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article imageHP's newest laptop is a rugged convertible for schools

By James Walker     Dec 1, 2016 in Technology
HP has launched a new laptop unlike anything it's built before. The company's ProBook x360 11 Education Edition is aimed at classroom environments, featuring a toughened design, range of operation modes and built-in software to aid teaching.
The ProBook blends the latest Windows 10 software with a chassis that's built to withstand the drops, scrapes and knocks of the classroom. The laptop is coated in a strong industrial rubber casing, minimising damage after a fall and reducing the risk of the screen shattering. The 11-inch display is covered with Corning's Gorilla Glass 4, unusual for a laptop.
HP has put the machine through an intensive "Total Test Process" to verify how tough it is. The company dropped hundreds of computers from an elevation of 29.5 inches, around the same height as a typical school desk, to see how they would fare. The laptops were pushed onto a variety of floor types, including steel and concrete, to demonstrate their endurance.
HP ProBook x360 11 Education Edition
HP ProBook x360 11 Education Edition
HP / Microsoft
Although the exterior is strong, the internal hardware specs immediately reveal the ProBook's emphasis on education. Neither of the two processors on offer, Intel's Celeron N3350 and Pentium N4200, are suitable for anything beyond the lightest use. The laptop will suffice for basic note-taking, web browsing and content authoring but little more. The 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is more impressive though, keeping multi-tasking smooth and ensuring students don't run out of space for their programs and work.
The ProBook can convert between four different operation modes, allowing it to be used as a tablet, laptop or somewhere in between. It's also available with an optional active pen that allows you to write on the screen with Windows Ink. Students will be able to take handwritten notes but have them digitally saved in apps like Microsoft OneNote.
HP ProBook x360 11 Education Edition
HP ProBook x360 11 Education Edition
HP / Microsoft
HP has also integrated other Windows 10 features into the ProBook to create a software experience optimised for schools. The "Take a Test" app comes preinstalled, letting teachers create a secure, locked-down online environment for students to sit tests in. There's also the "Set up School PCs app" that lets a teacher configure multiple devices in simple steps, doing it themselves instead of falling back to IT support.
HP has worked with teachers while building the device to ensure it suits the needs of the classroom. It has implemented features to prevent children playing games or surfing the internet when they should be working. An LED on the back of the laptop will light up when Wi-Fi is turned on, letting teachers see who’s online when they shouldn't be.
HP ProBook x360 11 Education Edition
HP ProBook x360 11 Education Edition
HP / Microsoft
"As technology usage in the classroom increases, HP has approached the design and creation of this device with students and teachers in mind," Microsoft said on the Windows Experience Blog. "In addition to great features like a touchscreen that enables Windows Ink, this PC also comes with student-friendly features, including an optional active pen to make math, art, note-taking in OneNote or highlighting in Microsoft Edge easier than ever."
The ProBook x360 11 Education Edition isn't meant to be sold to consumers and HP hasn’t publicly announced pricing. It's designed to be sold directly to schools, the setting where it will be most useful. The company claims it's the "thinnest rugged convertible" available though, potentially making it attractive to some mainstream users. Combined with the option of an active pen, it could see success outside of education if HP chooses to expand its availability.
More about Hp, Devices, windows 10, Laptops
 
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