HP has made sure the EliteBook has almost every feature business users could want; it's tough, performs very well and has good battery life. The 12in 2540p is a perfect size for taking on the move, but at over 1,200 ex VAT the top-end model we looked at carries a large price premium over our current favourite Windows ultra-portable, Sony's excellent VAIO SB1V9E. If you don't need Windows or the security features and can settle for slower applications performance, the Apple 13in MacBook Air is not only cheaper but has even longer battery life.
Although it can be customised with a lower specification, it's also worth highlighting that HP has recently announced several new business models powered by Intel Sandy Bridge processors. The 2540p is a great ultra-portable business laptop, but if you're after the best price-performance balance it could still be worth waiting to see what becomes available in the next few months.
The EliteBook 2540p is an extremely sturdy laptop with long battery life and excellent portability, but it struggles to compete with laptops that have longer battery life or use Intel’s latest processors. It's still a good choice if you’re looking for an ultra-portable with lots of security features right now, but bear in mind it will be superseded by newer Sandy Bridge models in the next six months.
Processor: Intel Core i7 640LM, 2.13GHz Memory: 4GB 667MHz DDR3 RAM Graphics: Intel GMA 3000 Hard disk: 160GB Solid State Disk Display: 12.1in 1,280x800, LED-backlit screen Features: two megapixel camera, microphone, stereo speakers, fingerprint reader, smartcard reader Connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi Ports: 3 x USB2, 1x FireWire 400 four-pin, 1 x VGA, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HP docking connector, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x modem, 1 x ExpressCard/34, 1 x SD/MMC memory card reader, 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo audio socket Dimensions: 282x213x28mm (WxDxH) Weight: 1.8kg Warranty: 3 year customer carry-in warranty OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Part code: WK304EA