Yesterday, my laptop finally got upgraded at work. My trusty, much traveled and much abused HP 6130 finally got replaced by a newer model  – the HP Elitebook 9630 – my new shiny companion in my travels and travails.

Thought I’d post my initial thoughts – for all that its worth, for any potential business person (or management consultants like yours truly) who is either getting issued one of these babies or potentially thinking of getting one.

First impressions – its very solidly built. Gone are the creaks and a general feeling of looseness of my old 6130; quite the contrary actually – this thing actually feels much more solid than my personal Macbook. Which is saying quite a lot – since the Macbook is one of the best built laptops I have used – and I have used a lot. Secondly, this thing now has a magnesium case – well at least the lid and the palm rest. I especially like the metal palm rest – much better compared to the plasticky feel of the palm rest of my 6130.

The keyboard is familiar and nice, but I might be biased. I have used HP business laptops for a while and i am just used to it. However, the keyboard does seem quieter – very nice for those unfortunate souls like us who are sometimes forced to work on the weekly plane rides. A couple of other things that I love about this – finally, a keyboard light, again for those airplane rides. Its certainly not half as nice as the backlit key boards the Macs have, but hey, this is a professional business laptop; not some awesomely designed Mac toted around by hipsters in Brooklyn. Kidding! Facetiousness aside, the light works fairly well though.

The screen – well, I don’t do any graphics work – but I work a lot, a whole lot on presentations, Excel and Word. So while, I don’t need a top of the line display, I would certainly appreciate one. And this certainly isn’t it. Don’t get me wrong, its very nice – but to draw the same Apple analogy –its certainly not a Mac screen; or even a Vaio screen.

I am still getting a lowdown on the battery life – but seems to be a lot better than my previous HP – which isnt saying much. I have had it on for about 1 hour now with remote file backup running in the background just browsing the internet and the battery indicator says it has 1 hour’s worth of juice remaining. So we shall see.

It does get a little warm – I’ve had it on my lap for a while –and i can feel the heat now.

In conclusion, the best thing about this laptop is the build quality. It just feels extremely solid. I have owned a lot of laptops in my years in management consulting and this is the first laptop that feels as solid as a Thinkpad.

Welcome to my life my friend. We shall certainly spend many hours together.