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HP EliteBook Mobile Workstation 8560w - Core i7-2720QM 2.2GHz - 15.6-inch TFT review: HP EliteBook Mobile Workstation 8560w - Core i7-2720QM 2.2GHz - 15.6-inch TFT

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It, too, has a 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution, but it's an in-plane-switching (IPS) panel instead of the twisted nematic (TN) panel type found in most other laptops. This allows for accurate color reproduction (it has 10 bits per color channel and supports more than 1 billion colors versus the 18-bit color accuracy and 260,000 colors of an average display) and a 178-degree-wide viewing angle. Color gamut coverage is 128 percent of AdobeRGB, 130 percent of NTSC, and 149 percent of sRGB/Rec. 709. The HP Mobile Display Assistant software gives you control over color space presets and the capability to specify luminance to correspond with color space (AdobeRGB and sRGB), and to set a specific white point, depending on the type of work being done. There are multiple color space emulation presets, including native/full gamut (no internal color management applied), sRGB, AdobeRGB, SMPTE-C, Rec709, DCI-P3 emulation, and one user-defined color space. It's a serious display for professional use and comes with a hefty $425 upgrade cost from the base 1,600x900-pixel resolution LCD.

HP EliteBook 8560w Average for category [desktop replacement]
Video VGA, DisplayPort VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers with subwoofer, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, eSATA/USB 2.0, Mini-FireWire, multiformat card reader, ExpressCard/54 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, SD card reader, eSATA
Networking Modem, Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner, optional Blu-ray player

The port and I/O connections on the 8560w are ample, including five USB ports, two of which are USB 3.0. The power input is on the back with a modem jack, though we wish the Ethernet port and the VGA and DisplayPort outputs were in back as well. By the way, the 8560w can support up to four external displays via an optional dock; the docking connector is on the bottom of the system along with one for a secondary battery. The stereo speakers pump loud and clear, but they're light on bass. We're OK with that, since audio pros will likely want to take advantage of the stereo headphone/line-out jack.

Though the 8560w configuration we tested was strong, HP offers others as well as the option to configure one from scratch. You can choose from two Core i5 or four Core i7 processors (three of which are quad-core); up to 32GB of memory; three hard-drive and two solid-state-drive capacities; optical drives including a Blu-ray burner or a secondary 500GB hard drive; three graphics cards (one ATI, two Nvidia); and, as mentioned earlier, three screen options, with or without a 2-megapixel Webcam. Of course there are plenty of accessories, too, including extended-life and ultracapacity batteries. Basically, you can make it what you want and still get all the durability and security extras, which is a big chunk of what you're paying for.

The performance of our review laptop was excellent given its components. It did well in our lab tests, but next to the consumer-oriented high-performance laptops we've tested it appears fairly ordinary for its price. During anecdotal testing we experienced no slowdowns when launching and using demanding photo and video editing software, and multitasking definitely posed no problems. The graphics cards available for the 8650w are designed for 3D modeling, CAD, and graphic arts, so our gaming tests don't really do them justice. Still, you should have no difficulty playing games on this system at high resolutions.

Juice box
HP EliteBook 8560w Average watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.76
Sleep (10%) 1.46
Idle (25%) 19.57
Load (05%) 86.42
Raw kWh number 85.98
Annual power consumption cost $9.76

Annual power consumption cost

We don't expect desktop replacements to last long away from an outlet. The 8560w did OK, running for 1 hour and 58 minutes in our video playback battery drain test, using the included eight-cell battery. Since this test constantly has the hard drive spinning, it is particularly draining on battery life. In regular use, our uptime was just over 2 hours, and had we played with all the power management features we probably could've stretched that time a bit. Also, the DreamColor display requires more power than a typical LCD, so if you opt for a different screen you should get much better battery life.

HP includes a three-year parts-and-labor warranty with the system regardless of configuration. HP offers several upgrade options with next-day on-site service and accidental damage coverage for up to five years. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base, and driver downloads.

As expensive as the HP EliteBook 8560w Mobile Workstation can get, it's still a good value. That's because HP continues to offer plenty of component options for the performance you need inside a tough, professional, but not boring chassis that's packaged with software that's actually useful.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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