The best HP laptops for business offer solid security, durability and excellent designs. Check out our top-rated picks here.
Whether you're looking for a lightweight travel companion or a beastly workstation, HP makes some excellent laptops that should meet your needs. HP's business-class laptops – which fall under the Elite, ZBook and ProBook brands – offer extra durability credentials and good enough security to satisfy your company's IT department. And don't count out the Spectre line of premium consumer notebooks, which are some of the best-designed laptops on the market. Read on to see our choices for different needs and budgets.
Editor's Note: HP issued a recall of 101,000 laptop batteries sold at big box retailers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico between March 2013 and October 2016 because they may overheat and cause damage or possibly fire. The recall involves HP, Compaq, ProBook, Envy, Compaq Presarios and Pavilion laptops. Even battery packs that are sold separately are affected.
How We Evaluate Laptops
Every laptop on this list has been fully reviewed on our sister site, BusinessNewsDaily.com. We use precise, repeatable testing procedures to evaluate products and help our readers make informed buying decisions. Our methods include industry-standard synthetic benchmark tests, including the Geekbench 3 performance test, and the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics test. We also use a variety of in-house tests to assess each laptop's battery life, file transfer speed and more.
For more information on how we evaluate laptops, check out our testing guide.
Best overall – HP EliteBook Folio G1
The EliteBook Folio G1 is a commuter's dream machine. In fact, it's the most portable business-class laptop, period. In addition to the super-slim profile, you get a durable design, a sharp 12.5-inch display and strong security – including hardware-based encryption and facial recognition capabilities, so you can log in to the computer just by looking at its camera.
Best for Commuters – HP Spectre
Commuters will adore the Spectre's slim and light design. In fact, it's the thinnest laptop we've ever tested, so it couldn't be easier to slide the system into your crowded work bag. And while other ultra-slim laptops offer shallow, uncomfortable keyboards, the typing experience on the Spectre is a joy. It's really speedy, too. But while commuters will love its portable design, people who want to work away from their desk might be disappointed by the Spectre's below-average battery life.
Best workstation – HP ZBook Studio G3
HP's ZBook Studio G3 is a powerful workstation that won't weigh you down. The 15-inch system is lighter and slimmer than your average workstation, but it doesn't skimp on power, with a beefy Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5 processor, 32GB of RAM, and Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics. It also boasts a durable design, a vivid 15.6-inch display and a seriously comfortable keyboard.
Best 2-in-1 – HP Elite X2
HP's Elite x2 is our favorite overall 2-in-1 laptop for business. The system includes a 12-inch tablet that snaps onto a detachable keyboard, which comes in the box. You also get excellent stylus support, solid security options – including hardware encryption and a built-in fingerprint reader – and a design that's more durable than what you get with Microsoft's Surface Pro 4.
Best Battery Life – HP Spectre x360
The Spectre x360 combines a thin and light design with excellent battery life, making it a great pick for frequent travelers. The 13-inch system boasts a bright display and fast performance, in addition to more than 10 hours of battery life. Plus, its display folds back a full 360 degrees, so you can use it like a large tablet. Even better, it offers active pen support for taking notes right on the display.
Best Chromebook – HP Chromebook 13 G1
HP's Chromebook 13 G1 is a work-ready laptop, with the security and manageability features that IT departments demand. You get a stylish design, a bright 13.3-inch display and fast performance, making it an enticing option for everyday productivity. But like all Chromebooks, it runs on Google's stripped-down Chrome OS, which means it can't natively run Windows or Mac apps.
HP EliteBook x360
Later this month, HP announced it will release its EliteBook x360. The laptop maker declined to announce a price at CES 2017, however. While we can't wait to do a full review, we can tell you a few things. This super-thin, business ultraportable measures just 0.59 inches thick. The 13.3-inch display will feature HP's Sure View integrated privacy screen and 4K resolution. The laptop will come with biometric authentication, Intel Core i5 or i7 vPro CPUs and USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3. IT administrators will appreciate the HP Manageability Integration Kit that helps speed up image creation and management of hardware, BIOS and security. Check HP's site for all its latest business laptop announcements.
What You Need to Know Before Buying an HP Laptop
Security, durability and manageability features vary widely across HP's laptop lineup. Here's an overview of what to expect from the brand.
Spectre vs. Elite vs. ZBook
HP offers work-ready laptops in a number of different lines. Here's a quick breakdown.
- Spectre: The Spectre line of premium consumer laptops is known for its stunning looks and portable designs. These laptops typically lack secure manageability options and business-class durability. Still, they're good for independent mobile workers, as well as executives and other select users in enterprise environments.
