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Review: HP EliteBook 820 delivers sleek yet rugged portability

There was a time not too long ago when a laptop would have been mobile largely in name but not in practice, with weight an issue and user functionality not always top of the designer’s agenda. 

But the situation has changed, and there are two things to thank for that: the growth in tablets, and improvements in operating systems. It might seem odd to highlight the growth in the popularity of tablets as a positive for laptops – it is cannibalising the market, after all – but it has provoked some serious rethinking about weight and portability, making the latest hardware much more comfortable to use. 

On the operating system front, the arrival of Windows 8 established the idea that eventually all things will be touchscreen-based, so even those laptops not using touch technology have to make a nod to it and provide a better user experience. 

Seeing those design improvements in action is not too difficult and simply involves taking a closer look at the latest products on the market. At this point, the gaze fixes on the Hewlett-Packard EliteBook 820.

In a nutshell, the light and sleek-looking portable offers a 12.5in screen, up to 33 hours of battery life and is designed to be used on the move, featuring the MIL-STD 810G certification for business rugged reliability.

Other benefits include built-in 4G connectivity and HP Sure Start, which protects against BIOS attack or corruption.

The ideal buyer for this portable is someone who travels a lot and wants to be sure that when they turn up for meetings and zip open the bag what they pull out attracts attention for the right reasons. 

There are numerous options for storage, with SSD, a couple of USB slots and room for a hard disk, which means there is a degree of customisation open to the user.

On the model we were sent to have a look at there was also a backlit keyboard. This might sound like a gimmick, but for anyone who might need to use a laptop in a business conference situation it could be a real bonus. 

The lasting impression you have of the laptop is that it is a well-designed business product. HP clearly knew what its customers wanted and has delivered a light and sleek option that should make computing on the move a much more enjoyable experience.

This was first published in March 2014

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