There's no doubt this is the year of tablets. HP's latest contribution, the EliteBook 2740p, is aimed at the corporate set, specifically. Don't see a need for multitouch? The company also introduced the 2540p, a 12-inch ultraportable.
What makes the EliteBook line different from HP's other business-focused series, the ProBooks, is its particularly durable magnesium alloy design. In fact, all EliteBooks undergo the same military-grade testing that traditionally rugged notebooks go through, only these, with their metal bodies and keyboards, are much more stylish.
In our brief hands-on, the sturdy latch made the tablet feel particularly durable when closed, although the system itself is on the thick side (it starts at 3.8 pounds). With IT departments in mind, the 12.1-inch 2740p takes aim directly at other business-grade tablets, such as Dell's Latitude XT2.
The 2740p starts at $1,599. Uniquely, users can choose between two kinds of processors, a standard-voltage Intel Core i5 option (this is the less expensive of the two) and a low-voltage Core i7 CPU. It comes with a six-cell battery, which promises up to 5 hours. HP says the difference in battery life between the standard voltage and low voltage processors is between 20 and 30 minutes. For $179, users can buy a battery slice that expands the battery life to as much as 11 hours.
Meanwhile, the Elitebook 2540p, also 12.1 inches and made of durable magnesium alloy, starts at $1,099 and a lighter 3.38 pounds. It, too, offers a choice between two Core i5 standard-voltage processors or a low voltage Core i7 CPU. The standard-voltage version leaves no room for an optical drive or modular bay, and has 2 USB ports. The more expensive low voltage configurations have 3 USB ports and room for a second hard drive (there are 5,400 rpm and 7,200 rpm HDDs available).
The 2540p has more battery options than the 2740p tablet, including a three-cell, six-cell, and nine-cell. HP confirmed that the 3-cell lasts 4 hours; the 6-cell, 8.5 hours; and the 9-cell, 12.5 hours. The 9-cell battery will add about three quarters of a pound to the weight of the laptop.
The EliteBook 2740p tablet starts at $1,599 and the EliteBook 2540p tablet starts at $1,099. Both will be available in March.