Having recently checked out the 17.3in HP ProBook 4720s to suit those wanting a desktop replacement or large screen business laptop, we're now taking a look at the other end of the scale: the ultraportable, 13.3in ProBook 5320m. Despite generally only demanding a modest premium, HP's ProBook range has the build quality and elegance to make it a desirable option even for home users, so let's check it out.
The first thing you'll notice on taking this laptop out of its box is its feel of class, thanks to a brushed aluminium mocha-coloured top and a soft-touch black underside that's simply lovely to hold. HP's 5320m is a bit on the heavy side, starting at 1.72kg with a four-cell battery and our model, with its 62 Watt-hour battery, going up to 1.83kg. However, a lot of this weight is down to the laptop's magnesium-alloy chassis, which is a good thing.
Some might bemoan the 5320m's glossy screen bezel, but it does add to the premium look and the screen itself is matt. The keyboard surround is likewise piano black, but keys are matt and the palm-rest is covered in the same brushed metal as the lid, so fingerprints won't be much of an issue. The final touch is a large, white-backlit metallic power button that somehow doesn't seem out of place.
It's not a case of all looks and no substance for this laptop though, as its specifications are generally impressive. A dual-core Intel Core i5 450M with hyperthreading support for four virtual cores runs at 2.4GHz standard and can Turbo-clock to 2.66Hz. It's backed by 4GB of 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM, which with its single DIMM slot is the maximum this laptop supports.
Unlike the model of the 4720s we looked at, which despite carrying the same amount of memory sported a 32-bit OS for greater compatibility, this 5320m comes with a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Professional, though downgrades to a 32-bit version and even Vista are available. To be honest we can't think of a single reason a user would opt for Vista over 7, and XP would have been a more logical option.
For permanent storage there's a generous 500GB hard drive running at a speedy 7,200rpm, and if that's not fast enough for you an SSD upgrade is available. When sticking with the moving parts drive, you'll be glad to hear it's well-protected by HP's 3D DriveGuard system, which combines shock-dampening material, a magnesium drive cage and an accelerometer that locks the drive heads when sudden, sharp motion is detected.
The only weak link in this list is Intel's CPU-integrated graphics, which will do a fine job for daily productivity but preclude you from any half-way demanding 3D gaming or graphics. On the other hand, that's hardly much of an issue for a business machine, and battery life should be better than with a discrete card.