Skip to main content

HP EliteBook 8560p Review

HP EliteBook 8560p front display
HP EliteBook 8560p
MSRP $1.00
“It's hard to do better than HP’s industrial-strength EliteBook 8560p for brute processing power, comfortable, hard-wearing controls and durability.”
  • Industrial-strength chassis and hinges
  • Large, high-res display with effective anti-glare coating
  • Potent processors and discrete Radeon HD graphics
  • Comfortable keyboard and supersized glass trackpad
  • Incredibly complete array of ports
  • Attractive, professional looking design
  • Shockingly loud stereo speakers
  • Useful preinstalled utilities
  • Not as light or thing as competitors
  • Only four hours runtime with stock battery
  • Matte display lacks “pop” of glossy screens

HP’s EliteBooks have always been the unsung heroes of the business notebook world. While not as visible as the ubiquitous MacBook Pro or as prestigious as the ThinkPad, the sturdy business notebooks have soldiered on in relative obscurity, relied upon by businesses but unseen but the public at large.

With a redesign this spring, that may change. A complete refresh brings the design of HP’s workhorse into the 21st century, while additional rugged features and practical updates like a supersized glass trackpad make it more practical than ever, too.

HP EliteBook 8560p CaseDesign

The HP EliteBook 8560p looks like a notebook Jason Bourne would carry. A rather flattering analogy, perhaps, but an apt one that seemed to be the consensus around Digital Trends’ offices thanks to an angular profile, muted brushed-metal finish, and a downright industrial-quality hinge and screen lock that wouldn’t seem out of place on the briefcase for a collapsible sniper rifle.

HP has kept the austere, down-to-business look of previous EliteBooks with its latest industrial design, but dressed it up a bead-blasted platinum finish, chemically strengthened glass trackpad, brushed-aluminum keyboard deck, and aluminum alloy hinges. Even the little details received attention. The janky capacitive touch buttons above the keyboard that were in vogue a few years back have reverted to hard buttons you can actually click. The bottom – normally a No Man’s Land of vents, labels, logos doors and slots, has been stripped, sculpted and styled into a relatively smooth plane of black plastic with a single access door. In a nod to the MacBook’s microscopic LEDs, the front has laser-cut indicators for Wi-Fi, power, charging and disk drive activity. This is a clean-looking notebook.

At 6.01 pounds, the EliteBook falls at the heavier end of the spectrum for 15-inch notebooks. A budget box like Gateway’s EV Series can easily hit 5.3 pounds, and even the comparably tough MacBook Pro 15 weighs 5.6 pounds. The extra weight makes the EliteBook a bit of a bear to handle with one hand, but it doesn’t quite reach the oppressive weight of a true desktop replacement. Depth of 1.34 inches is also nothing to brag about, but it comes with the territory in the “business rugged” class. A fully rugged notebook like Panasonic’s ToughBook 52, for by comparison, spans a porky two inches.

HP EliteBook 8560p Display AngleFeatures

Not all of the HP’s upgrades have been aesthetic. Like most full-size notebooks launching these days, the EliteBook 8560p rides on Intel’s second-generation Core platform, also known as Sandy Bridge. You can pick an i5 clocked as slow as 2.3GHz or a an i7 clocked as high as 2.7GHz, with both dual- and quad-core variants, with available vPro for security. Our review unit came equipped with the aforementioned Core i7 at 2.7GHz.

Though HP markets the EliteBook 8560p to businesses, gamers will be happy to know it draws its graphics firepower from the consumer side of the market in the form of an AMD Radeon HD 6470M, a high-end card with 1GB of dedicated GDDR3 graphics memory. As we’ll see in the performance section, that gives business users some considerable leeway with gaming when they’re not jockeying spreadsheets and PowerPoints.

The 8560p offers a 15.6-inch LED-backlit screen, which comes in both 1366 x 768 and 1600 x 900 resolutions. For an extra $75 at the order screen, we highly recommend going with the latter, which ours came with.

Ports and connectivity

Like its predecessors in the EliteBook line, the 8560p has no lack of ports for connecting up to everything from projectors to portable hard drives. The right side of the notebook houses headphone and microphone jacks, two USB ports, a slim tray-loading DVD drive, and an Ethernet port towards the very rear. On the left, you’ll find an ExpressCard/54 slot, VGA connector, eSATA connector, FireWire (1394a) connector, and two more USB ports above an almost-too-hard-to-find SD card reader. Though the most recent crop of notebooks consumer notebooks typically eschew rear ports, HP has relocated some of its quirkier interfaces there, including the modem, DisplayPort, and oddly enough, a serial port. Unfortunately, the AC power connector has been banished to the rear as well, making it less convenient to connect and more prone to levering into tables when you lift the EliteBook from the front while it’s still plugged in. On the bottom, the EliteBook has a docking connector, and smartly enough, an entire panel that lifts away to give major easy access to the RAM and hard drive for upgrades.

