Upgrading? A new business laptop that’s recession-friendly

April 29, 2009

probook1A laptop is perhaps the most crucial device in the entrepreneur’s toolkit. Sure, they may not ooze cool like a BlackBerry, iPhone or netbook, but business notebooks remain indispensable because they combine mobility with greater processing punch and tighter security. If only they were easier on the bottom line.

Now, PC-maker Hewlett-Packard hopes to entice users at small and medium-sized companies with the latest in its family of business laptops, a line being touted as both inexpensive and “chic”.  Starting at $529, the ProBooks S-series comes in 14-inch, 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch-screen sizes, with the option of adding a “merlot” finish.

Over at PC World, the verdict after a quick “hands-on” is that the ProBook’s greatest strength lies in its broad range of software offerings. “That ‘s’ in the name is all about software,” writes Darren Gladstone. Enhanced security tools that allow for greater control over data and QuickLook2 (which allows you to access e-mail, your calendar and contact info without having to log into your operating system) are among the model’s more business-minded features.

Also notable, HP gives buyers the option of having a Linux-based operating system pre-installed on the laptop should you want an alternative to Microsoft’s ubiquitous (and much-slagged) Windows Vista package. Champions of Linux trumpet better stability, fewer viruses and a wealth of free applications as reasons to consider switching.

HP also promises you’ll get more wear out of the ProBook. It’s equipped with a spill-resistant keyboard and a 3D DriveGuard, which protects the hard drive should someone clumsily fumble the laptop. Another physical feature that should interest number crunchers is the integrated numeric keyboard that comes on some of the larger models.

Finally, if you spend a lot of time on the road you may find the models with a built-in wireless Gobi broadband option enticing. As one tech news site puts it, “users who purchase a Gobi-enabled notebook will be able to activate wireless service on almost any major 3G network worldwide.”

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A spill-resistant keyboard thats great, I lost my last laptop because of a spilled cup of coffee. It’s also time that the solid state drive becomes the standard harddrive in notebooks.