Product HP ProBook Ubuntu 455
Specs AMD 1.9GHz quad-core A10-7300 APU, 8GB RAM, 15.6in 1366x768 display with LED backlighting, 1TB HDD, WiFi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0 and Ethernet connectivity, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, three-cell 31WHr Lithium-ion battery, 345x244x25.3mm, 2.15kg
Price £300 (as tested)
HP, CANONICAL AND EBUYER joined forces recently to release Ubuntu-powered versions of three low-budget, business-focused Windows laptops: the ProBook 255 Ubuntu, ProBook 355 Ubuntu and ProBook 455 Ubuntu.
The ProBook 455 Ubuntu boasts the highest specs of the three, and the highest price, although at £299 it still costs considerably less than its Windows equivalent.
It's a clear attempt at proving the Linux-based operating system's worth as a serious but user-friendly Windows alternative that can be just as at home on an office desk as it can in a server farm.
Weighing 2.15kg and measuring 345x244x25.3mm, the ProBook 455 Ubuntu is quite a hefty notebook. It could just about squeeze into a satchel, although it was heavy enough that we arrived home with a sore shoulder.
Our test unit arrived with some scuffing on the underside, despite enduring our own transit tests without visible damage.
On the bright side, those chunky proportions leave plenty of room for connectivity options. In addition to four USB 2.0 ports, an SD card reader, one DVI, one HDMI and one Ethernet port, there's a disk drive/writer, a feature otherwise facing extinction at the hands of ultrabooks and convertibles.
The keyboard is nice and spacious, with keys that feel light without being too susceptible to accidental presses. The trackpad is large and responsive, although the left-click and right-click buttons feel loose and cheap which, to be fair, they are.
At least the rest of the machine has a surprisingly premium vibe, with a brushed aluminium chassis and a high-quality matte plastic lid.
That said, a few signs of the hardware's past have been sloppily left lying around. Most incongruous of these is the Windows key, while the original model's fingerprint reader has been removed and replaced with a bit of aluminium-coloured plastic.
As we'd expect for a larger notebook, the ProBook 455 Ubuntu is fan-cooled. It does a good job of dissipating heat but, as fans often do, it gets distractingly loud during heavy-load tasks such as playing video.
The ProBook 455 Ubuntu packs a 15.6in, 1366x768 display with LED backlighting. It's decently sharp for such a big screen, but the maximum brightness is low, which contributes to most colours appearing flat. Viewing angles are also limited, but this didn't pose too many problems when using the device as our main laptop.
The screen has been treated with an anti-glare coating which, besides doing its job of blocking out light intrusions, doesn't fall into the trap of adding a grainy effect over the entire display, a problem we've seen on pricier machines like the Asus Zenbook UX305.
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