The Hewlett Packard EliteBook 8560W Mobile Workstation isn’t a low cost machine. At its cheapest it’ll set you back nearly £1,300 inc VAT. What you get for your money is a stunningly capably notebook that’s solidly made and ideal for high end, particularly graphic rich work.
A wolf in wolf’s clothing
If it's small and portable you're after in a notebook look away now. Notebooks with 15.6in screens can qualify as portable quite easily, but this particular one doesn’t. It weighs 3kg if you choose an option with a solid state drive – more if you choose a mechanical hard drive.
The notebook’s weight is not all you will have to lug around either. Its power supply includes a very old fashioned brick like transformer that’s three or even four times larger than many you’ll see today, and it is heavy too. You’ll almost certainly have to carry this as battery life isn’t great. We got less than two hours of DVD video playback from a full charge, this is not a machine for the road warrior.
The reason the HP EliteBook 8560W Mobile Workstation is so heavy is that it's built from extremely solid materials. It meets MIL-STD 810G, and that in turn means it can withstand drop, dust and vibrating situations (think being hurled about in the back of a car). It can also cope with pretty seriously warm and cold conditions. The magnesium alloy and aluminium chassis is impressive – and the lid section is thick and solid.
The designer’s friend
Where the HP EliteBook 8560W Mobile Workstation comes into its own is on the designer’s desk. The screen might not be huge at 15.6in but its native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels is high, making it good for detailed graphics work. You can choose a 1,600 x 900 resolution if you don’t need the extra detail or desktop real estate.
HP’s DreamColor system is on hand for any designers or others who need to make sure the colours they work with on screen precisely match the finished product. It’s a high end system, not for everyone, but for those who need it, it can be an ideal partner.
Another big plus point of the HP EliteBook 8560W Mobile Workstation for designers is its ability to run up to five displays. You’ll need a docking station to make this work, but if you need to see a lot of information at once, it’s a possibility.
Usability and specs
The keyboard area has space for a full sized number pad, and all the isolation style keys are comfy to use, if a little on the noisy side. The keys are backlit, and there’s remarkably little light bleed. There’s both a touchpad and trackpoint for cursor control, and both are comfortable to use.
Meanwhile the internals are as high end as you’d expect from what you’ve read so far. Various processor options are on offer right up to Intel quad-core Core i7-2820QM and i7-2630QM options. You can also opt for the dual-core i7-2620M, i5-2540M and i5-2520M. Up to 32GB of RAM can be installed, and storage comes in the form of a 256GB SSD or 500GB or 700GB mechanical hard drives.
Security is managed by a fingerprint sensor and SmartCard reader, as well as TPM and HP’s own ProtectTools Security Manager suite. Ports and connectors are plentiful with SD card, FireWire, DislayPort, two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports (one with charging ability), eSATA/USB combo, ExpressCard 54, optical drive, VGA and even a modem port to accompany the Ethernet connector.
The HP EliteBook 8560W Mobile Workstation is a beast of a notebook. It's not particularly portable and battery life is a bit poor, but it can be specified with top notch components that’ll keep designers happy. The fact that its MIL-STD 810G certified means that if you do have to carry it, it will survive a few knocks.
Pros: Great for designers, solid and tough
Cons: Heavy, terrible battery life