- Sturdy and rigid construction with good choice of materials
- Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
- Supports M.2 SATA SSD
- Good battery life for a 17-inch budget laptop
- No PWM across all brightness levels
- A Full HD resolution would have been appreciated
Spanning from 14-inch to 17-inch devices, HP’s ProBook series should always be on the top of your list when looking for a budget business companion for a number of reasons. For starters, the ProBooks offer exceptional build quality, good battery life, excellent input devices, capable hardware at a reasonable price and M.2 SATA SSD support. The latter is pretty uncommon for entry-level notebooks. We know all of this because the ProBook 455/450 G3 and 440 G3 have already been reviewed here in our office and now it’s time for the 17-incher.
However, like in most cases, the 17-inch 470 G3 doesn’t really pose really compelling selling points over the 15-inch and 14-inch version except for the bigger working space of course. The hardware, including the battery, unfortunately, is identical – up to Core i7-6500U CPU paired with up to AMD Radeon R7 M340 GPU and up to 16GB of DDR3 RAM. With this configuration, we expect slightly lower battery runtimes due to the larger screen surface that needs to be lit but as far as the rest goes, the 470 G3 should perform similarly to what we’ve seen on the 14-inch 440 G3 and 15-inch 450 G3.
This is one of the things that sets the 470 G3 apart from its smaller siblings. Along with the usual DVD with drivers, user manuals, AC adapter and power cord, you receive a big bag for the notebook. And you will probably going to need this as the machine weighs around 2.61 kg.
Design and construction
The casing is familiar sharing the same design signature as the rest of the ProBooks from this year. The chassis is mostly made of plastic with brushed aluminum used for the interior. Also, no surprises regarding the overall build quality – well-connected parts, no protruding edges, no irregularities.
We are pleased with the soft-touch matte plastic finish on the lid helping with the grip and giving the notebook a distinct look and fairly stable surface, although ripples appear on the screen when pressing the back of the lid. But that’s really common at this price range. The hinges feel really smooth with linear travel and allow opening the notebook with just one hand. And since they are a bit small and are positioned on the sides, the hinges don’t offer enough support for the middle section of the screen making it a bit too flexible but that doesn’t really make any difference in practice. The bottom piece of the notebook is again made of hard plastic with two maintenance hatches giving you access to most of the internals. The battery is again user-replaceable.
The sides are flat and made of plastic while sharing the same silver color as the interior with good port distribution without making either side overcrowded with connectors. The left side holds the DC charging port, main exhaust vent, two USB 3.0 connectors, HDMI, and VGA while the right side has the other two USB 2.0 ports, LAN, 3.5 mm audio jack and the optical drive, of course. Interestingly for a 17-incher, the ProBook 470 G3 doesn’t fall behind some 15-inch laptops with just 26 mm thin chassis. In fact, the weight of the machine isn’t all that high as well – 2.61 kg opposed to some other similarly priced competitors like the Acer Aspire E5-773G and the ASUS X751.
What’s left is the interior that features excellent keyboard design with slightly thin key spacing but the key travel compensates for that. The only thing missing here is probably the LED illumination for the more expensive configurations. Moreover, the keyboard tray appears to be exceptionally stiff and doesn’t give in even under pressure. The same goes for the rest of the interior, which features brushed aluminum finish giving a nice premium feel when resting your palms. And, of course, the touchpad remains untouched and it’s identical to the one found in the ProBook 450 G3 and 440 G3. Absolutely no complaints.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
Most of the hardware you are going to need to upgrade is located under the service lid. It’s easy to access without any hassle. The same thing goes for the battery as well.
Storage upgrade options – 2.5-inch HDD, M.2 slot
Despite its low price, the notebook offers a decent options for upgrading the storage. The service lid holds the usual 2.5-inch HDD along with a 2280 M.2 SATA SSD with M-key connector.
|2280 M.2 slot||Free||Upgrade options|
|2.5-inch HDD/SSD||HGST 1TB 5400 rpm||Upgrade options|
The motherboard features two RAM slots and HP has listed this model to come with the next generation DDR4-2133 memory but our unit came with the standard for this class 8GB DDR3L-1600 chip. Keep an eye for this detail when ordering if it’s important for you.
|Slot 1||8GB DDR3L-1600 RAM||Upgrade options|
|Slot 2||Free||Upgrade options|
The rest of the hardware is also easily accessible. The battery can be removed by pulling the lever switch and no tools are needed. The unit is rated at 44Wh.
The Wi-Fi module is right next to the M.2 SSD slot – Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 (3165NGW).
If you need to access the rest of the components, the motherboard or the cooling fans, you will have to detach the whole bottom cover by removing the screws and the optical drive. Then you can proceed by prying it up.
The full disassembly article can be read here.
We got the variant with the HD+ TN panel (1600×900) manufactured by AU Optronics with model number 219E or at least that’s what the software detects. Usually, AUO displays have much different model numbers. Anyway, since the display has a 17.3-inch diagonal, the pixel density is 106 ppi and the pixel pitch is 0.24 x 0.24 mm. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 80 cm.
