HP’s Probook line gets a design upgrade, still all business

HP Probook 430_front

Business laptop makers usually worry less about how the machine looks and more about the practical design elements like number of ports, removable battery, and spill-resistant keyboards. There are a handful of slick-looking business rigs out there, and HP is about to add a few more. Later this month the HP Probook 400 series will hit the market in sizes ranging from 13.3 to 17.3 inches. They’ll have all the expected features but sport unexpectedly attractive designs. 

These new Probooks could easily masquerade as one of HP’s high-end consumer laptops. They share some of the same design language as some recent HP Envys and Touchsmarts: the swoopy lift at the back edges, tapered sides, and wide touchpad. The metal deck keeps it serious with a Meteorite Grey color that looks elegant. We also like the look of the rubberesque coating on the lid. The no-slip material makes for easy carrying around the office and won’t show fingerprints too readily. These laptops are so eye-catching that they wouldn’t look out of place on the shelf at Best Buy.

This series is thinner and lighter than the previous generation, but all the ports business users expect are still here. All of the Probook 400s have VGA and HDMI out plus Ethernet and at least two USB 3.0 ports, even the 13.3-inch Probook 430. The 14-, 15.6-, and 17.3-inch models (Probook 440, 445, 450, 455, 470) add an optical drive on top of that. Add to that the toughness that business users and frequent travelers require: drop protection, spill-resistant keyboard, encryption, BIOS-level security, and a fingerprint reader for accessing a password vault. 

There are multiple options for internal specs for each Probook, as is befitting the many and various needs of enterprise users. Both Intel and AMD processors; mechanical hard drive, hybrid, or SSD; Windows 7 or Windows 8. We also like that the laptops can act as mobile hotspots, sharing their wireless connection with other devices. 

The Probook 400 series will be available later this month. Prices start at $500 on HP.com.