HP EliteBook 8560p ports
Image used with permission by copyright holder


HP’s business notebooks bear little likeness to its junk-filled consumer notebooks out of the box, but that doesn’t mean they’re entirely clean slates. The EliteBook has shortcuts for a trial of Microsoft Office 2010, Norton Internet Security and HP Virtual Rooms waiting on the desktops. We were quick to trash all three, but we did dig up some useful preinstalled software waiting in the wings.

HP Power Assistant, which was one of our favorite utilities from previous EliteBooks, reappears better than ever, with new features including a history of power consumption and scheduling to let you taper down energy use at different times of day. You might, for instant, enforce conservative power settings in morning when you have an entire work day ahead of you, but flick energy savings off entirely entirely at 8 p.m. to watch movies.

For this year, HP has wrapped the sometimes daunting security features within ProtectTools in a new wizard, which makes it easier to setup enterprise features like data encryption, password managers, biometrics and smart card authentication. We were able to lock the notebook down with Fort Knox level security — fingerprints, face recognition, PIN codes and passwords — with about 10 minutes of setup, no IT degree necessary.

HP EliteBook 8560p Rear CaseHP QuickLook is essentially a lightweight version of Linux that boots up in seconds and delivers instant access to the Web. It’s not new for 2011, but the latest version includes widgets like weather, stocks, and even Skype to flesh out a mini desktop, and the company promises more will be on the way. The Linux platform hiding beneath HP’s branding can sometimes make QuickLook feel less than intuitive, especially when connecting to the Web, but the lack of polish makes it surprisingly spry, fulfilling its promise as a go-to tool for Web use.


With a full-power Core i7 inside and AMD Radeon HD 6470M inside, it takes a lot to really present a problem for the EliteBook 8560p, which will churn through the majority of computing tasks without batting an eye. Boatloads of tabs in a browser window? Absolutely. Fluid 1080p video playback? For sure. Image and video editing? Not a problem.

We put the EliteBook 8560p to the test with PCMark 7, which tests its capability across a range of desktop tasks including Web browsing, photo editing, and word processing. The EliteBook scored a clean 2,200. Because the benchmarking suite just launched in May, that doesn’t leave much room for comparison, so we used PCMark Vantage as well, where it scored 7,628 PCMarks. That leaves the previous EliteBooks we tested, which scored in the 5,000 range, in the dust.

We largely credit the addition of AMD’s Radeon HD 6470M for the boost in score, which shows up most notably when tossing around video and 3D graphics. Even the most steadfast office drone needs a break now and then, so we also took the liberty of testing some games. Even if you don’t plan on doing much gaming with the EliteBook 8560p, the 3D effects represent an excellent benchmark for comparing the EliteBook to other systems, and give some idea how it will perform in 3D work environments like CAD and CAM as well.

HP EliteBook 8560p Side OpenIn Mafia II, a demanding 2010 release that taxes even respectable gaming systems, the EliteBook 8560p was just able to keep up at its native 1600 x 900 resolution and low settings for shadows, ambient occlusion and other details. Gameplay clipped along at an acceptable — but not totally fluid — 20 to 30 frames per second. Crysis initially chugged along even worse at 1600 x 900 resolution and all settings to high, but dropping things to low were able to induce playability. Bottom line: The EliteBook has some gaming prowess, but don’t confuse it with a brute like the $5,000 Maingear eX-L 17. For designing threaded fasteners in Autodesk Inventor, it should be more than enough GPU.

Keyboard and trackpad

Solid metal chassis or not, most users will spend most of their time banging away at keys at swiping away at a touchpad below it, two points that have proven susceptible to long-term wear in budget notebooks. HP addressed the first with its DuraKeys in previous generations, which still appear here, but the trackpad is all new.

Like Apple’s MacBook trackpads, the EliteBook 8560p trackpad now uses chemically strengthened glass rather than plastic to resist wear, and it has also been supersized to fill almost all of the available palmrest room. The pad now spans a rough 2.25 inches by 4.25 inches, giving plenty of room for carefree multitouch mousing. For users who prefer the ease of a pointer nub in the keyboard, the EliteBook still has one, though the supersized touchpad buttons make it hard to find a place to rest your hand as you use it. Oddly enough, the trackpad performed extremely well on the desktop, but had trouble registering all of our swipes in both the games we tested with. Since it’s a business notebook anyway, we can’t hold it against it, but take note.

HP EliteBook 8560p Keyboard & Touch PadHP’s island-style keyboard offers a surprising amount of resistance with every keypress, which speaks to its durability but can cause temporary pause to users used to more dainty keys. A full numpad makes a useful addition for number crunchers used to dialing in digits at light speed with one hand.

If there’s any drawback to this otherwise clean package, it must be the catches for HP’s industrial-strength display latches. The die-cut holes have surprisingly sharp edges that can drag on your wrists as you shift them around to type. No blood drawn, but still a surprising oversight from such an otherwise thoughtfully engineered device.


Both the high-res and low-res screens come with an anti-glare coating, which allows the LED-backlit screen to shrug off sunlight and fluorescents to remain usable in just about any environment. Unfortunately, it also costs the EliteBook some of the vibrancy seen in glossy screens like the MacBook Pro’s — it just doesn’t have the “pop” and contrast that make the screens on entertainment notebooks woo viewers. It also tends toward the cool side of the color spectrum, and at full brightness it tends to look slightly washed out. Up-and-down and side-to-side viewing angles are about average.

