The 14in HP EliteBook 8460p (LW959PA) is almost a perfect business laptop. However, at $4099 it's a very expensive tool.
The notebook has a semi-rugged design, with a magnesium-reinforced chassis that managed to survive a lot of downward pressure in our tests before bending. Similarly, its aluminium lid withstood a lot of force: Only small puddles appeared on the screen when we tried to bend the lid and also when we applied torsional movement.
As a consequence of the EliteBook 8460p being so well built, it's quite heavy for a 14in laptop. It tipped our scales at just over 2.4kg, which is about 400g more than we were expecting. It's almost as heavy as a 15.6in notebook, and it's also heavier than the 14in EliteBook 8440p that we reviewed around the same time last year. It can be a little tiring to carry around in a briefcase or backpack-style notebook bag with its power supply, which is a sizable power brick.
The HP EliteBook 8460p's 14in screen has a matte finish, which means you won't be cursing reflections, and it sports a plentiful 1600x900-pixel resolution, which is enough space to line up two office documents side-by-side. However, the AMD Radeon HD 6470 graphics adapter and DisplayPort interface can be used to drive higher-resolution external monitors.
You won't find consumer-targetted ports such as HDMI on this laptop, but you do get USB 3.0 and eSATA, as well as Gigabit Ethernet, an SD card slot, FireWire, an ExpressCard/54 expansion slot and a smartcard reader; it even includes golden oldies such as a 56Kbps modem and a VGA port. You also get a DVD burner, although this can be replaced with a second hard drive or a weight saver.
Other features include Bluetooth, a dual-band Wi-Fi module (Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN) and an integrated 3G modem and SIM card reader (HP HS2340 HSPA). Its dual-band Wi-Fi worked like a treat during our tests, as did its 3G modem. We were able to use our iiNet SIM card, which runs on the Optus network, without any problems at all. After we plugged in the card, the Optus APN (access point name) appeared in Windows 7's wireless network list. HP supplies its own HP Connection Manager software, which allows you to see exactly how much data is going up and down via the mobile broadband connection, and it also allows you to send and receive SMS from the laptop.
The HP EliteBook 8460p performed well in our speed tests, which is what we expected considering the high-end quad-core CPU in its chassis. The configuration of our test model included an Intel Core i7-2720QM CPU with a frequency of 2.2GHz, four cores and Hyper-Threading; 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, the aforementioned AMD Radeon HD 6470 graphics adapter with 1GB of RAM, and a 160GB, SATA II solid state drive (an Intel SSDSA2M160G2HP model).
For security, the HP EliteBook 8460p offers a smartcard reader, a fingerprint reader and facial recognition, and in addition to Windows login security, you can also set initial boot-up security. The fingerprint reader was a little hit-and-miss during our tests and we often had to swipe two or three times before it would work.
Drive encryption and file shredding are present, along with the ability to disable hardware components depending on the user. These are part of the HP ProtectTools suite, which we have talked about before in our review of the ProBook 6540b, for example. The laptop has TPM, supports vPro, and it has anti-theft features that can be enabled — a one-year Computrace subscription can cost up to $75 depending on the level of service.
The HP EliteBook 8460p is one of the best laptops on the market. Whether it's worth the high asking price is another story. It's very fast, it's very well built, it's comfortable to use and it has good security features. However, it's also heavy, it could use a backlit keyboard and we wish it didn't take so long to set up initially. Nevertheless, if you can convince your purse handlers in your company that it's a good purchase, then we think you'll be very happy with it.
Original review: Elias Plastiras, PC World Australia.