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Innovation

HP's new ProBook Windows 7 business laptops have drain in keyboard that saves PC, not pants, from spills

HP on Tuesday unveiled two new Windows 7 business laptops intended to shake out what's left of the IT budget and convince businesses that Windows 7 migration doesn't have to be (too) expensive.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor on

HP on Tuesday unveiled two new Windows 7 business laptops intended to shake out what's left of the IT budget and convince businesses that Windows 7 migration doesn't have to be (too) expensive.

The HP ProBook 6445b and ProBook 6545b are targeted at corporate customers "who want an affordable combination of business-critical and innovative features in a full-function notebook PC." That translates to up to 8 hours and 15 minutes of battery life, as well as a wealth of wireless connectivity options.

But the coolest darn feature of these laptops is a spill-resistant keyboard with a drain underneath the laptop. I was able to witness this work in person, and it's a frightening visual: a steady stream of water running right into the keyboard of an active ProBook and coming right out a drain hole in the bottom.

Scary -- but very cool -- stuff.

HP's reps say the drain will save your PC but not your pants; I suppose the wager is that your pants didn't cost as much as your ProBook did, and if they did, you wouldn't care.

Other business-centric features include HP QuickLook, a light quick-boot option for e-mail, contacts, etc.; HP Power Assistant, which lets you monitor and choose power consumption levels on the fly; and optional business card reader software to pair with an optional webcam.

Otherwise, the new laptops are available with 14-inch or 15.6-inch diagonal HD LED-backlit widescreen displays and sport the following:

HP ProBook 6445b business laptop

  • 14.0 in. HD LED-backlit widescreen display (1366x768)
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • CPU: AMD Turion II ultra dual core (2.4GHz); Turion II dual core (2.3GHz); Athlon II dual core (2.1GHz) or Sempron (2.0GHz)
  • Up to 8GB DDR2 SDRAM (800MHz)
  • 160 to 500GB 7,200 RPM HDD or 128GB SSD
  • Upgrade Bay that fits SATA optical drive or hard drive, Blu-ray and DVD/RW available
  • ATi Radeon HD 4200 graphics
  • Integrated dual-microphone array with optional 2 megapixel webcam
  • Wireless: EV-DO/HSPA, 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 ExpressCard slot, media card reader
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports, 1 VGA port, 1 DisplayPort, line in, line out, 1394a
  • Full-size keyboard with numeric keypad, touchpad with scrollzone, optional pointstick
  • Optional fingerprint sensor
  • 6 or 9 cell battery
  • 1.37 in. thick
  • 5.9 lbs.

HP ProBook 6545b business laptop

The same as above, except:

  • 15.6-inch LED-backlit widescreen display (1366x768; 1600x900 optional)

Both models come with a suite of business-centric security software (Spare Key, Disk Sanitizer, Drive Lock, Drive Encryption, etc.) and options for docking stations. They're Energy Star 5.0 and EPEAT Gold certified.

The ProBooks will be available in mid-November and start at $799.

Editorial standards

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