HP Targets SMBs with Revamped ProBooks as Low as $249
Hewlett-Packard is revamping its ProBook series of notebook PCs with new models targeted at small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs). The new Windows 8-based ProBook 200 and ProBook 400 lines offer a variety of options to fit different needs and fairly conservative budgets. With pricing for the ProBook 200 starting as low as $249, HP hopes to attract new buyers among smaller companies.
The more expensive 400 series is intended for what the company called "everyday work demands," and HP is promoting the notebooks' battery life, durability, design and security features. The 200 series also offers multimedia tools, and is targeted at home and office use.
There are five SMB-focused 400 Series PCs. The models are up to 36 percent thinner and 18 percent lighter than previous HP notebooks, come with DTS Sound+, and offer such options as a hybrid disk drive, 4G or HP Client Security.
The '200' Value Line
The 200 Series, positioned as the value line, starts at $249 and is more oriented toward content creation, consumption and presentation. The three models in this line have options for optical drives or second hard drives.
With such a low price tag, the ProBook 200s are expected to compete with the lower end of cloud-based Chromebooks, which use the Google Chrome operating system. Chromebooks have the edge for ease of administrative control, since the apps and data all live in the cloud, but the 200 Series are full-featured computers that can, of course, also use the cloud.
The HP 240 has a 14-inch, 1366x768 display, Intel Core i3 or i5 processors, as much as 6 GB of memory, Wi-Fi and up to 750 GB storage. Options include AMD Radeon HD 7450M discrete graphics, Windows 8 or Windows 8 Pro or, if desired, Ubuntu Linux. The 250 has a 15.6-inch screen, i3 or i5 processors, and Intel integrated graphics, while the 255, also with a 15.6-inch screen, features AMD processors and integrated graphics.
The '400' Mainstream Line
The ProBook 400s are more mainstream, with prices starting at $499. The 430 features a 13-inch screen, Intel fourth-generation Core i3, i5 or i7 processors, up to 16 GB of memory, and a hard drive up to half a terabyte or a solid-state drive up to 128 GB. Options include LTE or HSPA+ 4G data network capability.
The 440 has a 14-inch screen with an Intel processor, and the 445 an AMD chip with the same-size screen. The 15.6-inch 450 uses a third-gen Intel processor, can handle a hard drive up to one terabyte, and has a touchscreen. The 17-inch 470 model is designed as the portable desktop replacement, with a 1600x900 res screen, third-gen Intel processors and optional AMD Radeon discrete graphics.
Printing and Imaging Solutions
As part of its SMB pitch, HP is also announcing new printing and imaging solutions. They include the LaserJet Pro multifunction printer M521, the LaserJet Enterprise M725, the Scanjet Pro 3000 s2 sheet-feed scanner with scan-to-cloud support, the Officejet Pro 251 dw printer, the Officejet Pro 276dw multifunction printer, and the Officejet 7610 wide-format e-All-in-One printer.
The M521 is designed to support printing from mobile devices as well as computers, through HP ePrint, AirPrint or DirectPrint technologies, and the M725 can handle higher volume printing. The Officejet Pro printers provide as much as a 50 percent reduction in cost per page than laser printers.