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HP EliteBook 8730w Mobile Workstation review

Offering the power of a workstation in a portable package has a lot of appeal. We check out this seriously heavyweight offering from HP.

Those that dislike the trackpad are catered for by the trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard: there are another three mouse buttons to go with it beneath the space bar. Finally, HP makes use of the EliteBook's width: there's a full number pad to the right of the main set of keys: a Godsend for those who spend a lot of time working with numbers.

You're just as well spoilt when it comes to ports. The graphical options are D-SUB and HDMI, and there are four USB ports around the EliteBook's good-looking body. A top-end addition is an eSATA port on the right hand side, and the front edge is host to a memory card reader that can deal with all the major formats except CompactFlash.

The security-conscious will appreciate the SmartCard reader that can be used for physical security tokens, and security is further bolstered by the fingerprint reader on the right of the wrist rest, and the inclusion of a TPM 1.2 chip. The EliteBook conforms to Intel's vPro specifications, which means remote management is easier. AMT (Active Management Technology) enables IT bosses to monitor the health of their hardware and to diagnose problems even if a system is shut down.

It all adds up to a superb system. The EliteBook feels as though it could survive a gunshot, and is a joy to work on thanks to the brilliantly-engineered keyboard and simply superb screen it may be the best we've ever seen on a laptop, and professionals who count this as their portable workstation are lucky indeed. The only problem is the price: the EliteBook costs more than 2,000 before VAT. But there's no denying its power, or its workstation credentials. The gorgeous screen is the cherry on top.

Verdict

It’s very expensive, but this is a well-made notebook with a beautiful screen. There’s plenty of graphical horsepower available and a good range of features to back it up. The size and weight means that you won’t want to be carrying it around too often, but if you want a workstation that takes up less space than a tower then the HP EliteBook 8730w is a solid choice.

CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9600 Memory: 4GB DDR2 RAM Storage: 320GB 7,200rpm Network: Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g/draft-n networking Management: Intel vPro Ports: 4 x USB; eSATA, mini-FireWire Screen: 17in 1,920 x 1,080 TFT Graphics: Nvidia Quadro FX 2700M Security: Fingerprint reader, TPM 1.2 module, SmartCard reader Weight: 3.65kg (Travelling weight 4.61kg) Dimensions: 393 x 282 x 32mm (WDH)

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