Review HP ProBook 6570b (B6P88EA) Notebook
For the original German review, see here.
15-inch notebooks represent the lion's share of the business segment portable devices. Many manufacturers continually fill the market with new versions of the most popular models. The US computer manufacturer, Hewlett Packard also wants to have a piece of the delicious business pie, and has been producing the successful ProBook series for several years. In these laptops, a stable chassis with good manufacturing quality meets an abundance of features and good performance.
Also the newest incarnation of the ProBook series represents these values to more or less the same extent as its predecessor, the HP ProBook 6560b, and is available for under 1000 Euros (~$1300) with Windows 7 Professional - something that should be especially interesting for small business customers. Altogether, HP is currently offering 27 different configurations with prices ranging between 910 and 1282 Euros (or about $1200 and $1700 RRP). The ProBook 6570b (B6P88EA) we had for testing costs around 1160 Euros (~$1530 RRP), and represents the vice-flagship model in the portfolio. The 123 Euros (~160) more expensive ProBook 6570b (B6P89EA) differentiates itself due to a different mobile broadband module.
For a retail price of around 1060 Euros, our reviewed device includes a dedicated Radeon HD graphics card from AMD, an Intel Core i5 processor with vPro technology, an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics chip, and an abundance of memory and fast RAM. A DVD burner meanwhile, handles optical media, and a matte HD+ display along with a comprehensive array of business suited interfaces complete the package. Whether the ProBook 6570b is also able to provide adequate performance will be determined in our review.
The anthracite colored case has been adopted from the older ProBook 6560b without any changes, with the good manufacturing quality and the high quality materials which are definitely pleasing. The display lid is made of shiny pearl aluminum which is slightly concave towards the edges, and relatively sensitive in terms of fingerprints or other smudges. It also has a narrow inlay underneath which the wireless antennae that are concealed in order to ensure that good WLAN connectivity is not impaired by the aluminum cover. The lid is rigid and is held in place by stable hinges which only teeter marginally when moving the display or as a result of shocks. Furthermore, annoying reflections on the matte display remain limited. The hinges are not too stiff to allow the notebook to be opened without lifting the base unit, while a sliding mechanism at the top of the display frame releases two locking hooks which hold the display securely closed.
After opening the notebook, a matte 15.6-inch display which precisely nestles into a matte black display frame reveals itself. The keyboard is also composed out of a non-reflective material, and the extremely stable palm resting area consists of brushed aluminum which only deforms inwards slightly above the optical drive with a lot of pressure. The chiclet keyboard contains a separate numeric keypad. Underneath the ProBook 6570b, the base unit is composed of matte black plastic which is very stiff. Via a sliding mechanism the large maintenance panel can be unlocked, which allows almost the whole of the bottom to be removed. Beneath this, nearly all the components are easily accessible. Along with the hard drive, there are also the WLAN and the WWAN modules, two RAM slots and the CMOS battery among other things. The cooling fan can also be reached just as easily, and can therefore also be cleaned if necessary. Even the processor and the graphics card can be upgraded. The 55 Wh battery can also be unlocked and removed via a separate sliding mechanism, revealing the SIM card slot under it. Alternatively, the ProBook 6570b can also be fitted with and HDD and an mSATA connected SSD simultaneously, in which case the UMTS module has to be forgone. The inherently solid manufacturing quality and high level of upgradability altogether leave a very good impression.
HP has equipped the ProBook with numerous interfaces, among which, a few should be especially interesting for business users. Many of these go above and beyond the normal basic connectivity of most notebooks. With the exception of the front of the case, all the other sides are almost completely covered with interfaces.