There’s noticeable color shift under 45-degree angle due to the use of TN matrix.
We’ve recorded a maximum brightness of just 220 cd/m2 in the middle of the screen and 201 cd/m2 as average across the surface with a maximum deviation of just 17%. The color temperature is 7500K in the center and 7460K average, which guarantees slightly blue-ish (colder) colors than usual. The contrast ratio is 470:1 – typical for budget TN panels.
The maximum recorded color deviation dE2000 is 4.3 in the lower right corner of the screen. This isn’t a good result as values above 4.0 are unwanted.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. Starting with the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy. Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that has been used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used by professional cameras, monitors and etc. for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook. Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios and the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s hard to be covered by today’s displays. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
The sRGB color gamut coverage is 65% making it a little bit better than most displays that are used on similarly priced machines.
Below you will see practically the same image but with color circles representing the reference colors and white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut before and after calibration.
The profile was created at 140 cd/m2, D65 white point and sRGB gamma mode.
Below you can see the results from the accuracy color checker with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. The results are before and after calibration.
We’ve also measured how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image. It’s essential when watching movies or playing games. The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings while the right one with our custom profile for gaming and multimedia. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis the luminance of the display. The display offers good visibility in dark areas of an image but it’s further improved by installing our profile.
We illustrate the first five levels of the gray (1%-5% white), right after black level, using the five boxes on the image below. Keep in mind that whether you can distinguish them or not strongly depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
Gaming capabilities (Response time)
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 13.5 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Our equipment didn’t detect any pulsations across all brightness levels meaning that the display will not bother even users with sensitive eyes.
Blue light emissions
With our Health-Guard profile installed, you can benefit from reduced blue light emissions. You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SDP).
To be honest, we weren’t expecting much from the budget TN panel considering the price point of the product but we were pleasantly surprised by some of the results we got from the lab. For instance, the sRGB coverage is slightly above average (65% as opposed to most TN panels having merely 50%) and we didn’t record any PWM across all brightness levels. But, on the other hand, properties such as color accuracy don’t make a strong case for the reviewed unit so we suggest using our custom profiles to bring the average dE2000 down from 9.8 to 2.1 and also limit the blue light emissions with the Health-Guard profile. The latter will come in handy as the display has colder than usual color temperature which automatically leads to higher blue light levels. At the end of the day, the display will be perfectly fine for everyday office work and general browsing.
Buy our profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for HP ProBook 470 G3 configurations with 17.3″ AU Optronics 219E (HD+, 1600 x 900) TN, which can be found on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eiwbsE
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office work / Web design
If your field is office work or web design, or you just want your monitor’s color set to be as accurate as possible for the Internet color space, this profile will prove to be useful.
Gaming or Movie nights
We developed this profile especially for occasions on which you spend a lot of time in front of your monitor with some games or watching movies – it will be easier for you to discern fine nuances in the dark.
This profile reduces the negative impact of pulsation and the blue spectrum, securing your eyes and body. You still get a pitch-perfect color image, albeit slightly warmer.
No noticeable distortions were recorded during our sound tests while the maximum volume is loud enough for multimedia purposes.
The specs provided below apply for the tested unit only and may differ depending on your region.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-6200U (2-core, 2.30 – 2.80 GHz, 3MB cache)|
|RAM||8GB (1x 8192MB) – DDR3L-1600|
|GPU||AMD Radeon R7 M340 (2GB DDR3)|
|HDD/SSD||1TB HDD (5400 rpm) + Free M.2 SATA SSD slot|
|Display||15.6-inch (39.62 cm) – 1600×900 (HD+) TN panel, matte|
|Optical Drive||DVD burner|
|Connectivity||LAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Battery||4-cell, 44Wh / 6-cell, 55Wh|
|Thickness||25.98 mm (1.02″)|
|Weight||2.6 kg (5.75 lbs)|
We used a freshly installed Windows 10 (64-bit) for the testing of this unit and if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading the latest drivers from HP’s official website.
Usually, higher resolution and bigger screen diagonal translate into reduced battery life due to the number of pixels that need to be lit up and the surface, which the backlighting has to cover. Nonetheless, we were quite surprised by the battery performance because the tests didn’t show any significant decrease in endurance compared to the smaller 15-inch model. We got more than decent results in the web browsing and video playback tests.
And as usual, the tests were run with Wi-Fi constantly on, Windows power saving feature turned on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
Good readings for a budget 17-incher – 344 minutes (5 hours and 44 minutes).
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
Interestingly, the video playback test returned a slightly higher result – 382 minutes (6 hours and 22 minutes).
We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.
The gaming test took a toll on the battery so the notebook scored just 117 minutes (1 hour and 57 minutes).
