HP ProBook 5330m Review

Dana Wollman at Engadget:

Blessedly, HP topped off the 13.3-inch (1366 x 768) display with a matte finish, which makes it easy to view from oblique side angles. Still, that won’t save you when you’re trying to watch a movie from a plane’s stowaway table — when we tried watching a movie with the lid dipped forward, the picture looked awfully washed out. As you can see in the photo below, colors look pretty accurate (just hone in on Kermie’s skin), though this is hardly the most eye-popping display you’ll find. Still, its 200-nit brightness helped us work comfortably for long stretches in a variety of different situations, including a fluorescent office and a more dimly lit apartment.

The HP ProBook. I guess HP didn’t stop at just copying the industrial design of Apple’s MacBook Pro. It seems the company took three letters out from MacBook Pro, rearranged the Book and Pro to get ProBook. How creative.

Maybe it’s because HP’s designers are so enamored by Apple’s industrial design of its MacBook Pros, but I must say the ProBook looks quite nice. I’m not much of a fan of those ugly grills on the side, or the non-unibody chassis, but the overall design ethos is minimalistic and elegant. The only problem I have are those red Beats Audio logos you can’t do anything about. Terrible idea.

The display, though pleasantly matte, is a disappointment. There are two main reasons. One is the lack of pixels. HP should copy Apple more carefully next time because Apple has moved ahead toward 1440×900 for its 13.3-inch MacBook Air. The next 13.3-inch MacBook Pro refresh will most likely have the extra pixels, too. Second, viewing angles are not so good. Granted, most notebook displays are terrible, but that doesn’t mean a matte pro-level notebook by HP should have one as well. I would have expected a slightly better display.

The MacBook Air or MacBook Pro displays are a bit better but not by much. I don’t know what the reason is but I think it is about time computer manufacturers get serious about the displays in notebooks. I do want to mention Dell. With its Precision line of mobile workstations, Dell offers really great displays that feature RGB LED backlights. With hardware-based color calibration, the Precision line of notebooks by Dell should provide a really great visual experience. But, even though colors are great, viewing angles are still not that great. Who might be the first to integrate IPS LCDs into notebooks again?

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