If a mullet is indeed business at the front and a party out the back, then the HP ProBook 6460B is a crew-cut. It's all business, in other words, and this starts with the product design, which is very understated. When we first opened it up, we openly pondered if HP had dipped into its design manual circa 1998; this is an old-school business design with only a few shaped lines to bring it in line with modern sensibilities.
That's not entirely a bad thing. There are plenty of notebooks that are gaudy and ostentatious — some of HP's more outrageous Vivienne Tam designs come to mind — and the ProBook 6460B isn't one of those. The interior metal of the palm rest gives it a slightly luxurious feel, and this is a business notebook that solidly looks like it means business. The keyboard is well spaced, and laid out with enough room for good cursor keys. The screen is latched down for better physical robustness. They're minor points, but the overall effect is to convince you that this is a solid laptop.
The ProBook 6460B line sits in HP's Business laptop lines, so it's no particular surprise that it ships with Windows 7 Professional. It's annoying that HP opts for the 32-bit version of the operating system, although we guess that could have to do with compatibility with some obscure business packages. It's also a little surprising that it ships with only 2GB of on-board memory, although at least that makes the 32-bit Windows install make sense by comparison.
The review sample sent to CNET Australia included an Intel Core i5 2410M 2.3GHz processor, 320GB Hitachi HTS725032A9A364 7200RPM hard drive, 14-inch LED backlit display, Intel's HD graphics solution and a DVD Multi recorder with, predictably enough for an HP burner, Lightscribe compatibility.
On the ports side, you get three USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA/USB combo port, DisplayPort and VGA for outbound video (but no HDMI), microphone, Firewire, SD/MMC reader, ExpressCard 54 and gigabit Ethernet. There's a rather obvious modem port on the rear of the ProBook 6460B, but on our review sample this was sealed up.
For basic business tasks, the simple design of the ProBook 6460B is a definite asset. The keyboard is easy to use, there are few distracting blinking lights and the display is crisp enough for the task at hand. At just over 2kg, this is still a rather solid laptop if you're looking at it from a business travel point of view.
The specifications within our review sample lend themselves to supposing that this should be a solid but not stellar performer, and our benchmarks asserted that supposition. Its 3DMark06 score of 3573 is arguably higher than any real ProBook 6460B user is likely to ever want or need, sneaky games of World Of Warcraft when the boss isn't watching notwithstanding. Its PCMark05 score of 7225 is very solid, especially considering the relatively low quantity of RAM in our test unit.
At over 2kg, the ProBook 6460B isn't likely to be the business traveller's notebook of choice, but battery life can still be a key consideration for those who frequently hotdesk or intermittently travel. We ran the ProBook 6460B through our standard brutal battery test, running full-screen video with audio, and all power-saving measures disabled, in order to get a worst-case scenario test figure. It gave us a pleasing three hours and 43 minutes of playback time before finally giving up.
The ProBook 6460B is, indeed, a crewcut. Its style is simple, it's not loaded with frills, fancies or anything requiring product of any type. It's all about business, and provides a decent platform to do that business from.