Five USB ports in total are included, and have been spread across both of the sides of the notebook. Two of these operate using the fast USB 3.0 standard, while there is also an eSATA/USB 2.0 combination port available. Since two USB ports are always located closely together, wider USB connectors can block each other. Fast data transfers are meanwhile facilitated by the USB 3.0 ports as well as the IEEE 1394a interface (Firewire). Furthermore, there are also two 3.5 mm audio sockets for a microphone and headphones, as well as an optical DVD drive (HP DVDRAM GT50N). On the left side of the notebook, a card reader for SD and MMC cards is available, along with the ExpressCard54 slot. Driving external displays such as monitors or a flat screen television can be achieved via the VGA or HDMI interfaces. The rear contains the power input, a DisplayPort, one RS-232 port and an optional RJ-11 socket for a modem.
A Gigabit LAN port is located directly next to the obligatory Kensington Lock on the right side of the ProBook 6570b towards the back, such that an excessive mess of cables next to the notebook could be circumvented even without a docking station. Just such a "2012 HP docking station" would find a matching port on the bottom of the case, and is available from around 200 Euros (~$260 RRP). This would then provide a further four USB 3.0 ports, as well as numerous other interfaces and port replicators including a DisplayPort, LAN port, DVI and VGA ports as well as parallel and serial ports. For a retail price of about 123 Euros, this solution should be particularly interesting for users that often change between office and mobile use, and should provide for a much more expedient transition.
Along with the docking port, the bottom of the case also contains an attachment for an "HP ST09 Extended Life Notebook Battery" slice which is able to increase the battery life substantially and comes with a capacity of 6600 mAh/73 Wh for an additional 100 Euros (~$130).
When considering the location of the interfaces on the HP ProBook 6570b, these have obviously been optimized for right handed people. Left handed users unfortunately have to feel the warm air expelled from the cooling fan while using an external mouse if there is limited space on the desk.
Of course HP has also blessed the ProBook 6570b with a webcam which is located in the upper part of the display bezel as usual, and seems to be intended primarily for video chat with a resolution of 720p, since unfavorable lighting conditions unfortunately lead to noisy and dark pictures.
Businesses depends on communication, which is why it is good that HP has equipped the ProBook 6570b with several possibilities for exchanging data and communicating with a company or private network. In this instance, an Intel 82579LM Gigabit Network Connection (10/100/1000 Mbit) LAN port handles the hard wire data transfers, while wireless connections take place via the Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205 wireless LAN module which operates using the standards IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n. In addition to this, there is also a mobile broadband adapter available for communication via 3G/UMTS (HP hs2350 HSPA+ (WWAN)) while a Bluetooth 4.0+ EDR module completes the package. Optionally, the ProBook can also be equipped with a 56k modem for the RJ-11 socket.
It is also important that the security aspect doesn't fall short in the case of the ProBook 6570b (B6P88EA). A Kensington Lock for attaching a compatible security lock and a fingerprint reader represent the security combo that protects against theft and unwanted access to data.
From the software perspective, the HP ProBook 6570b scores points thanks to its many proprietary software solutions, such as the hard drive encryption tool. HP ProtectTools, and Enhance Pre-Boot Security. Via the webcam it is also possible to use facial recognition. The Microsoft Defender with MS Security Essentials protects against viruses and other harmful software. A TPM Embedded Security Chip 1.2 is also implemented in the notebook. As an option, it is also possible to locate a stolen notebook with CompuTrace as soon as it logs on to the internet. The integrated vPro processor together with the Intel Anti-Theft technology allows companies or private users to block access to sensitive data in case it is stolen. The reactivation of recovered hardware, as well as the remote configuration, diagnosis or repair - which is popular with many companies, is also possible. If desired, it is also possible to swap the ExpressCard54 in the HP ProBook 6570b for a smart card reader.
Accessories and Software
Even though HP has included such a broad array of features in the ProBook 6570b, the parcel seems to have been packed by uncle Scrooge. Along with the compact 90 W AC adapter, the manufacturer merely includes a short manual and two optical media with drivers and the operating system Windows 7 Professional 64-bit service pack 1.
