HP ProBook 5330m review

A powerful ultra-portable laptop with an excellent screen, but it suffers from poor battery life

HP ProBook 5330m
The look of this business laptop has divided opinion here

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HP probook 5330m

As expected, the HP ProBook 5330m features Intel's latest technology, the Sandy Bridge processor. It's a Core i5 2520M running at 2.5GHz, and combined with 4GB of RAM, it turned in one of the best ultra-portable benchmarking performances of recent times.

While the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 just inched ahead, the HP ProBook 5330m is more than capable of running any software you throw at it. Performance is strong enough to last you years, so you won't need to upgrade to a newer model any time soon.

Unless, that is, you suddenly develop a burning need to run complex video editing software or play the latest games.

The HP ProBook 5330m uses the Sandy Bridge architecture's built-in GPU to render images, and while the second-generation Core i5 processors are much more capable than their elder brethren, they're still limited compared to a machine with dedicated graphics.

So while you can comfortably play around with your photos and enjoy HD films, anything more complicated will likely result in shonky, shuddering performance.

HP probook 5330m

For instance, our 3D Mark benchmarking software struggled when it came to rendering cutscenes. Frame rates of 10fps were common, so recent titles such as Portal 2 are unplayable. Only older games can be played with anything resembling smoothness, and that's with the graphics settings on minimum.

With its thin and light body, we were hoping the HP ProBook 5330m's battery life would further boost portability. Unfortunately, the laptop died after just 139 minutes of watching video.

This is below average for an Intel Core machine, and we'd usually expect closer to three hours of life from a single charge. Only the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 gave more disappointing battery life recently.

If you cut back to basic usage – for instance, working on your accounts or bashing out emails – then you should manage just over three hours. However, considering our average daily commute is perilously close to that, we still found ourselves lugging the charger wherever we went.

3DMark 2006 – 3690
Cinebench - 10646
Battery Eater '05 – 139 mins