Review HP EliteBook 8560p Notebook
Elegant powerhouse. The HP Elitebook 8560p-LQ589AW really stands out with its new and high-end platinum-style aluminium case. And then there’s the hardware: a second generation Core i5 processor, HD graphics from AMD and a large 15.6-inch matt display. The HP notebook costs around €1200 in this configuration. A real steal, given the current price of precious metal?
This HP business notebook, the Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW, has a new and professional-looking design. Instead of using the usual black plastic or aluminium for this series, HP has opted for a compact case which is made of aluminium but looks like platinum. Only the underside of this model is made of black plastic. The aluminium case should protect the laptop very well against dust, moisture, high temperatures, jolts and falls.
The Elitebook 8560p-LQ589AW is fitted with a matt HD display with a 39.6 cm (15.6 inch) diagonal and a resolution of 1600 x 900, a fast Core i5 Sandy Bridge processor (2540M), and a dedicated ATI graphics card (HD 6470M). HP also offers these business machines with other processors and graphics options.
The price of the Elitebook 8560p-LQ589AW depends on the hardware configuration; our review model with a Core i5-2540M, 4 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive and an ATI HD 6470M costs around €1200.
The case, largely made out of high-quality aluminium, is one of the highlights of the laptop along with the internal hardware. It is specially designed for the business customer who travels a lot and is particularly demanding when it comes to outdoor use. The choice of materials makes the notebook very sturdy. The lid that houses the 15.6-inch display does not flex in any direction, and nor does the top of the keyboard. Even under heavy pressure, the material does not give way in the least.
The workmanship is exemplary and makes the Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW extremely robust. As it’s a business notebook, HP has done without any further visual gimmicks; they just aren’t needed for this model. According to the manufacturer, the notebook will survive even heavy jolting, having been developed in line with military standards (MIL-STD 810G). We decided to refrain from a drop test of our own, since the laptop is on loan to us from Comtech.
The compact case and the aluminium surfaces are also very resistant to fingerprints, as well as environmental factors such as dust, heat or moisture. The integrated keyboard is protected against spills.
The notebook’s dimensions of 374 x 34 x 251 mm are normal for a 15.6-inch screen. The weight of 2.7 kg is a little more than usual. Added to that is 500 g for the 90 W mains adaptor.
HP has included every port that you could need in a business notebook. Expansion options are positioned on the notebook’s two sides: the laptop comes with two USB 3.0 ports as well as two USB 2.0. The USB 2.0 ports are placed on the left-hand side, while the ports with USB 3.0 support are on the right. There is also an eSATA/USB combo port on the left-hand side. The spaces between the ports are rather small; if you wanted to use two fairly wide USB sticks side-by-side, they could conflict with each other.
The HP Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW is also fitted with a VGA port, an IEEE 1394 (Firewire) port and an RS233 (serial port).
There are two audio ports, one for use with headphones and the other for a microphone. An RJ45 LAN port can be found next to the DVD burner on the right-hand side. If you then look round the corner at the back of the laptop, you will see the modem port, RS232, power socket, and the DisplayPort to the far left.
Also on the left-hand side is the reader for SD and MMC memory cards. Lastly, there is a PC Card Express/54 slot, also on the left. Despite having so many ports, the sides of the notebook do not look overcrowded.
The Elitebook 8560p has several options for connecting to your local network or the internet. One is the Gigabit LAN port, which is included as standard. But for this you always need the appropriate network cable and it limits the user’s freedom of movement. Another option is wireless LAN, conforming to the IEEE 802.11 b/g/n standard. You can also connect via Bluetooth. An antiquated 56k modem has also been included.
Security is always an important issue for business notebooks in particular. Obviously you don’t want other people to be able to view or copy the information on your notebook. For this reason the notebook is equipped with a fingerprint scanner, which only grants access to the system when the correct fingerprint passes over the sensor. Further security features include hard drive encryption, password protection for BIOS and a Kensington security lock mechanism.
HP has kept to the bare minimum here. Other than a few leaflets and various CDs, the notebook arrives only with its mains adaptor.
HP provides a limited three-year warranty for the notebook and the battery. There is also the option of HP’s on-site repair service and an extension of the warranty to 5 years.
The QWERTZ keyboard is another eye-catching feature. It is spill-resistant, and its freestanding keys are comfortable to use. There is a separate number pad next to the main keyboard. Several functions are doubled up on keys, to be accessed using the Fn key. However, the number of keys doubled up in this way is not unreasonable.
The four arrow keys have ended up very small on the Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW. Fortunately the notebook is ‘only’ intended for the business market and not for gaming. In the main keyboard, to be exact between the G, H, and B keys, there is a pointstick which can be used as a substitute for the mouse or touchpad.
The integrated touchpad supports multi-touch inputs and gestures. It also has an area that can be used for two-way scrolling. HP has generously given the touchpad four buttons rather than the usual two; however, two of them actually perform the same function.
