Hewlett Packard EliteBook 8560p Notebook Review

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First Boot & Software

Included with the EliteBook 8560p is a power cord, the notebook itself, and, well, that's it. To call the bundle sparse is an understatement, and we suppose we could say we appreciate HP's no-nonsense approach (after all, how many people actually read manuals in the first place?), but a restore and/or Windows disc would have been nice.

One place we're thrilled HP didn't go crazy with extras is the desktop. Being a bulk OEM, we expected to fire the EliteBook 8560p up and be met with hordes of performance robbing crapware. To our (pleasant) surprise, the desktop and systray were nearly devoid of all but the bare essentials. That means you can hop right in and start using your notebook rather than spending the first half hour cleaning out the crud and Googling the names of programs you don't recognize. Well done, HP.

While HP doesn't litter the system with trialware, the OEM does include several handy utilities that you'll want to actually use, as opposed to the ones that just take up space until you replace them with better third-party alternatives. One of these is HP ProtectTools. As a business-oriented notebook, the 8650p comes with several security features baked in. The ProtectTools Security Manager is your frontend for managing most of them. With it you can manage passwords, setup theft recovery through CompuTrace, enable drive encryption, shred files and folders so that they're virtually unrecoverable without professional tools, manage backups, and more.

HP's Connection Manager won't have enthusiasts jumping out of their seats and pumping their fists in excitement, but it does wrangle all the connectivity protocols into a central location that's perhaps easier to use and more straightforward than fumbling through Windows.

Perhaps more useful is HP's Power Assistant utility designed to "put all of your PC's power settings at your fingertips with one easy-to-use interface." Power Assistant goes beyond just tattling on which components are power hogs, it also lets you set up customized schedules, estimate energy consumption based on the applied settings, and even reports estimated energy costs, pounds of CO2, and kilowatt hours. And if you're an IT manager, you can deploy Power Assistant profiles throughout the entire workforce. You can read more about HP's Power Assistant here (PDF).

Finally, HP's EliteBook line ships with QuickWeb, a pre-boot environment that fires up in seconds and gives you access to lightweight tasks when you're in a hurry, like looking up something on the Internet, sending a Skype message, composing an email, or even checking the weather. Several widgets adorn the screen, including a calculator, and you can add, remove, and customize up to eight at a time.

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