Other than the operating system there are also some other programs that pre-installed, like Microsoft Office Starter 2010 for example, which provides Word and Excel with limited functionality and advertising. There is also some proprietary HP software on the hard drive including the Connection Manager, the ProtectTools Security Manager and the Recovery Manager. Also useful are the PDF Complete Corporate Edition and the playback and burning software, Roxio MyDVD Business 2010. Video conferences should be child's play thanks to Skype, while WinZip Basic compresses and decompresses large files when required.
Unfortunately HP only provides a 12 months send in warranty for the ProBook 6570b, which can however be extended for an additional price. The optional 3 year warranty with collect and deliver service comes at a price of 142 Euros (~$190); for 325 Euros (~$430), a next day on-site service is also included.
The keyboard with a chiclet design utilizes almost all the width of the HP ProBook 6570b, so that there is enough space for a full-fledged numeric keypad. It is only the four arrow keys that have been curtailed a little in terms of size, although this doesn't stand out negatively, especially since the separate number pad can also be used for navigating comfortably.
The remaining keyboard area has the usual dimensions, and lives up to the high expectations of regular typing business customers - not surprising since the ProBook 6570b shares the same input devices as the premium EliteBook 8570p professional business notebook. The matte black keys have a clearly noticeable inflection point with a medium length travel, and provide the user with precise feedback at all times. In addition to this the typing sound is not excessively loud, even if some other competitor models like the ones from Apple are quieter. The effects of tiredness after a long working day with a lot of typing remain limited. Special features like the control of brightness or volume, are configured by using key combinations with the Fn button. The markings on the special keys - contrary to many other rivals - are white and are highlighted by an identically colored border. This should ensure very good legibility, even under dim lighting conditions. Unfortunately a keyboard backlight is not available for the ProBook series of notebooks. The water protection provided by a bottom-case drain should also protect against accidental spills or sudden bursts of rain outdoors. With these facilities available to minimize the risk of damage by liquids, the advisory should include the absence of food material in the work area.
The 110 x 56 mm touchpad is slightly recessed compared to the surrounding palm rest, and the matte surface has good gliding properties. At the top left corner, a small switch is integrated, which deactivates the touchpad when it is tapped twice, as indicated by a status LED. A further two taps switch the touchpad back on. Multi-touch entry and gestures such as pinch-to-zoom are accurately recognized. The touchpad has two separate mouse buttons with long travel but a clear inflection point. Altogether, the touchpad along with the special keys provides for reliable and precise navigation. Optionally, models of the ProBook 6570b are available that also have a Trackpoint along with the usual mouse replacement buttons - a feature that popular Lenovo ThinkPad's such as the Edge E530 also have.
The business series HP ProBook 6570b has a 15.6-inch (39.6 cm) display with a 16:9 aspect ratio, that uses LED backlighting. The maximum resolution of the HD+ LG Philips LP156WD1-TLD3 panel is 1600 x 900 pixels. There is something interesting for people who use multiple monitors. With an external monitor, it is possible to get a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels via the DisplayPort. Using the HDMI or VGA ports, a maximum resolution of 1980 x 1200 pixels is possible. More than three external monitors cannot be connected. The anti-glare surface of the display makes it less susceptible to reflections from direct light, so use outdoors or in bright rooms should not pose a significant problem, especially since the average brightness is 270.8 cd/m². In the middle of the display, our measuring device, the X-Rite i1Pro determined a maximum brightness of 310 cd/m², and while this value falls by up to 30 cd/m² towards the corners, it shouldn't be obvious during daily use.
The HP ProBook 6570b positions itself substantially ahead of its direct rivals with anti-glare displays. The older ProBook 6560b for instance, is significantly less bright with a measurement of 206.7 cd/m², the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E535 with 259 cd/m² and the Dell Vostro 3560 with 256.8 cd/m². It must be noted that the HP ProBook 6570b is significantly more expensive than the ones mentioned earlier.
