HP probook 5330m

Snapping at the Lenovo ThinkPad X1's heels is HP's latest ultra-portable business PC laptop, the ProBook 5330m.

The 1.9kg aluminium frame is just 28mm thick and surprisingly tough, but can it deliver the kind of top performance we'd expect from a modern business machine?

We liked

The light and compact body means the HP ProBook 5330m is no chore to carry around. Despite the slender build, Intel's Sandy Bridge Core i5 processor provides excellent performance, able to multi-task with ease. You won't need to replace this laptop any time soon.

Security is also a highlight. You can log in using your fingerprints or even your face, and easily encrypt your data using HP's pre-installed software.

But it isn't all about work. Movies look great on the bright, sharp and colourful 13.3-inch screen, despite the lack of a glossy Super-TFT coating. Even the built-in Beats speakers are decent, although a little weak on top volume. You can carry around a decent-sized media collection thanks to the 500GB hard drive.

HP probook 5330m

We disliked

While the Intel processor on the HP ProBook 5330m is impressively powerful, it also has to handle graphics, because there's no dedicated GPU. If you want to play the latest games or edit some video, this isn't the machine for you.

We were also disappointed to see the battery deplete after little more than two hours of regular use. Cut back to basic operations and you'll squeeze a little more life from it, but this is a big shame considering the ultra-portable build.

The design also split opinions, and we would have preferred a more curved, friendly appearance. The word 'desirable' can't be thrown at the boxy shell, no matter how durable or slim it is. We also found the occasional key press didn't register, despite the otherwise excellent build quality.

Verdict

Performance and build quality are what we'd expect, and if you need a secure and portable business machine then the HP ProBook 5330m is a good option.

Unfortunately, the niggly usability is irritating and the poor battery life means you'll be lugging the charger around.