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Like a fresh job candidate in a sharp suit, HP's new EliteBook gives a good first impression. With a shiny a magnesium alloy finish on the outside, its metallic sheen is faintly reminiscent of Apple's MacBook line, but not quite as flashy. The use of metal on both the top cover and side the laptop also shows a strong build quality.
This impression continues once you open the laptop. The keyboard is comfortable and the keys are slightly rough, giving the impression that this is a rugged laptop. There is both a 'nipple' mouse and a trackpad, which features horizontal and vertical scrolling.
The 6930p features a 14.1-inch 1280x800, matte display. Matte displays are always a plus, as they are not reflective and therefore much easier to see in bright light. Unfortunately, the display brightness on the 6930 darkens significantly, almost to the point of being unreadable, when the device is unplugged.
There seems to be no way to adjust this setting in Windows XP, so you will need to turn the screen brightness back up using the keyboard shortcut. At the base of the display there is an ambient light sensor, which is a great feature for power saving. But if you like your display bright, you can also disable it via a keyboard shortcut.
Below the display is a set of touch controls that allow you to disable Wi-Fi, mute or change the sounds volume, change presentation setting and access HP's software "Info Centre". Below the mouse pad on the right is a fingerprint reader, which we see as still one of the best security features available on a laptop. Unfortunately, we tended to brush the fingerprint reader while typing, which brings up the HP Security Manager. This can can get really annoying really fast.
At 2.1kgs the EliteBook 6930p is a mid-weight laptop, you won't find it difficult to haul it around.
Features and Performance
The 6930p runs on Intel's new Centrino 2 platform, which means amongst other things better performance, battery life, and wireless speeds (with a/b/g/n Wi-Fi all available).
Our 6930p came with an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 (2.4GHz) with 2GB of RAM. HP weren't generous with the HDD, our system came with a 160GB 5400 RMP SATA II drive. There are two models of the 6930p, ours was the FW086PA, which comes with a slighter slower processor and HDD.
Graphics on our system was provided by the integrated new Intel GMA 4500 chipset (codenamed Cantiga), which forms part of the Centrino 2 platform. In the space of integrated graphics, the Cantiga chipsets are good performers, but this is no design or gaming machine. Our tests gave a 3DMark06 score of 709. Those looking for better graphics performance can upgrade to an ATI Radeon 3450 (256MB).