The HP ProBook 635 Aero G7 is an ultraportable business machine with a decent feature set and performance.
Despite its lightweight nature (1.1kg), the Aero won’t win prizes for slimness (17.9mm), but it is easier to service because of the removable bottom – not that they’re suggesting that you do it on your own, of course. The shape of the all-metal frame made with aluminium and magnesium also adds rigidity to the structure. As a result, there’s hardly any flex throughout the laptop, and it seems like the Aero can take some rough handling. It’s very different from the approach taken by Lenovo, who give up a little rigidity to make their laptops slimmer. You pays your money and you takes your choice, I s’pose.
You could say the same thing for the keyboard and trackpad, as they both reciprocate with assuring feedback whenever you type or click. I can imagine that some people might find the action borderline stiff, but I think it’s not something you can’t get used to. The lighting on the keyboard is adequately bright and evenly lit. It’s spill-resistant as well, which helps a little for those oops moments that will eventually come. I’m surprised that this wasn’t built to MIL-SPEC requirements; it seemed to look the part.
The 13.3″ display on the Aero G7 is only Full-HD, which means that you might find this a little small in terms of screen estate, but perfectly serviceable for a portable device nonetheless. The colours tend to be a little reddish out of the box, but helps gives that impression of richness given that the display has an anti-glare surface and a Sure View integrated privacy screen.
The display can be hard to read at an angle as it is, but turning on the privacy filter makes it almost impossible for people to look over your shoulder and see what you’re doing. Of course, this also means that you have a very narrow field of view when you’re working, but it’s a fair trade-off if you value privacy above all. It’s a far more elegant solution than having a physical filter that isn’t removable.
HP also specced the display with 1,000 nits brightness maximum. It performs quite decently outdoors except for our most intense sunny days – not that I know of anyone brave enough to work outdoors for long in our weather.
The speakers fire upward and are adequately loud. It’s able to keep things crisp and clear but the downside is that the speakers do sound a little thin. It’s a stark reminder that they are laptop speakers after all, though it has to be said that voices tend to stand out a little more, which is helpful during calls.
The Aero features a Ryzen 7 4700U processor and onboard Radeon graphics, which is pretty much an i7-class processor in Intel terms, and the general performance is as such – everything is quick and responsive, and the laptop never gets uncomfortably warm. If numbers are what you need, it managed a score of 4413 on PCMark 10, 879 on 3DMark (Time Spy) and 2633 on Cinebench R20, which is par for the course in the category of top-tier ultraportables.
Charging the Aero is also a breeze, and a thirty-minute charge does get you around half the battery power; very nifty while on the move. The battery is good for a day’s work and getting through eight hours is not a problem.
In terms of ports, The Aero is not too different from other laptops of a similar build: It has two 5Gbps USB-A ports (Super Speed variety, which is good news), one 10Gbps USB-C that supports power delivery and Displayport, HDMI 2.0, and a secondary power adapter that can free up your USB-C especially when you are in the office or ‘office’.
The 720p camera (the camera array enables facial recognition) is decent though videos look better than the photos. Chroma noise is quite visible in poorly lit settings, but it’s nothing deal-breaking. Likewise, the microphone seems adequate for the job and together they create quite a pleasant experience for Zoom calls. The Aero G7 is also equipped with cellular capabilities (HP XMM 7360 LTE-Advance) that can support up to 150 Mbps downloads and 50 Mbps uploads. Overall, the Aero G7 is pretty handy if you are constantly on the move and I think the only question is whether you mind a slightly beefier laptop and its aggressively shielded display as part of its quality of life perks.
Speaking of quality of life, HP also comes with a Quickdrop drop feature, which lets you easily transfer files from your mobile device to the Aero G7. The setup is fairly simple and works pretty well for sending photos and small documents across your phone and your laptop. The downside is that you have to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network for this to work. Not ideal, but there’s always email or cloud if you really must transfer a file when on the road.
The Aero G7 also comes with a full suite of enterprise features, including TPM 2.0, Power-on authentication, Secure Erase and Secure Sense, just to name a few. Secure Sense is their AI-driven malware blocker that uses deep learning to spot suspicious behaviour and shut down the threat, even if it previously did not exist.
At $2,409 it is somewhat pricey, given that you can more or less get the same basic specs for less; much of the extra comes from the additional enterprise and privacy features, LTE capabilities, and overall build quality. But the Aero G7 is built for the trenches and there’s a very assuring quality about it.
HP Probook 635 Aero G7
Features – 8/10
Value Proposition – 7/10
Performance – 7/10
Design & Build Quality – 8/10
Most people will make do with less. But if you need the enterprise features, the Aero G7 offers that in a rather spiffy package.