By Harry McCracken | Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 11:06 pm
If you’re as old and wizened as I am, you remember the Irish Spring TV commercials based around the idea that it was a manly soap that was equally beloved by women:
Strangely enough, I thought about those ads when I learned about HP’s latest round of updates to its business notebooks, the EliteBook and ProBook series. HP says it designs these machines to serve the needs of businessfolk, not consumers: They’ve got relatively conservative designs rather than the splashy ones on HP’s consumer lines, aiming for timeless good looks rather than trendiness. The EliteBooks use materials such as aluminum and titanium alloys for strength, and have Duracase enclosures that meet military-grade specifications for sturdiness. The ProBooks have spill-resistant keyboards. There are USB 3.0 ports. You can get these systems in a variety of sizes with a range of Intel second-generation Core processors. One version, the EliteBook 8460p, offers an optional extended battery that claims up to 32 hours on a charge. Prices, which start at $579 for the most basic ProBook s-series, seem reasonable.
The EliteBooks are aimed at corporate types; the ProBooks skew more to medium-sized and small businesses. But they strike me as Irish Spring computers: They may be businesslike, but their feature sets and emphasis on substance over style makes them laptops with plenty of appeal for a certain discerning type of consumer (read: anyone with tastes similar to mine). They ship on March 15th; PCMag.com has more details and photos.