HP ProBook 6360b

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HP ProBook 6360b Empty HP ProBook 6360b

Post  zlahstu001 on Wed May 30, 2012 5:59 am

Sometimes an extra 100MHz isn’t worth the money. The HP ProBook 6360b business laptop costs $989 (direct) as one of HP’s ready-to-ship models with a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2450M processor, 500GB hard drive, and three-year parts and labor warranty. Our test configuration, however, had a slightly quicker 2.6GHz Core i5-2540M CPU and slightly smaller 320GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive. To match it, we had to go into the custom configurator on HP’s enterprise site and spend $1,699. That’s misleading because such corporate custom orders are rarely for quantities of one—rather, they’re for IT-department buys that earn volume discounts—but still, we’d gladly settle for the 2.5GHz model and appreciate the ProBook 6360b’s other charms at the expense of unnoticeably slower times in stopwatch tests.

And charms there are, though in a somewhat dated design. HP’s ProBook line slots in below the company’s EliteBook series as a mainstream, value-conscious choice for small to medium businesses and the likes of government offices and educational institutions. The ProBook 6360b is a 13.3-inch ultraportable with a burnished aluminum lid with latch and a magnesium-reinforced ABS plastic chassis and HP Laptop Keyboard . Though not business-rugged like the EliteBooks, it features a bottom case with a drain to help protect against minor spills.

The ProBook 6360b is of course rectangular, not square, but we found ourselves thinking of it as square in a “not hip, daddy-o” way: It’s a bland-looking slab measuring 1.3 by 12.7 by 8.7 inches (HWD) and weighing 4.8 pounds—definitely on the hefty side compared to, for instance, our Editors’ Choice ultraportable, the 3.2-pound Toshiba Portege R835-P88 .The 13.3-inch screen offers the usual 1,366 by 768 resolution and a nice matte antiglare finish. Text and fine details looked crisp and colors were vivid across a moderate range of viewing angles. Brightness and contrast were good as long as we kept the backlight to its top three or four settings. Audio is decently loud and clear.

Its chiclet-style HP Laptop Keyboard could be the 6360b’s best feature. The layout is faultless, with dedicated Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys (albeit with HP’s usual laptop quirk of half-sized up and down arrows sandwiched between full-sized left and right arrows), and the slightly scalloped keys fit the fingers comfortably. Typing feel is firm, with good travel. Both a touchpad and pointing stick are on hand for mouse maneuvers; the twin pairs of buttons work smoothly but the concave stick doesn’t grip the finger as well as one of Lenovo’s TrackPoints.Three buttons above the HP laptop keyboard toggle Wi-Fi, launch your Web browser, and mute audio. When the ProBook 6360b is switched off, the middle button launches QuickWeb, which (once configured for a favorite Wi-Fi network) brings up a browser and widgets such as a stock ticker and weather and news headlines in about 20 seconds without booting Windows.

Don’t look for Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) for giving presentations on an HDTV set—the ProBook 6360b doesn’t even have a wired HDMI port. Nor will you find USB 3.0 for connecting up-to-date storage devices. Instead, the HP has four USB 2.0 ports—one a USB/eSATA combo port—along with Ethernet, FireWire, VGA, DisplayPort, and 56Kbps modem ports, plus microphone and headphone jacks. There’s an ExpressCard slot on the left side, just above the DVD±RW drive, and an SD/MMC media reader on the front bezel.

Broadcom 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless are standard, as is a docking-station connector on the laptop’s bottom. A fingerprint reader below the HP Keyboard gives added security, as does the HP ProtectTools suite preloaded on the 320GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive. The latter is a set of utilities that helps with functions such as encrypting data, managing passwords and authentication, and sanitizing files—overwriting and deleting them so they can’t be recovered. Our ProBook had a three-year upgrade to the standard one-year limited warranty, which offers pick-up or carry-in protection with no on-site service

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