Using a function key combination, the touchpad can be deactivated. The buttons and the touchpad itself match the colour of the rest of the case.
The finger slides very easily across the 110 x 57 mm touchpad surface.
The 15.6-inch display of the HP Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW has a maximum resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels, with an aspect ratio of 16:9.
The resolution is optimal for this size screen diagonal. Higher resolutions are possible only with an external monitor.
The richness of the colours on this matt display is excellent. The black level of 0.36 cd/m² results in a deep black, even during dark video scenes. The distribution of brightness is no cause for complaint, at 87%. Throughout our testing, the picture appeared very well balanced to us. For a matt screen, the colours are very vibrant.
The sRGB colour space and its Apple counterpart are almost completely covered by the Elitebook 8560p; but it is a long way from covering the Adobe RGB colour space.
This HP business notebook is also well suited to outdoor use. The matt display produces hardly any reflections. It copes with direct sunlight much better than a glossy screen would.
Websites can be read comfortably outdoors. You can even read or compose emails in the garden despite the sunlight. However, we found that watching videos was much harder than in a living room or hotel room. The vibrancy of the colours was completely lost at times, marring our enjoyment of Jack Sparrow. Apologies: that should of course be Captain Jack Sparrow.
The picture is clear from almost every viewing angle on this 15.6-inch matt panel. The brightness changes and the picture starts to invert only when the angle exceeds 45 degrees. In the typical range of viewing angles, i.e. with the display set at 90 degrees to the desk, the screen contents are clearly visible even from the side. When the screen is tipped backwards more than 40 degrees, the colours invert.
Our review model is fitted with a Core i5-2540M (codename Sandy Bridge) with a speed of 2.6 GHz. The Intel CPU has 3072 kB of level 3 cache, and is dual core with four threads. The processor was made using 32 nm technology. It supports Turbo Boost 2.0, meaning that it can automatically overclock to up to 3.30 GHz.
The maximum clock speed also remains stable during heavy use, as this CPU does not suffer from throttling. In our simulated stress test, which ran for 180 minutes, the processor speed remained constant at 3.30 GHz.
The dual-core CPU also contains a graphics card which is not called upon to work in this notebook. Instead of the integrated Intel HD Graphics, HP rely on an AMD Radeon HD 6470M. This has a core speed of 750 MHz and 1024 MB of its own DDR3 video memory.
The dedicated AMD graphics card can be classed as a basic mid-range card. It is based on the Seymore XT chip and contains the UVD 3 video processor and Eyefinity+. The hardworking AMD graphics card also supports DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0, OpenGL 4.1 / Open CL and DirectCompute 11.
You can read more about the graphics chip by clicking here.
|PCMark Vantage Result||7935 points|
|PCMark 7 Score||2011 points|
If you compare the HP notebook’s benchmark results with the scores from our database, you will see that its scores are higher in almost every area. And in the direct comparison against other manufacturers’ business notebooks, the Elitebook has nothing to be ashamed of.
The PCMark Vantage benchmark tests a number of components at once, evaluating the complete package of the CPU, GPU, RAM and hard drive. In this test the HP notebook scored 7935 points. In the latest benchmarking tool PCMark 7, it scored 1866 points. We currently do not have any scores for this benchmark and this processor/ GPU to use as a comparison.
In the synthetic gaming benchmarks, from 3DMark 2001SE to 3DMark11, it is the AMD Radeon HD 6470M’s turn to show what it is capable of. In these tests the HD 6470M ranks on the same level as a GeForce GT 130 or 9600M GT.
|3DMark 2001SE Standard||28522 points|
|3DMark 03 Standard||12080 points|
|3DMark 05 Standard||8414 points|
|3DMark 06 Standard||4988 points|
|3DMark 11 Performance||595 points|
The Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW’s mass storage device is a 2.5-inch Hitachi hard drive from the Travelstar 7K500 series. The memory capacity is 320 GB. This is not especially large, but should be enough for storing business data. The drive is connected to the system via Serial ATA and rotates at 7200 rpm. The hard drive performance falls within the expected range. The transfer rate was measured to be a maximum of 109.4 MB/s by HD Tune.
This rate was not quite reached with CrystalDiskMark 3.0. The test delivered an average read rate of 97 MB/s and write rate of 91 MB/s during the course of nine sequential runs.
If you want to use this classy HP notebook for gaming, you will have to accept some sacrifices when it comes to graphics and detail settings. All that glitters is not gold. The dedicated AMD graphics, as already mentioned, is a basic mid-range card. This means that you can play even the latest games out there, as long as you scale back your demands on the graphics card by choosing a lower resolution and also lowering the details level. Otherwise you will find it very frustrating to play these games.
