The HP ProBook 4520s is aimed at small and medium businesses. This 15.6-inch laptop is the successor to the ProBook 4510s. While its predecessor had Intel Core 2 Duo processors, the new model is available with your choice of Core i3, i5, and i7 processors.

Specifications of our HP ProBook 4520s:

Processor: Intel Core i5 430M processor (2.26 GHz, 3 MB cache)
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (32-bit)
Display: 15.6-inch (1366 x 768) LED-backlit HD anti-glare display
Graphics: Integrated Intel GMA HD graphics
Memory: 4GB DDR2 800MHz RAM
Hard Drive: 320GB 7200RPM HDD
Battery: 6-cell 47 Wh battery

Price as configured: $ 749

Build and design
The new HP ProBook 4520s features a semi-rugged case design with a brushed metal cover that appears more durable than the 4510s plastic cover. The bottom of the notebook does not have access panels for user-replaceable parts. So updating this machine in the future can be a bit tricky. Build quality is excellent. The laptop looks and feels solid in your hands.

The ProBook 4520s has a 15.6-inch anti-glare screen with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The display has good color and contrast and the matte finish makes it easy to read outdoors. Horizontal viewing angles are great, but vertical viewing angles are average.

Keyboard and touch panel
The HP ProBook 4520s has a full-size chiclet-style keyboard. There is a good space between the keys. Another major advantage is the dedicated numeric keypad which will come in handy if you use your computer to enter data. The keyboard shows hardly any flex and the keys provide good tactile feedback.

The Synaptics touchpad has a buttonless design. It shows good sensitivity and is easy to use. But the buttonless design has its drawbacks. This arrangement may also take a little getting used to.

Ports and functions
Port selection is successful. There are 3 USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA / USB combo port, VGA, HDMI out, LAN, and audio jacks. There is also an ExpressCard / 34 slot and an SDHC card reader for expansion.

Performance and benchmarks
The ProBook 4520s has Intel Core series processors that offer good performance. HP offers preconfigured models with the Intel Core i3 350M processor and the Intel Core i5 430M. Custom configurations are also possible with dedicated Core i7 620M and ATI Radeon 4350 graphics up to 2.66 GHz.

The 4520 offers significantly better performance than the 4510 in many respects. The new Core i5 processor is much faster than the Core 2 Duo seen in the previous model. Graphics performance has also improved. The machine can easily handle HD video content. The 4520s has a faster 7200rpm hard drive compared to the slower 5400rpm hard drive seen in the 4510s. Granted, it’s not as fast as the latest SSDs, but it does manage to cut down on application load times.

Heat and Noise
Heat and noise levels are within normal limits. The laptop is quite lap-friendly.

Battery duration
The ProBook 4520s comes standard with a 6-cell 47 Wh battery. You get a little over 4 hours of battery life. It is worth noting that the 4510s with its 8-cell 63 Wh battery lasts more than 5 hours.

The HP ProBook 4520s is definitely worth considering if you are looking for a portable business laptop. It is affordable and significantly better than its predecessor in both looks and performance. The buttonless touchpad, however, is in dire need of some refinements. You may also want to invest in a bigger battery if you travel a lot.

HP ProBook 4520s review

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