HP QuickLook 2, which provides quick access to e-mail, calendar, task and contact information. The HP SpareKey is a workaround for people who forget their passwords, and File Sanitizer for HP Protect Tools promises permanent data deletion without the hassle of a seven-level wipe.

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