Here at Stuff towers we like our tech be fun, with a strong sprinkling of gadget joy. But sometimes the world and its ‘professionlism’ insists that we pack a sensible, business laptop with a great spec sheet. A laptop like HP’s EliteBook 6930p.
It may look bland, but as a workhorse this HP is as close to perfect as you can currently get. Not only is there a hardy 80GB solid-state drive, it has a frankly awesome battery life that’ll keep it going through the longest of plane journeys, and a bit more.
Tough nut to crack
The 6930p is certainly up to withstanding the rigours of your average business trip, too. It meets military standards for ruggedness against dust and humidity, while the use of solid-state storage ensures the drive won't succumb to damage if treated a little roughly.
Typing is a joy, and the keyboard is one of the most comfortable on a laptop we've had the pleasure of tapping away on, with excellent travel and responsiveness in the well-sized and placed keys.
Unlike cheaper models in HP's business range, the trackpad eschews lever-style buttons for a more standard style that are light and easily clickable. If a trackpad isn't your cup of tea, you could opt for the included trackpoint and buttons instead, which are equally comfortable and capable.
The comfort doesn't stop there, either, with the matt finish to the 1280x800 screen ensuring there'll be no squinting in bright light.
Okay, so the resolution isn't the highest we've seen on a 14.1in laptop, but it's crisp and clear enough for business purposes. Colours appear slightly faded and with a blue cast, but it's a minor flaw.
Getting down to business
If you are using it for work, the additions and inclusions are top notch. Aside from the 80GB SSD that helps extend the battery life and reduce the overall weight, there's an optical drive, slots for smartcards and Expresscard peripherals, a docking port, card reader, and security in the form of fingerprint reader, drive encryption and BIOS lock.
For red-eye flights there's a light at the top of the screen bezel to illuminate the keyboard, while Bluetooth, Wireless-N and Gigabit Ethernet will keep you connected at decent speed wherever you find yourself.
There's no HSDPA in this model, but that's the only fault we can find. Admittedly, VGA stands alone as far as video outputs go, but for a laptop intended for business users this is ample, and works well for presentations.
The 6930p is no slouch in the performance department either. The combination of Centrino 2, 2.4GHz P8600 processor and 2GB RAM gives it enough grunt to run creative and graphics applications without any problems – even with a turn of speed.
Battery that goes on...and on
Ironically, the thing that makes the HP 6930p near-perfect is the same thing that may drive away others in droves. HP claims 21 hours of battery life, with the optional extra oversized extended battery. The price you pay for that longevity is the massive weight of the longlife battery.
It pushes the 6930p's heft from 2.4kg up to a considerably weightier 3.1kg without the power brick, or a stonking 3.54kg with it. The extra battery itself weighs 815g, so it's nearly a kilogram of additional weight for those precious additional hours.
Whether that trade-off is worth it comes down to your need for portability over battery life. It's a trade-off few like to make, but in this case, we think it's worth it.
You'll get well over 12 hours of standard use from this laptop: enough for a long-haul flight, and a couple of hours in the airport beforehand. You can even charge the extended battery separately, so you should never be caught short.
The extra battery costs £160, and we have a niggling complaint about that extra weight, but the HP 6930p is still a deserving member of our elite five-star crew.