In general use the 4720s is a good performer. With four virtual cores and the ability to turbo-clock up to 2.53GHz, the Core i5 CPU is more than up to the demands of the average business user. Indeed, even those with more demanding needs should be satisfied, as there's little within good reason that this system can't handle.
When it comes to graphical performance, the ATI Radeon HD 4330 should (just barely) be able to run older 3D titles, which compares favourably to the integrated solutions utilized by most laptops. The display wouldn't accommodate our standard 1,366 x 768 testing resolution, so tests were run in 1,280 x 768. At this setting the 4720s managed a perfectly smooth 47 frames per second average in TrackMania. More demanding fare like STALKER: Call of Pripyat didn't do too well though, but then technically this is a laptop for work rather than play.
Thanks to a capacious eight-cell (14.4V, 73 Watt-hour) battery, the 4720s holds up for a surprising amount of time away from a socket for a laptop with discrete graphics and such a large display. Its DVD result of two hours and 24 minutes under full brightness (when the screen is perfectly viewable at less than 40 percent) means you can watch even the longest films without running out of juice – just remember to turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Even more impressive is the 4720s' performance in the less intensive Productivity test, where screen brightness is at 40 percent. Here the ProBook managed an impressive four and a half hours, which is ahead of the pack by a considerable margin, making it a good choice for portability provided you can bear its 3.1kg weight.
When it comes to value, keep in mind that business machines usually demand a considerable premium over similarly-specified consumer equivalents. This is down to increased ruggedness, extra hardware features (like the HDD protection, spill-proof keyboard and fingerprint scanner), and business-centric software that aids security.
As such, the 4720s' £784.84 (667.95 exc. VAT) price is quite reasonable. There's little competition for business machines with a screen size of above 17 inches, and compared to the few rival options out there, this ProBook is generally cheaper while offering a well-balanced specification and solid, very attractive design. If you can live with the touchpad's issues and the display's limitations, this is definitely one to consider for those after a portable desktop replacement.
Fairly rugged and offering a premium look and feel, HP's ProBook 4720s features a balanced, high-performance component set with comprehensive and easy to use applications. Added to its respectable battery life and above average value, this business laptop's few flaws become easy to forgive.