Difference Between the HP Home Office Laptops and the Business Class Laptops

By Jesse Sears

HP business class laptops offer added toughness and security features.
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Hewlett Packard manufactures several different lines of laptop computers targeted at different user groups and price points. When ordering directly through HP, the company segments their offerings between "Home & Home Office" and "Business Class." The main differences lie in the pre-installed operating system, security features, chassis design and cost. Home and home office laptops offer higher performance for the dollar while business class laptops have a host of features designed for the mobile professional.

Home and Home Office

HP's mass-market production lines of laptop computers fall under the home and home business category. These include the Compaq Presario, HP Pavilion, HP ENVY and HP Mini product families. Compaq Presario is the value line whereas the HP Pavilion is a step up in price and power. The HP ENVY is a thin and light notebook that's high on style. The HP Mini line of netbooks offer a small form factor, low cost, the availability of mobile broadband but less computing power. Most of the home and home office laptops use Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium as of January 2011.

Small and Medium Business

Under the small and medium business categories, HP's primary offerings are the company's Essential, ProBook and EliteBook series. The Essential line is targeted toward businesses who need every-day computing without bells and whistles like high-end graphics cards. Their price rivals the company's cheapest home and home office offerings. Moving on to the ProBook, business users see both power and security increases. Security is key to HP's business notebook line. Drive and file shredding technologies use the U.S. Department of Defense 5220.22-M Supplement algorithms to permanently destroy sensitive files and hard drives. Further security features include the ability to lock the computer before it boots up using the system BIOS, laptop tracing and remote file deletion services in the event a laptop becomes stolen. Some models within the top-of-the-line EliteBook business laptop family are also marketed to small and medium businesses.

Large Business and Enterprise

Marketed to large business and enterprise customers are the best of the EliteBook line as well as the HP Mobile Thin Client. The EliteBook takes the security features from the ProBook design and pairs them with more-powerful and more ruggedly durable notebooks that include a magnesium alloy chassis that is more durable than plastic or aluminum computers. Like the ProBook, EliteBook models come with Windows 7 Professional pre-installed as of January 2011. The Mobile Thin Client is a security-feature-rich laptop designed to be constantly connected to a centralized server. Running on the Windows Embedded Standard operating system as of this writing (which is, again, January 2011), the Thin Client targets large businesses seeking to centralize mobile operations.

Choosing an HP Laptop

Casual users, gamers, designers and students would be better off choosing one of HP's standard home and home office laptops as the cost-versus-performance ratio is more enticing than with the business-class units. For power users, HP's Pavilion dv-series notebooks should provide the desired hardware and feature set. Choosing a ProBook or EliteBook as a personal computer involves added cost for features the home user will probably not need. For businesses, for which security is of the utmost importance, the small business, medium business and enterprise ProBook, EliteBook and Mobile Thin Client computers are likely the better choice.