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HP ProBook 4710s review: HP ProBook 4710s

HP's ProBook is all business, from its solid performance to its rather solid and stodgy style.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
3 min read


Like any good desktop replacement notebook, the one thing that the ProBook 4710s excels at is being big. Pretty darned big, all things considered; the 17.3-inch LCD screen is large enough to begin with, but HP's quite generous with the plastic bezel around it, leading to a system that measures in at 41.06x27x3.2cm and weighs in "starting" at 3.08kg. Suffice it to say that you won't be lugging it very far, and it only counts as a "lap" top if you happen to be Robert Wadlow.


HP ProBook 4710s

The Good

Good performance. Good battery life for such a large laptop.

The Bad

Really plain style. Huge and heavy.

The Bottom Line

HP's ProBook is all business, from its solid performance to its rather solid and stodgy style.

HP pitches the ProBook at the business community, and presumably that part of the business community that eschews striking design aesthetics. Compared to some of HP's recent designs, like the rather stunning Vivienne Tam Edition HP Minis, the ProBook 4710s almost feels like a throwback machine. It's black on black with black keys and a black outer casing. This is a system that means business and looks business, but more in an "accountant" style than, say a "Richard Branson" one.


HP sells a number of models under the ProBook line, and the 17.3-inch ProBook 4710s is the current top of the range. For a price starting at AU$1899, you get an Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 2.53GHz processor, 3GB of RAM, a choice of 250GB or 500GB hard drives (our test model had the 500GB version), 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 video, 802.11n networking, Bluetooth and gigabit Ethernet. Four USB ports are provided, which almost feels titchy when you consider that the average netbook carries three and is about a sixth the size. HP does fill some of the space with an HDMI-out port, although frankly this particular laptop's going to dwarf just about any HDMI-compliant source you choose to plug it into.

By the time you read this the ProBook should come with a Windows 7 upgrade option, but our test unit technically came with Vista Business. We say technically, because the default configuration comes with the downgrade to Windows XP Professional pre-installed. If you're not a fan of Vista — and we could be churlish and say that nobody is — that's a solid time saver, but if you required Vista it could be a touch annoying. It also features HP's Disk Sanitizer software for secure file deletion and the usual trial AV software that virtually any notebook seems to come with whether you ask for it or not — in the ProBook's case it's McAfee Total Protection.


The ProBook 4710s keyboard fits a notebook of this size, in that it's mostly quite large, with a deliberately huge space bar row (including CTRL, the function key and Windows key), which we found mostly pleasant to type with. The only real oddity here is that despite the amount of space on offer — which includes allowing a full number pad — the cursor keys are oddly tiny. They're not impossible to hit, but they're solidly out of scale to the rest of the keyboard.

The ProBook 4710s performed well in our standard performance tests, racking up a score of 2854 in 3DMark and 5308 in PCMark. As a working machine then, the ProBook 4710s should work quite hard, something that's backed up by its battery life. We can't imagine too many scenarios where you're going to want to lug the ProBook 4710s around too much, at least for the sake of your shoulders, but if you do, the increased size of this laptop does extend to the battery. With an eight-cell battery on board, the ProBook 4710s managed a very healthy three hours and 16 minutes in our DVD playback test with screen brightness at full whack. Considering how much screen it's got to run doing that, it's a very pleasing figure indeed.