A very good black level of 0.31 cd/m² and an above average contrast ratio of 1000:1 provide for sharp pictures with luscious colors on the ProBook 6570b.
When outdoors, the image on the display is still clearly visible, but with a lot of light, it starts to become pale and lose its brilliance.
The HP ProBook 6570b has a marginally bigger color space compared to the older ProBook 6560b. The Adobe RGB (t) color space is not covered by a long shot. The sRGB color space meanwhile is also not surmounted by the 6570b, even if the extent of the shortcoming is less in this case. Therefore, professional graphics users will unlikely be satisfied with the 6570b if they require precise color representation, even though the competition doesn't fare any better in this respect.
Something that is disappointing is the narrow viewing angles which are typical of TN panel displays. Even a small deviation by +/- 30 degrees from the ideal position on the horizontal plane leads to a reduced brightness followed by an inversion of the colors. Vertically, this phenomenon is even more pronounced with a few degrees being enough to render the displayed image unusable.
HP has equipped the ProBook 6570b with an Intel Core i5-3320M processor that operates at a clock speed of 2.6 GHz and is manufactured using the 22 nanometer process. Turbo Boost meanwhile automatically overclocks the processor to up to 3.3 GHz, while the Level 3 cache has a capacity of 3 MB. The mobile dual-core CPU from the current Ivy Bridge generation represents the most potent processing engine available for the 6570b at present, with a Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 35 watts that would actually be shared with the integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip if it was used. Further information as well as comprehensive benchmark tests relating to the i5-3320M can be found here.
The processor is accompanied by a total of 4 GB of RAM in our reviewed notebook, which is spread across two RAM modules that operate at a frequency of 1600 MHz. The two SO-DIMM slots can be fitted with a maximum of 16 GB RAM (2x8GB modules).
The potent dual-core CPU operates at a constant base clock speed of 2.6 GHz, while the maximum clock speed rises to 3.3 GHz reliably as a result of Turbo Boost being activated. During our stress test with Prime 95 and Furmark fully utilizing the CPU and GPU simultaneously, there was no throttling observed after a full hour. Also, when the CPU has to perform rendering tasks in Cinebench R10, the processor takes full advantage of its processing reserves consistently. As expected, the performance of the reviewed notebook proved itself to be good without any significant anomalies. Compared to other devices with the same processor, ike the Fujitsu Lifebook P772 and the Dell Latitude E6230 for example, the ProBook 6570b performs equally well on average.
The assessment of the all-round system performance (combination of the CPU, GPU, HDD and RAM) provided by the HP ProBook 6570b is achieved using the two benchmark programs PCMark Vantage and PCMark 7. With 7819 and 2191 points respectively, our reviewed notebook performs respectably well, and better performance is usually only possible with an SSD instead of an HDD; like with the Dell Inspiron 14z (i5-3317U, AMD Radeon HD 7570M). Also, devices with a nominally better configuration, like the HP EliteBook 8570p-B6Q03EA (i7-3520M, AMD Radeon HD 7570M) are only able to set themselves apart marginally.
|PCMark Vantage Result||7819 points|
|PCMark 7 Score||2191 points|
HP equips the ProBook 6570b series with 320 or 500 GB hard drives that have a rotational speed of 7200 rpm, or alternatively with a 128 GB SSD. Our reviewed ProBook 6570b (B6P88EA) notebook comes with a MK5061GSYN from Toshiba, with a capacity of 500 GB that should be ample storage capacity for documents and presentations. The 2.5-inch 7200 rpm HDD operates with decent performance. Using the benchmark tool HD Tune on the hard drive, a transfer rate of 73.6 MB/s and an access time of 16.8 ms is not phenomenal. The burst rate of 129.2 MB/s with a CPU utilization of 4.2 percent is acceptable. Nevertheless, the Western Digital hard drive in the older ProBook (6560b) performed slightly better.