- Elite: HP's Elite line includes ultraportable laptops with business-class security features, including hardware encryption, biometric authentication and secure manageability. These durable notebooks are also tested to withstand dings, drops, dust, humidity and more.
- ZBook: The ZBook lineup offers similar security and durability credentials to the Elite line. ZBooks, however, provide workstation-class performance for heavy-duty tasks. They're also larger and heavier than Elite laptops.
- ProBook: The ProBook line includes HP's most affordable business-class laptops. ProBook systems match the Elite line in terms of security and durability, but they're generally bulkier and heavier.
HP's business laptops offer a variety of security features.
- Encryption: All of HP's business laptops come equipped with a Trusted Platform Module, which enables hardware-based encryption.
- Biometric security: This means you can unlock your work laptop using your own body. In its most basic form, that means a fingerprint scanner, which is available on many HP models. And a few HP laptops – such as the Elite x2 – have cameras capable of facial recognition, so you can unlock your laptop just by looking at it.
- Lock slot: Most HP business laptops also come with a lock slot that lets you physically secure your device to your desk with a cable.
Many of HP's business laptops offer special manageability tools.
- VPro: Many HP models are available with secure manageability via Intel vPro technology. VPro is a remote management platform baked right into high-end Intel processors, giving you or your IT team access to laptops at the hardware level. That makes it possible to run software and group policy updates even when a system has been turned off. The ability to manage a powered-down system also helps when you need to locate the system, restrict access to it, or wipe it clean if it's been lost or stolen.
- Deployment: HP offers a range of migration and deployment services. For starters, HP can preload company images onto new PCs in the factory. Additionally, it can migrate system images and data to your new PCs remotely, limiting workday disruptions. For companies that need a bit of extra hand holding, HP offers on-site services, including delivery of new PCs, image installation and full data migration.
HP's business laptops generally offer excellent durability features.
- MIL-SPEC: HP's business-class laptops all come with MIL-SPEC durability credentials. The rating means the laptops meet military-grade standards of toughness, with the ability to resist dings, extreme temperatures, pressure, humidity, dust and vibrations. Consumer-grade laptops like those in the Spectre line lack MIL-SPEC credentials, however.
- Spill resistance: A few HP laptops come with spill-resistant keyboards, which divert spilled liquid away from your laptop's circuitry to avoid permanent damage.
HP offers a variety of services to ensure the reliability of its PCs.
- Warranties: All HP laptops come with a standard one-year limited warranty that covers defective hardware. Extended coverage for up to four continuous years is available with an HP Care Pack warranty. As a perk, the company pays for shipping when you send in a laptop to be serviced.
- On-site servicing: A variety of on-site servicing options are available for businesses of all sizes. HP can configure and customize new or existing laptops, transfer user settings and other data to new devices, and remove PCs from your office in a secure and environmentally conscious way.
- Tech support: Buyers can purchase a subscription to HP Care Services, which includes a variety of support options. The plans include tracking and recovery for lost or stolen devices, accidental damage protection, and on-site repairs and troubleshooting. For defective PCs, HP also offers next-business-day device exchange.
Add-Ons & Accessories
A few key add-ons can give your HP laptops a boost.
- Docking: The $159 HP UltraSlim Docking Station lets you connect an EliteBook laptop to a variety of extra ports just by setting it on the dock. For non-Elite models, HP sells the $129 Targus Docking Station, which connects to any laptop via USB 3.0 while adding extra ports.
- Extended batteries: HP sells a variety of extended battery accessories that attach to the bottom of business-class notebooks in the Elite and ZBook lines.
- HP Active Stylus: HP's Active Stylus lets you write on the screen of compatible laptop computers. It's handy for digital note taking – if your notebook supports it.
HP ships most of its business laptops with a variety of preinstalled software, including some utilities and some bloatware.
- Operating system: All of HP laptops ship with Windows 10 by default. However, some systems can be customized at checkout on HP.com to ship with Windows 7 Professional for a $21 fee.
- Utilities: HP's business laptops usually come with a few useful utilities, such as HP ePrint, which allows you to send documents to printers over the internet, and HP Touchpoint Manager, which makes it easier for IT departments to remotely manage HP PCs.
- Bloatware: HP laptops come with a minimal amount of unwanted software (aka bloatware) out of the box. Most systems, however, do ship with some extra software and games installed, such as Flipboard or Candy Crush Saga.
HP laptops vary widely in terms of design, particularly between the various lines. The Spectre line – which includes the Spectre 13 and Spectre x360 – is notable for including some of the best-looking laptops on the market, with luxurious metal designs and slim profiles. The Elite lineup also offers some head-turning systems, like the all-metal EliteBook Folio G1. The ZBook line, meanwhile, tends toward more understated, utilitarian designs. Finally, most ProBook models offer a no-frills plastic construction.