Display and Speakers
The HP EliteBook 2760p has a 12.1-inch LED backlit WXGA ultra-wide viewing angle (1280 x 800) anti-glare display. It supports up to two touch inputs and the Wacom pen that ships with the device. The familiar screen haze found on convertibles is definitely present and the screen is not incredibly bright. Still, I found it useable outdoors at certain angles with the sun beating down thanks to the anti-glare. However, with the screen simply not being especially bright, prolonged use outside will probably cause eye strain. An optional outdoor view display is available, which I assume makes sunny day operation a bit more pleasant.
As for colors and contrast, the 2760p display has a very apparent red tone that’s especially evident when viewing white webpages and blank office docs. The contrast levels are superb however, complete with deep blacks. Viewing angles are also very good, topping off at approximately 80-degrees. There is a 15- to 20-degree sweet spot, and then a dip in brightness and contrast mostly caused by the screen’s reflections. Even at severe angles, the colors never invert.
I found the Wacom pen to be extremely accurate without calibration, and even more so afterwards. It will register with the EliteBook when hovering a few centimeters above the display and has a slight pressure sensitivity. In addition, it flows very nicely when inking, with the screen offering just the right amount of friction. The pen top can function as an eraser where supported and the pen has one long button that can function in various capacities. The HP EliteBook also supports flicks for navigation and editing.
Touch input was also sensitive, but difficult due to the level of precision required navigating Windows 7. Unlike other Windows 7 tablet PC makers, HP did not include any touch-friendly utilities to make the icons larger, and that’s no big loss. Those skins typically feel tacked on and are mostly ineffective. Besides, it’s still possible to get around with just a fingertip, and the EliteBook 2760p supports common two-finger gestures.
It seems like HP paid special attention to boosting the speaker performance for this EliteBook refresh. The 2760p still has the front-mounted speakers like its predecessor, but HP added some additional sound controls, including an equalizer and presets. As a result, the sound output is some of the best we’ve heard on this class of device, and the speakers output enough decibels to fill a large conference room with clear audio. The fidelity is still not up to multi-media notebook standards, and can get a bit garbled at high volumes, but the overall speaker performance is perfect for all forms of video chat.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The EliteBook 2760p has an 84-key keyboard with the same black on grey color scheme. The keys are large, flat and square with a thin and recessed border, and they closely resemble the Chiclet style with only a little space in between. Ultimately, keyboards are a matter of preference, and I happen to prefer Chiclet keys to the curved alternative, so typing felt natural and comfortable.
The keys on the top row are only about 40% the size of the letter keys, and that’s fine for the often-unused function keys, but I find myself often relying on the page up, page down, and delete keys, which are also found in that row, and I wish they were a bit larger.
I have no complaints about the keyboard’s performance, as the keys offer a short stroke and slightly audible click when pressed. If the EliteBook 2760p failed to register a press in the three weeks I’ve been using it, I didn’t notice. The keyboard is also very solid, with minimal bounce present only on the left side, which is only apparent if you are looking for it. Most users won’t notice it in day-to-day use. Unfortunately, some of the keys are a bit too loose for my liking and I fear they may pop off after a short while. Also, though HP describes the keyboard as spill resistant, the space between them is just large enough for crumbs and dust to infiltrate the keyboard underbelly.
The small and very rectangular touchpad underneath the keyboard supports standard two-finger gestures like pinch-to-zoom and the double-finger swipe, and has a comfortable sensitivity level out of the box. However, it’s a little small. There is also an accurate and responsive pointing stick in the middle of the keyboard, and both have rubberized right and left buttons. Both sets of buttons feel great and are a pleasure to press.