CPU – Intel Core i5-6200U
Intel Core i5-6200U is a 6th generation dual-core CPU. It is manufactured using 14 nm FinFET process, meaning it’s part of the Ultra-Low Voltage lineup.The CPU is clocked at 2.3GHz, but thanks to the Turbo Boost technology it could automatically increase its clock speeds up to 2.8GHz for a single core and 2.7GHz when two cores are functioning. It is designed using Intel’s Skylake architecture allowing it to have similar performance to Intel Core i7-5500U, which is part of the Broadwell lineup. The CPU boasts four logical cores and 3MB level 3 cache. It consumes 15W of energy and can operate at a maximum temperature of 100 degrees Celsius.
The SoC also integrates Intel HD Graphics 520. Its performance is similar to that of NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 820 GPU. The GPU can be clocked at up to 1000MHz. The SoC supports the Dual-Channel DDR3L-1600/DDR4-2133 Memory Controller, HyperThreading, AVX, AVX2, Quick Sync, Virtualization and AES-NI technologies.
|HP ProBook 470 G3||3,25|
|Dell Inspiron 5759||3,62|
|HP ProBook 450 G3||3,24|
|Dell Inspiron 5758 (17 5000)||3,1|
|HP ProBook 470 G3 Intel Core i5-6200U (2-cores, 2.3 – 2.8 GHz)||3.25|
|Dell Inspiron 5759 Intel Core i7-6500U (2-cores, 2.5 – 3.1 GHz)||3.62||+11.38%|
|HP ProBook 450 G3 Intel Core i5-6200U (2-cores, 2.3 – 2.8 GHz)||3.24||-0.31%|
|Dell Inspiron 5758 (17 5000) Intel Core i7-5500U (2-cores, 2.4 – 3.0 GHz)||3.10||-4.62%|
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i5-6200U scored 5.562 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – AMD Radeon R7 M340 (2GB DDR3)
The AMD Radeon R7 M340 is a low-end graphics card used for entry-level laptops and it’s based on the so-called Tonga chip so it supports the essential features like DirectX 12, Vulkan and FreeSync.
However, the chip is clocked at 1021 MHz with five compute cores so it should be a tad faster than the R5 M335. And just like its predecessors with the Tonga chip, this one offers 64-bit bus width on a DDR3 VRAM, 320 shading units and it’s produced using a 28nm process.
|HP ProBook 470 G3||6.340|
|Dell Inspiron 5759||4.696|
|HP ProBook 450 G3||6.322|
|Dell Inspiron 5758 (17 5000)||7.165|
|HP ProBook 470 G3 AMD Radeon R7 M340 (2GB DDR3)||6340|
|Dell Inspiron 5759 AMD Radeon R5 M335 (2GB DDR3)||4696||-25.93%|
|HP ProBook 450 G3 AMD Radeon R7 M340 (2GB DDR3)||6322||-0.28%|
|Dell Inspiron 5758 (17 5000) NVIDIA GeForce 920M (4GB DDR3)||7165||+13.01%|
The stress test that we perform isn’t exactly the best way to represent real-life usage but it’s a good way to assess the reliability and stability of the cooling system and how it will perform after months and years exploitation.
We start off with 100% CPU load for about an hour. The silicon was running at low temperatures (65-70 °C) and there were no signs of thermal throttling as the system was able to utilize the full performance of the chip (2.7 GHz) with two active cores.
After an hour had passed, we turned on the GPU stress test as well. The temperatures of the CPU rose to around 90 °C while still maintaining the maximum operating frequency with two active cores. The GPU, however, was running a bit too hot at 81 °C but was also able to keep within the base and turbo boost frequencies.
Our equipment recorded relatively high temperatures in the upper left and center part of the interior along with the left side where the main exhaust vent is positioned. Nonetheless, the general user won’t reach such high loads for longer periods of time and the wrist rest area remained cool throughout the test. There’s no room for worries.
Our verdict on the ProBook 470 G3 won’t be any different from the one we wrote on the 15-inch model. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, some of the drawbacks we’ve noted in the smaller versions haven’t been inherited in the 17-inch 470 G3. For example, the absence of PWM across all brightness levels makes a strong case for the 470 G3 and probably the smarter choice over the smaller ProBooks, unless portability is your top priority. Even battery life isn’t much different.
But as far as hardware is concerned, the 17-inch ProBook features the same hardware as its smaller sibling, which is more than enough for office work, multimedia and some graphically-intensive tasks can be handled easy thanks to the discrete GPU. What’s really cool about a notebook at this price is the support for M.2 SATA SSDs. We are extremely happy to see the standard making its way to a larger user base by being implemented in more and more budget-friendly notebooks.
Finally, we would like to address the good TN panel that has decent out-of-the-box properties making it a tad better than most affordable solutions on the market. Probably a higher resolution (1080p) would have done wonders on the 17-inch diagonal. Still, you can make a good use of our custom profiles as they will improve the overall image quality and limit the negative blue light emissions.