An affordable alternative: the ProBook 445 G7

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  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 4500U 6-core
  • Graphics card: Integrated AMD Radeon
  • Memory: 8 GB
  • Battery life according to tests: 7.1 h
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Screen: IPS 1080p
  • Weight: 1.6 kg

If you don’t mind a heavier device with more ordinary battery life, the HP ProBook 445 G7performs as well (if not better) than our favorite, while being about 30% cheaper. It uses AMD Ryzen 4000 series processors, which offer excellent performance and even allow you to enjoy some games. The ProBook 445 G7 also has a comfortable keyboard and precise touchpad, a good 1080p display, and a versatile port selection. It mainly integrates two RAM memory slots and slots for an SSD and a second storage volume (hard drive or SSD) in 2.5-inch format. In terms of compromises, the Facial recognition infrared camera and fingerprint reader are missing, and while it’s bigger and heavier than the X1 Carbon, its battery life is only good (not great). But it shares those limitations with the most affordable best business laptops.

Notebook, Typing, Coffee, Computer

When it comes to everyday activities, such as browsing the web and managing emails, editing documents, playing videos, or videoconferencing, few people would notice the slightest difference between the AMD Ryzen processor of the 445 G7 and the Intel Core of the X1 Carbon. However, AMD processors have more cores than their Intel ² counterparts, which may make them more powerful for video editing and encoding. And their integrated graphics chips are much more powerful than those of Intel: they are therefore better for using 3D modeling software… or for playing after work! The 445 G7 is obviously not a replacement for a gaming computer, but it can run most recent games at medium or low graphics settings.

 

The ProBook keyboard is not on the level of the ThinkPad keyboard and the directional keys are oddly arranged: “up” and “down” are wide and thin, and “left” and “right” are widely spaced. However, the keyboard offers firmness and a satisfactory click, perfect for anonymous writing. The large touchpad is precise, able to perfectly handle the multi-finger gestures of Windows 10. The 1080p screen is not extraordinarily bright: it looks a bit dark outdoors, but the same goes for similarly priced competitors and it remains very comfortable indoors. Be careful, it only covers 45% of the NTSC color space: this is insufficient to edit photos or calibrate videos with precision. 

 

To open the 445 G7 for repair or upgrading, you will need a small Phillips screwdriver and a plastic tool. After removing the screws, you must unclip the cover ³. Once inside, you have easy access to the two RAM slots, the M.2 SSD slot, the one for a 2.5 inch SATA volume, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth card, and the battery. As with most business laptops, HP offers a comprehensive service manual (PDF) that will walk you through most repairs step by step.

 

In total, the 445 G7 has three USB-A ports, a USB-C capable of powering the computer and connecting a screen, an SD card reader, an HDMI output, and an Ethernet port. This covers the needs of most users, so you don’t have to buy an external adapter.

 

In the battery test, the 445 G7 lasted just over seven hours, which is okay for a model at this price point (but a far cry from the endurance of the X1 Carbon). You can do a day’s work, but not much more. Its weight of 1.6 kg is the norm for this type of product, but you will undoubtedly feel 500 grams more than the X1 Carbon when carrying it in a bag.

 

Note that if you’re comfortable with the idea of ​​opening up your laptop, you can save money by purchasing the memory and an SSD separately, instead of paying for expensive HP options.

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