The HP ProBook 4520s is a stylish 15-inch business laptop. It is based on the Intel Core i3-350M processor, offers very good performance, and marries one-of-a-kind looks and design with adequate business features without upsetting your budget overmuch.
Like the previously reviewed 14-inch ProBook 4410s, the HP ProBook 4520s is a stylish business laptop unlike any other we've seen from any laptop manufacturer. It comes in two colors - caviar and bourdeaux. Our review unit had the caviar color scheme, which is sort of a dark metallic brown splashed on the screen lid and palmrest. The screen lid has a finely polished texture and it feels rich and premium -- ditto the ProBook 4520s' palmrest. The keyboard strip is entirely black consisting of black chiclet-styled keys. Overall, the HP ProBook 4520s black-on-brown color scheme isn't too loud or jazzy, but isn't dull (like a ThinkPad X301, for example) either -- it's close to perfect.
The ProBook 4520s is very well built for a 15-inch laptop, with its twin central hinges ably supporting the screen with the rest of the chassis. The entire laptop with a six-cell battery weighs in at 2.5-kg, which is lighter in comparison to other 15-inch laptops we've reviewed like Dell Studio 15 Artist Edition, Lenovo IdeaPad Y550, and Acer Aspire 5740.
The ProBook 4520s comes with a comprehensive security services and feature suite that we haven't seen on any other business laptop in some time.
The HP ProBook 4520s has a 15.6-inch glossy LED-backlit screen that supports a 1366x768 pixel resolution--unlike the ProBook 4410s which came with a matte screen. However, the HP ProBook 4520s' screen isn't excessively glary and works well in both indoor and outdoor scenarios. The screen isn't very bright, say like the 13-inch Apple MacBook or Samsung R470 laptop, but it's evenly lit and reading text or watching movies is very well handled by it. The ProBook 4520s screen has very good horizontal viewing angles.
As far as keyboard and touchpad goes, the HP ProBook 4520s laptop has got it pretty much spot on. The laptop's isolated, chiclet-styled keys are very well laid out and a treat to type on. The keyboard also has a dedicated number pad on the right. The brushed palmrest is raised, nice and wide, great to park your wrists on while typing. The HP ProBook 4250s' touchpad is finely textured and very responsive. The touchpad is gesture-enabled for rotating images, zooming in, pan out, and scrolling through Web pages -- and all the gestures work just fine. And like the HP Mini 210 netbook, the ProBook 4520s incorporates its two mouse buttons within the touchpad. Its 2MP webcam is great for video chats over Skype, and slightly better than what we found on recently reviewed laptops.
A minor hiccup: if you aren't careful while typing, the left hand is prone to encroach on the touchpad -- which is placed a little to the left. It's not a deal-breaker, by any way, just a thing you get used to over time.
The HP ProBook 4520s has a decent set of core hardware components for a laptop targeted for businesses. It's powered off an Intel Core i3-350M 2.26-GHz processor, 3GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, and onboard Intel GMA HD graphics. It comes with a DVD Writer, four USB, eSATA, HDMI, audio, and VGA-out ports. Not only this, the HP ProBook 4520s also incorporates Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth 2.1 wireless connectivity. A 2MP webcam and mic, ExpressCard slot, multicard reader, and fingerprint reader completes the HP ProBook 4520s' impressive feature set -- unrivalled by any laptop in our Top 5 Mainstream Laptops listing.
The HP ProBook 4520s comes with a standard six-cell battery and runs on 32-bit Windows 7 Professional edition. This business laptop from HP also comes with a set of proprietary software that's quite useful -- it isn't bloatware.
HP deploys a very unique ProtectTools console on the ProBook 4520s which lets you do a lot of critical stuff in terms of security. You can encrypt your hard drive, secure onboard data, even have a pre-boot security step to prevent unauthorized access to the ProBook 4520s. There's also a very useful File Sanitizer feature which lets you overwrite your hard drive multiple times with meaningless data to make sure deleted data is gone for good. What's more, with biometric features like face detection and fingerprint swipe, logging in to the system is extremely easy. A comprehensive security services and feature suite that we haven't seen on any other business laptop in some time.
The HP ProBook 4520s also comes with a PC Dock which lets you customize its programs. HP Advisor, another proprietary software, lets you launch the ProBook 4520s' backup tool, look for driver updates, and a whole lot of things.
The HP ProBook 4520s performs pretty well. With a WorldBench 6 score of 89, PC Mark 05 score of 4992, and Cinebench score of 5778, the ProBook 4520s represents scores similar to our Top Mainstream Laptop recommendations. With the ProBook 4520s' business laptop billing and its lack of a dedicated graphics, gaming is not an option on this laptop. However, you can tune into that occasional movie while taking a break from work, and the ProBook 4520s does a pretty good job here. Both 720p and 1080p HD videos played smoothly on the HP ProBook 4520s, and its audio-visual experience was good. Its onboard speakers -- placed between the keyboard and hinge -- provided loud but thin audio playback. The HP ProBook 4520s comes with useful business features and has the hardware specs and performance of a regular mainstream laptop.
Battery life is the only problem we uncovered in the ProBook 4520s' otherwise impressive package. We managed to extract 1 hour 10 minutes on high performance mode and full screen brightness on a single charge from its six-cell battery, which is pretty average -- nothing great. However, while browsing the Web over Wi-Fi, I managed to squeeze just over 3 hours.
The HP ProBook 4520s is definitely better than the ProBook 4410s and sells for Rs. 45,200. For its business laptop billing, it is a breath of fresh air in terms of looks and design. The ProBook 4520s comes with a very useful set of proprietary software, especially for data security -- an essential requirement for a self-respecting business laptop. If you want a stylish business laptop which offers mainstream performance and has useful software and services, you can't go wrong with the HP ProBook 4520s.