October 31, 2011
- Attractive, portable design
- Good-looking screen
- Well-designed keyboard & touchpad
- Above average battery life
- No USB 3.0 or HDMI
- Performance is nothing special
The HP ProBook 4430s is an affordable and stylish all-purpose laptop that suits the needs of a home or small business user. It has decent performance, although not the best, but the 14-inch display has really great quality. We were disappointed at HP's decision to not include the latest USB 3.0 connectivity.
The HP ProBook 4430s has a good, solid design that measures 4.5 x 9.3 x 1.1-inches (wdh) and weighs about 4.5-pounds. At this size and weight, you can easily port it around with you throughout a long day's work with no trouble. It has a brushed metal exterior that lends itself to a business-class look without a business-class cost. The case is made of aluminum and actually has quite a thin profile.
HP includes a 14-inch LED-backlit display with a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels, which is 720p HD and pretty much the standard display size for most 14-inch laptops. We will say that the quality of this laptop's display was definitely above average compared to the rest as it offered very good brightness levels and good color accuracy, especially when watching online HD video.
The chiclet-style keyboard also impressed us and it has a solid feel with little to no flex. The keys were adequately sized and spaced on the keyboard deck with no irregularly shaped or awkwardly placed keys. The touchpad was also impressive and had an almost friction-less surface. A unique feature with the touchpad is the ability to disable it by double-tapping in the upper left corner. There is also a fingerprint reader for users who want that added security.
In terms of connectivity, HP includes four USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, VGA-out, audio out/in ports and an SD memory card slot. Noticeably absent were both HDMI and USB 3.0 ports, which is a major disappointment as USB 3.0 is rapidly becoming the standard for new computers and HDMI is already standard. There is also Bluetooth 3.0 and 802.11b/g/n wireless connectivity built-in. Microsoft Windows 7 Professional is the operating system that HP chooses for this computer, which again speaks to the business users but doesn't completely leave out the home users either.
Our review unit had a dual-core Intel Core i5-2410M (2.3GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive, a dual-layer DVD+/-RW drive and integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics. These specs are slightly better than a lesser configuration available on the HP ProBook 4430s that includes an Intel Core i3 CPU and a 320GB hard drive. With the i5 CPU, performance was average when compared to other similar laptops and we were impressed. We noticed no problems while watching HD streaming video or doing some casual multitasking.
Because this laptop has integrated Intel graphics, don't expect to do any 3D gaming because you won't get any playable results at all, which is expected to be the case for laptop's with this type of graphics system.
Battery life with the HP ProBook 4430s is a little above average at about 5 hours, which is quite good and respectable for this type of laptop.