The first time I unboxed the HP ProBook 4321s, I immediately noticed how ‘boxy’ the form factor of this particular laptop. At 2.2 kg (2.7 kg with charger), this is not a travel friendly laptop. I can see myself hauling this on one of those executive laptop bags on wheels designed primarily for those preferring to carry a 15” or 17” laptop.

The HP ProBook uses a 13.3” LED screen with backlight with a resolution of 1366×768 pixels. The screen brightness and energy efficiency is very good. HP was right to avoid using glossy glass panel that essentially produces more glare making it very difficult to use outdoors.

As a business laptop, the 4321s comes standard with stereo speakers, built-in mic, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, GigE port, Bluetooth. 2MP web camera, 56k modem, three USB ports and a combo e-SATA/USB port, HDMI and standard VGA outputs, an ExpressCard slot, and a media card reader. Almost everything you’d want from a business laptop.

HP picked up a few things from the competition (which is a good thing – why reinvent the wheel?). The keyboard follows the growing popularity of Chiclet-like keyboards (Sony and Apple resurrected what was once upon a time the most loathed keyboard design). HP also made the keyboard spill resistant.

WHAT I LIKE

The use of brushed metal chassis may be in line with giving this series a business feel but I’d recommend wearing gloves when handling the case as it’s a fingerprint magnet. HP included a bevy of software to help maximize the use of this laptop, including a three different security options: customized security code, fingerprint and face recognition.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE

One of the few things I disliked about the Lenovo Thinkpad X200 is the lack of a trackpad. The successor, the X201s may have included a trackpad but the size makes it utterly useless to comfortably work with. HP provided a slightly more generous ClickPad with gestures support but I found the overall experience so difficult that I put out my trusty Logitech mouse to use throughout the duration of the review. If you have a chance, try it out first before making your decision to buy. Navigation is an important aspect of the overall experience so if the ClickPad doesn’t work for you, you might want to look at another model. I was surprised that my daughter shared her dislike for the ProBook 4321s’ clickpad.

The left-half of the base of the laptop can get really hot. So be wary about setting this on your laptop for longer than a few minutes. It can get really uncomfortable very quickly.

The ProBook comes with a 90-watt charger. This is a big chucky brick that dwarfs the 65W adapter that came with my Lenovo Thinkpad X201s. Both heat very quickly when plugged in so I can’t, for the life of me, understand why HP would want to throw in a brick for the charger. For the record, the ProBook I am reviewing uses a Core i3 processor whereas the Thinkpad X201 comes with a Core i7 processor. So tell me why the ProBook requires a 90-watt charger while the more powerful Thinkpad only needs a 65-watt charger to power it?

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

Way back late last year when I heard that Intel was pushing ahead with the Core i processors, I realized that the Core 2 Duo line of personal computers are going the way of the Dodo. So if you are on the lookout for a new laptop, be warned! Do not buy one with a Core 2 Duo processor since that series is going to disappear fast from mainstream laptops. On the other hand, if you don’t care for speed, power or using obsolete technology, and are more in price, there is a Core 2 Duo laptop with your name on it.

Core 2 Duo Core i3
-65,45nm (requires more more power and generates more heat)

-no integrated graphics

-no PCI-E controller

-no memory controller

-no hyper threading

-32nm

-integrated graphics

-PCI-e 2.0 controller

-2 channel integrated memory controller

-hyper threading

There are few laptops I never develop a fancy to even with just a few days of working out the kinks. The HP ProBook 4321s, unfortunately, falls under those few. But don’t let my personal preference ruin your interest in this laptop.

Depending on who writes the review, some people classify the 4321s as a consumer laptop. Certainly the addition of the ATI Radeon graphics means gaming is not going to be a problem with this machine. But HP classifies this as a business laptop and certainly the overall form, except for the weight, hints of business are all over this machine.

If you look at today’s laptop and compare it to the first generation of portable computers, much has not changed. Sure the screens are brighter, clearer and more colorful, keyboards come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, productivity has improved significantly – I remember a time when I could literally have breakfast before my computer powers up. The design of the laptop hasn’t changed radically from the days of the first Apple computer.

Check out this video and see what is coming in the horizon (believe it or not)

Other reviews:

http://blog.laptopz.com/2010/04/13/hp-probook-4321s-laptop-review/

Click here for product specification: http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/hk/en/sm/WF06b/321957-321957-64295-3955552-3955552-4145556-4161990.html

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