If you find HP's enterprise level EliteBook range a wee bit too daunting in price but loved the overall design and build compared to the more consumer oriented Pavilion series, then HP's newest series of ProBooks would be the ideal alternative to look out for. After all, HP's current strategy is to target the ProBook at small and medium businesses at an affordable price point lower then their EliteBook series of notebooks. As a side benefit, it also offers the casual consumer interested in the functional no-nonsense EliteBook design that is now within their reach.
Indeed, you'll find plenty of similarities in the design of the ProBook and the EliteBook series; after all, both are business-class notebooks but that said, the ProBooks do scale down somewhat on some of the options offered on the EliteBook series. Most noticeably, they differ in the type of material used in the construction of the notebook. We could feel the difference on our review unit of the HP ProBook 4411s, as it sported a plastic build instead of the magnesium alloy used on the EliteBook notebooks. The ProBook also isn't up to the military grade toughness of the EliteBooks, but it does have protection for your hard disk drives in the form of HP's 3D DriveGuard, which parks the hard drive head safely if it detects sudden freefalling motions (i.e. your notebook goes crashing onto the floor).
So aside from the build quality, HP has included some of the features found on the EliteBook series onto the ProBooks like the HP QuickLook2, a feature that boots the system into a shell where you can view your emails without loading the Windows operating system and a HP SpareKey feature for accessing your system when you forget your passwords. Sounds like an impressive package from HP for a budget business notebook, but what about its hardware innards?