The HP ProBook 4515s (£369 inc. VAT) strikes an effective balance between power and mobility and proves a success despite minor flaws.
While the 2.5kg chassis quite wide, the use of lightweight plastic means it isn't very heavy. If the size doesn't put you off, you can work quite comfortably on the move, thanks to the excellent 205-minute battery life.
While build quality is suitably sturdy for most use, it has a slightly low-quality feel to it and lacks the resilience we'd like to see in a business machine. Glossy plastics are used on the lid and throughout the user interface, and are quickly covered by smudges and fingerprints, requiring regular cleaning.
The 15.6-inch panel's 16:9 aspect ratio is ideal for watching movies, and multi-tasking. Images are sharp and bright, but colour and contrast are weak, making the screen often appear washed out.
Unlike its rivals, the keyboard uses a so-called isolation design, whereby each key protrudes through a hole in the chassis. This provides plenty of space between the keys and typing is always comfortable. The board rattles very slightly when typing, however.
Unusually, this laptop uses an AMD processor and a dedicated graphics card. The CPU provides very basic performance, so don't expect to multi-task with any degree of speed. Conversely, the GPU is powerful enough for photo and video editing and also playing HD videos.
Storage is average at 160GB, but it will still hold large quantities of files. Data can also be saved to CDs, DVDs and memory cards via the DVD rewriter and 5-in-1 card reader.
Where this laptop really stands out is its excellent extra features. The DVD drive provides full LightScribe functionality. This allows you to burn images and text directly on to the surface of compatible discs, providing an easy and tidy way to catalogue your discs with style.
The hard drive features 3D DriveGuard technology to protect your data. Should the laptop be dropped, the disk automatically parks its heads to prevent scratching the disk's surface. Finally, an integrated camera is fitted above the screen for live video-conferencing.
Overall, the ProBook 4515s is a feature-packed and highly usable laptop. Its mixed performance and low-quality build mean that it's not ideal for intensive use, but for an affordable, fully-featured business laptop, it's a great choice.
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