HP has very quickly become the number two when it comes to computer design, nipping on the heels of Apple’s industrial design genius. The ProBook 5330m brings that style to the business world.
For the last two years HP has made a massive effort to improve the aesthetics of its laptops. The effort has paid off and the ProBook 5330m is one of the many results of the fruits of HPs labour. While the Envy range of HP laptops is for the consumer set, the ProBook brings beauty to the business world with a few options you probably wouldn’t have thought about.
As a business laptop, HP has hit the mark on the two most important things: price and spec. Starting at just $999 and with a range of options, you can make what you want of the ProBook 5330m. It means almost anyone in the business world can get their mits on one of these and those that need more power can make it happen. The basic ProBook 5330m will put an Intel Core i3 processor with 4GB or RAM, 500GB hard drive and 13.3-inch screen in your hands. Where you go from there is up to how much money you’re willing to drop on the device.
Being a business laptop, the ProBook 5330m is built for movement. At just 17mm thick, it is easily portable, a fact hammered home by the sub-2kg weight. This hasn’t affected the build quality though, which is seriously solid with amazingly firm keys (a great thing) and a great trackpad. But HP has decided that men on the move (sure, women will like it too, but this is a men’s website after all) need one more thing – serious audio quality. Before you start laughing… Beats Audio. Yes, that’s right, HP has stuck Beats by Dr. Dre technology into the ProBook 5330m, just like it does in its Envy laptops.
So what exactly does this mean for the ProBook 5330m? Will you finally be able to ditch the MP3 player or crappy phone quality music for wonderfully rich sounds from your laptop, of all things? The short answer is no, but to be honest, the quality is much improved over a standard laptop audio set up.
The problem is that it’s still a laptop. There are immense limitations acoustically when it comes to something so thin and light. What Beats by Dr. Dre do is improve the general quality to make it almost enjoyable to listen to. If you have headphones, even better – the result is superior to what you would get from your iPad with headphones on. It’s still not going to make you want to play the sounds loud though. Bass is minimal, highs can be too sharp and clarity is muddied under pressure when a large amount of instruments or voices is involved.
But lets be fair, it’s a big improvement on what laptops have to offer. The reason why we’re possibly being a bit too harsh is that HP set a precedent with the Envy range featuring Beats. Those laptops were an improvement one or two steps beyond what is done with the ProBook 5330m. So if you’re expecting that sort of performance, don’t, but you’ll still be impressed.
If you’re wondering why we are harping on about the sound quality, the Beats name is a big thing these days, so any device carrying the name and technology needs to be scrutinised heavily in terms of its music performance. That done, and with us suitably impressed with the overall package, if not blown away by the sound, we hereby end this review.
Oh, and one more thing. Would we buy it? Not 100 per cent sure, but we would certainly consider it.
Price: From $999