The EliteBook 2540p is HP’s answer for consumers who want top-notch performance and battery life out of a laptop that’s only slightly bigger than a netbook. Like the ThinkPad X201s, it sports a 12.1 inch screen, but with a slightly lower resolution of 1280 x 800. Modernly-styled thanks to it full magnesium alloy casing and scratch-resistant anodized aluminum surfaces, this machine’s sleek looks certainly compliment its functionality and are a step above the utilitarian appearance of the Lenovo. Weighing 4 pounds, the inclusion of an optical drive in the low-voltage model makes it slightly heavier than competing machines, but it’s a trade off many should be more than willing to make for the ability to watch DVDs or directly install software using a disc. As a testament to its durability, HP has tested the EliteBook 2540p to match military specifications that include using a 3D accelerometer that will park the hard drive head in the event of a drop to minimize damage. A finger print reader is also available as additional security measure. Since the includes a 2 megapixel webcam, this machine is primed for Skype conference calling, and features nifty business card reading software which automatically inputs contact information based on webcam business card shots. Powered by a 2.13-GHz Intel Core i7 processor and 4GB of ram, there’s no shortage of speed on this laptop, although it has been benchmarked as slightly slower than the ThinkPad X201s which contains matching hardware specs. Powerwise, users can choose 3, 6, or 9 cell battery configurations. The 6 cell provides 6:30 hours of power, while the 9 cell is claimed to deliver 12.5 by HP and add one pound to the computer’s overall weight. Though pre-bundled software is something we’re normally not fans of, the inclusion of HP’s Quick Web software is a nice convenience. Basically it allows users to view an instant-on Linux OS web browser and read-only Outlook email and calendar in under 10 seconds while the machine goes through it’s normal boot up process in the background. Our conclusion is that while it may be more expensive than the Lenovo X201s with a standard smaller battery and hard drive, its good looks, optical drive option, and convenient business-inspired software give it a better work/personal balance for the average consumer.

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