HP EliteBook 8560p DisplayThe aluminum-alloy hinges on the EliteBook span the entire length of the chassis and feel like some of the most solid we’ve ever tested — you might actually want to use two hands to position the screen before it breaks in a little. They allow the display to recline far back to about 10 degrees from horizontal. That doesn’t quite match the gymnastic flexibility of many ThinkPads, but it’s a moot point unless you plan to engage in Quasimodo-style hunchback computing.

Battery life

A Core i7 processor and discrete graphics card plugging away inside manage to make relatively short work of the EliteBook’s standard six-cell, 55-watt-hour battery. You can plan on about four hours of operation under normal use like reading and Web browsing with 75-percent brightness, and less if you want to play video or other high-intensity activities. HP does offer 62- and 100-watt-hour batteries, that latter of which is rated for nine hours of battery life. Not bad, but remember that they’ll add to the already significant weight of the machine. While shorts stints away from the wall won’t challenge the 8560p, road warriors may want to think twice before leaving behind the wall adapter for the day.


The EliteBook 8560p uses two forward-firing speakers that you can clearly spot when you remove the one-piece bottom — they’re about the size and shape of horse pills, and just about as potent. At full volume, the EliteBook 8560p will easily fill a room with music, although, like any laptop, it gets progressively harsher after the 75 percent level. Even so, the notebook’s surprising voice should come in handy for sharing video and other audible forms of media with large groups of people.


Any number of notebooks come configured cheaper or lighter, but for brute processing power, comfortable, hard-wearing controls and durability, it would be hard to do better than HP’s industrial-strength EliteBook 8560p. With a starting price of $1,099, you’ll pay for all three luxuries, but together they represent a sound investment that should keep ticking well after competitors have fried hard drives, broken keys and hinges that will barely keep the screen up anymore (we’ve certainly encountered all three).


  • Industrial-strength chassis and hinges
  • Large, high-res display with effective anti-glare coating
  • Potent processors and discrete Radeon HD graphics
  • Comfortable keyboard and supersized glass trackpad
  • Incredibly complete array of ports
  • Attractive, professional looking design
  • Shockingly loud stereo speakers
  • Useful preinstalled utilities


  • Not as light or thing as competitors
  • Only four hours runtime with stock battery
  • Matte display lacks “pop” of glossy screens

Editors' Recommendations

Nick Mokey
As Digital Trends’ Managing Editor, Nick Mokey oversees an editorial team delivering definitive reviews, enlightening…
HP Spectre x360 vs. Microsoft Surface Book 2

One of the hottest high-end laptop comparisons we made in 2017 was pitting the HP Spectre x360 against the Microsoft Surface Book 2. Both are seriously top-tier notebooks with a ton of fantastic features and enough performance to rival even decently-powerful desktops in a variety of applications. While the Surface Book 2 may have won the day, that may not be the case forever. In 2018, HP came back with a vengeance with a second generation of its Spectre x360 15 and further built upon that design in late 2019.

We're covering the 2018 Spectre x360 in this comparison. If you want to check out the latest versions of both of these laptops, make sure to read our HP Spectre x360 13 (late 2019) review and Microsoft Surface Book 3 review.

Read more
HP’s refreshed EliteBook, ZBook Firefly come with a new pandemic-ready feature
hps refreshed elitebook zbook firefly come with a new pandemic ready feature hp x360 830 g8 tent

HP is refreshing its EliteBook and ZBook notebooks, bringing to creators some of the latest silicon and tech features, like Intel's 11th-Gen processors, Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and even always-on 4G LTE network access. Consumers and those working from home during this global pandemic will also be happy to know that in addition to the promised performance this refresh brings, HP is also making it easy to sanitize these laptops.

While the laptops down can be wiped down with common household wipes, you can also activate HP's Easy Clean mode with a push of a button. This disables all the inputs on the device -- like the touchscreen, keyboard, and trackpad -- so you can wipe down the EliteBook and ZBook models without having to turn off your system, making these laptops perfect for mobile productivity during the global pandemic.

Read more
You can finally buy Samsung’s ultra-slim, Intel-powered Galaxy Book S
samsung galaxy book s review hands on 6

Starting today, you can grab the Intel version of Samsung's Galaxy Book S for as low as $949. With the launch of the Galaxy Book S, Samsung is forcing the ultimate showdown between Intel's Lakefield hybrid chip and Qualcomm's emerging ARM-based Snapdragon processor for Windows PCs. In addition to the "Intel Inside" version of the Galaxy S, Samsung also has the same laptop design available in a configuration that features a Snapdragon 8cx processor.

There are some differences between the two versions. The biggest benefit with going with the Intel Core i5-powered Galaxy Book S is compatibility with apps. Even though the Snapdragon version can emulate apps, a common complaint in the past with the Snapdragon 8cx platform is that emulated apps can take longer to launch and often times run slower than on a comparable x86 system with Intel or AMD processors.

Read more