HP has renewed their line of notebooks with the new ProBook S-series of laptops. They are intended mostly for small and medium business users with an "recession-biting" price – but thanks to discrete graphics in some parts, they are still powerful enough to occasionally play a game on them.

There are models with 14” (4410s, 4415s), 15.6” (4510s, 4515s) and a 17.3” HD widescreen featuring a 16:9 screen format and LED backlight. Just as expected, the notebooks come either with an Intel or AMD platform (number 0 for Intel and 5 for AMD). The keyboard is quite innovative, it is spacious with an added real numeric part. The news is that Intel’s xx10 models have a HDMI port even though they are reallying on Intel’s own GMA X4500HD integrated graphics or ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphic cards (all AMD-based models). 

To go in-line with current "3.5G meets WiFi" fashion, the ProBook S-series come with HP Mobile Broadband, a nice umbrella name for Qualcomm Gobi technology – a single embedded PCI module supporting multiple mobile broadband network technologies and mobile operators. They also feature integrated multimedia keys and an optional Blu-ray optic drive.

The real money shot here is the fact that HP added, for the first time, support for Linux. The ProBook-S comes with preinstalled Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11. HP developed appropriate HP QuickLook 2 software (instant boot mini-OS with access to e-mail, calendar, task and contact information within seconds).

The HP SpareKey for forgotten passwords by using a sequence of three predetermined personal identification questions to gain immediate entry into the system. For data security there is File Sanitizer (permanently deletes individual files, folders and personal information from the notebook). The ProBook series is designed to be 90% recyclable, and environmentally friendly (mercury-free design). The HP ProBook models with Windows operating systems include a power management capability to save energy by automatically switching the PC into a low-power mode after a period of inactivity. So far they are only available in black but in June they will be available in the color Merlot (14” and 15.6” models). Estimated price will be about $529 in US (depending of the model).

All in all – HP, you did a nice and "hip" move. Now, we want to see how good these models really are. Stay tuned.