The games we are referring to, such as GTA VI, Risen or Crysis 2, all show that they are only playable at a low resolution. At times the frame rates fell below 40 fps. The higher the resolution, the worse the stuttering, and this had a big effect on our gaming enjoyment.
The Elitebook has a good system for quickly moving the waste heat away from the CPU and graphics card: it consists of a heat pipe, which transfers the heat towards a fan which runs constantly. The fan is clearly audible, especially in a quiet environment. However, it always remains an unobtrusive background noise; we did not find it distracting at any point during our testing.
Our noise measuring device gave a reading of 33 dB(A) in idle mode. The volume increased only slightly during DVD playback, reaching 35.6 dB(A). It was a different story when the notebook was under stress. The noise from the fan got noticeably louder during our stress test (100% CPU and GPU usage with Prime95 and Furmark amongst others), hitting 41.5 dB(A).
32.1 / 33.3 / 33.3 dB(A)
||35.6 / dB(A)|
||36 / 41.5 dB(A)|
min: , med: , max: Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
The Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW does an exemplary job of preventing temperature build-up on its case. You will always want to use a laptop on your lap from time to time. The underside of the notebook only gets warmer in the area where the CPU and GPU heat pipe is located; and we only measured 33 degrees Celsius here under stress. The air coming from the ‘exhaust’ was not quite so cool, however. Here, where the waste heat is expelled, the temperature rises noticeably. During the stress test we measured up to 44 degrees Celsius there, while the CPU temperature rose to more than 80 degrees.
It is important for the cooling system of this Elitebook that the fan is able to suck in enough air from underneath. If you put the laptop on a duvet then it can quickly get overheated. A flat surface is recommended.
The Elitebook’s loudspeaker system consists of two speakers positioned on the underside of the case. The sound during DVD playback was very stereophonic. At times we had the feeling that there were more than two speakers, but we couldn’t find any others.
The sound quality from the speakers is acceptable for their size. However, the mini-speakers do sound very tinny at times. There are two 3.5 mm stereo ports on the side of the notebook for a headset, or headphone and microphone. You will not find an optical output port or HDMI port on the HP notebook, however.
Our various battery use scenarios show that the Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW cannot last a full working day with its six-cell lithium ion battery.
In idle mode and with all connectivity switched off, the battery lasted 8 hours and 22 minutes. But the battery run times are very different when the laptop is actually in use. With continual web surfing, and reading and writing of emails, the battery life shrinks to 4 hours and 37 minutes.
The battery drains even more quickly when you watch a DVD film. After only 2.5 hours the notebook has to return to the wall socket.
The empty lithium ion battery then needed 130 minutes in our test to recharge to its full capacity.
|Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)||8h 22min|
|WiFi Surfing||4h 37min|
|Load (maximum brightness)||2h 12min|
|Off / Standby||0.2 / 0.7 Watt|
|Idle|| 13.6 / 18.1 / 19 Watt|
56.3 / 76.1 Watt|
Key: min: , med: , max: Voltcraft VC 940
The energy consumption log shows that the 90 W mains adaptor still draws power from the mains even when the HP notebook is switched off. In fact, somewhat more than it draws when on standby.
Under stress, our review model was consuming between 56 and 76.1 Watts. This is about average for this class of notebook.
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit version) is pre-installed as the operating system. But the notebook can also run with an alternative user interface called QuickWeb.
With this interface, which can be selected after switching on the computer, the click of a mouse gives you quick and easy access to the internet, your emails and contacts, and many calendar functions.
The interface loads within 10 seconds and so you can access the web more quickly than with Windows 7. QuickWeb gives you access to the internet if it is set up. Contact details from Outlook can be loaded and edited via QuickWeb.
QuickWeb also includes a Skype client. The battery life when running QuickWeb is substantially longer than under Windows. We measured 12 hours of run time.
This business notebook, the HP Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW, is convincing in every respect. It has a very smart, high-end appearance with its platinum-look aluminium case. Nor has HP taken any shortcuts with the workmanship. The display lid opens easily without lifting the rest of the notebook along with it.
You can tell upon closer inspection of the case that HP have followed military standards (MIL-STD 810G) in making this notebook. The case is very robust, and optimized to withstand jolts, drops, dust, moisture and high temperatures.
Working is actually fun on the HP Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW. This is also down to the internal hardware: a fast dual-core Core i5 CPU with 2.6 GHz and lots of potential for overclocking, 4 GB of RAM and dedicated AMD graphics. The matt 15.6-inch display is the icing on the cake. It doesn’t pick up reflections or act like a mirror.
System noise and temperature build-up are not really issues with the HP Elitebook 8560p LQ589AW. The fan could be a little quieter, but that really would be the cherry on top of the icing on the cake.
Because of the graphics card, the notebook is limited to home and office use, perhaps with some light gaming aspirations.
The price is the only thing that doesn’t sound good. In this hardware configuration, the notebook costs around €1200. Enough to make you think twice about that cake.