During operation, the hard drive is definitely audible. Since it is located in the right area of the palm rest, the HDD can also be clearly felt because it transfers its vibrations to the hand of a user. In this case, an SSD could certainly take advantage of its strengths - since flash memory is motionless, silent and also much faster.
The Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip integrated into the CPU cannot be activated in the HP ProBook 6570b. In the AMD Catalyst Control Center, only the PowerPlay function can be selected and not switchable graphics. A dedicated AMD Radeon HD 7570M graphics card with 1 GB of GDDR5-SDRAM memory handles all the graphics tasks. The DirectX-11 capable Radeon HD 7570M from AMD is a mid-range graphics card which positions itself more or less between the Nvidia GeForce GT 620M and the 630M.
The synthetic benchmarks are not completed by the graphics card. The GPU has a maximum of 500 MHz core and 800 MHz memory speeds. When fully utilized during the stress test, we were able to observe minimum speeds of 300 MHz and 150 MHz respectively. The results of 963 points in 3DMark 11 and 5971 points in 3DMark 06 are within the expected range for this graphics card.
|3DMark 06 Standard||5971 points|
|3DMark Vantage P Result||3782 points|
|3DMark 11 Performance||963 points|
The HP ProBook 6570b may be a purebred office notebook, but it is still capable of providing some occasional gaming pleasure with its integrated components. Our gaming test was carried out using the games FIFA 13, Anno 2070 and Battlefield 3. FIFA 13 doesn't cause the hardware any problems, even while using the ultra-settings, the footballers still sprint across the screen at a smooth 51 fps. The marginally more demanding Anno 2070 on the other hand starts to play smoothly with 28 fps using medium settings only. Battlefield 3 meanwhile starts to work slowly with 32 fps when the lowest settings with a reduced resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels are used.
If users are prepared to configure the settings as necessary, then playing games from time to time is also an option.
Despite the high performance components and the absence of a switchable graphics solution, our reviewed HP ProBook 6570b notebook proved itself to be moderate in terms of system noise. In an idle state, the notebook is restrained with noise levels of 33.8 dB (A), while the cooling fan is operational throughout. When playing back DVDs, the system noise only increases marginally to 35.3 dB (A) - nonetheless still enough to be clearly audible during quiet movie scenes. When fully utilized during our stress test, the system noise increased to 39.1 dB (A), but since the cooling fan rotates at a relatively slow speed, it never got particularly annoying at any point though.
33.8 / 33.8 / 33.7 dB(A)
||35.3 / dB(A)|
||39.1 / 39.2 dB(A)|
min: , med: , max: Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)
HP has mastered the temperature management of the ProBook 6570b very well, since the temperatures on the surfaces remain within acceptable ranges throughout our tests. After an hour of full utilization during our stress test, the notebook still remained warm to the touch. Even the area around the cooling fan in the lower left region only heats up to a maximum of 41.6 °C. Temperatures on the palm rest and touchpad vary between 26 and 31 °C. Using the notebook on your lap should be possible at the height of summer with a pair of shorts. In an idle state. the top surface reaches a maximum of 29.4 °C, while the maximum temperature is 34.7 °C on the bottom. Average temperatures of 29 °C speak in favor of the developments made by HP engineers in cooling technology. The AC adapter gets warm reaching 40.5 °C in an idle state, while this increases to a hot 56 °C when utilized - leaving it in the open should therefore be obligatory.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 33 °C / 91 F, compared to the average of 34 °C / 93 F, ranging from 21.2 to 62.5 °C for the class Office.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 41.6 °C / 107 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.7 °C / 82 F, compared to the device average of 29.4 °C / 85 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are cooler than skin temperature with a maximum of 30.7 °C / 87.3 F and are therefore cool to the touch.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28 °C / 82.4 F (-2.7 °C / -4.9 F).
The stereo speakers in the HP ProBook 6570b with their oval diaphragms are relatively decent considering their size. One thing that is bad however, is their location away from the center on the front edge, which is optimized for right handed users. In cases when a left handed user is not using an external mouse, they will almost inevitably cover the left speaker with their arm while using the touchpad. The audio is concentrated in the high frequency range, and the mid-range frequencies are particularly inconspicuous at high volumes. The low bass frequencies are lacking due to the absence of sufficient diaphragm area. For subtle background audio in a small office or for video telephony the speakers are thoroughly suitable, but playing music, games or movies immediately makes their flaws audible. For this reason our recommendation is to use external speakers, for which the 3.5 mm jack provides good maximum volume even with high impedance headphones.
Taking into consideration the provided performance and the absence of the power saving technology that the inactive Intel HD Graphics 4000 chip would give, the power consumption of the HP ProBook 6570b is reasonable. For an office notebook the power consumption is still too high in an idle state, with values between 14.1 and 23.8 watts with full brightness. As a result this leads to very meager battery runtimes. While utilized, the maximum power consumption increases to 67.2 watts, the average being about 45.6 watts. In standby mode an average of 0.3 watts is used, while this values drops to 0.1 watts when the notebook is switched off.
|Off / Standby||0.1 / 0.3 Watt|
|Idle|| 14.1 / 20.2 / 23.8 Watt|
45.6 / 67.2 Watt|
Key: min: , med: , max: Voltcraft VC 940
The HP ProBook 6570b has a 322 g lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 5090 mAh. The 55 Wh battery with 6 cells lasts a maximum of 4 hours and 16 minutes during the synthetic Battery Eater Reader's Test using the most efficient settings with the wireless modules turned off and the minimum brightness. The Battery Eater Classic Test, which simulates fully utilized components, is completed by the HP ProBook 6570b after 89 minutes with the WLAN active and maximum brightness.
The practical web-surfing test finishes after 2 hours and 23 minutes. During this test, the notebook was set to the Balanced power plan and the display brightness was set to medium while the WLAN was in use. Our browser based benchmark simulates surfing the internet by loading various websites. Watching movies from a DVD, the battery lasts for about 2 hours and 11 minutes with the HP ProBook 6570b, where the Balanced power plan is active and the wireless module is off. Thanks to ‘Fast Charge’, fully charging the battery with the 90 watt AC adapter only takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.
For a battery as potent as this one, the battery life is not very impressive. In this case, a graphics switching solution for the already integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 would surely have provided significantly better runtimes.
HP has made another office notebook which sets the standard for the competition in many respects with the 6570b. The first thing that stands out is the manufacturing quality. With aluminum and a comprehensive array of features and powerful components the 15 -inch notebook fits like a tailor made suit. On top of this, the bright display with a high contrast ratio and its anti-glare surface should make for a useful companion on the move. A further advantage is the bigger than usual selection of interfaces, which should serve as an example to other manufacturers.
The well rounded system performance should provide users in medium sized businesses as well as private users with a full-fledged office laptop, which is still transportable. In addition to this, the ProBook 6570b is exceptionally easy to upgrade thanks to its large maintenance panel, and the fact that even the CPU and GPU can be changed is very seldom in this segment.
Unfortunately the integrated AMD HD 7570M graphics card without a switchable graphics solution leaves a lot to be desired for. The marginally improved performance doesn't warrant the significantly higher power consumption in all scenarios compared to the disabled Intel HD Graphics 4000. The resulting short battery runtimes are below average despite the capacity of the battery, and could force some users to buy an expensive battery slice if they need to use the notebook without mains power for a day. The loud rotating hard drive which causes unpleasant vibrations on the palm rest can at least be swapped for a fast and silent Solid State Drive.
HP seems to be competing against its own similarly priced EliteBook 8570p. Still, the HP ProBook 6570b (B6P88EA) represents an interesting business notebook which is able to claim many exclusive advantages for itself, and is certain to find many business customers.