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14 Aug 2023
HP ProBook vs EliteBook: What are the Differences?
HP ProBook vs EliteBook: What are the Differences?

Buying a refurbished HP ProBook or EliteBook is a great way to get a high spec laptop at a pocket-friendly price. Find out which is best for you with our guide

Stone Refurb stocks a wide range of refurbished HP laptops. Most of these are ex-business ProBook or EliteBook models. 

With several generations of each, it can be difficult to know which is right for you. 

While there are a few key differences between the two ranges, there are also a lot of similarities. So we’d recommend buying the laptop with the spec you need, and not getting too hung up on whether it’s a ProBook or an EliteBook. 

With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the differences - and the similarities. 


Naming conventions

To better understand what you’re buying it’s helpful to know how HP names its business laptops. ProBooks and EliteBooks both follow the same naming convention and will have something that looks a little like this: 

HP ProBook 640 G1

The numbers at the end of the name give you some useful data about the laptop. 

  • The first digit is where the laptop sits in the HP range. ProBooks are 4 or 6, with 4 being entry-level and 6 being mid-range. 8 or 10 are reserved for EliteBooks and denote high-level or range-topping devices.
  • The second digit represents screen size. 3 is a 13.3” screen, 4 is 14” and 5 is 15.6”.
  • The final digit denotes the CPU manufacturer. Most Stone Refurb HP laptops finish with a 0 and have an Intel CPU. Any EliteBook or ProBook that finishes with a 5 will have an AMD CPU. 

The G number is also important. It lets you know what generation of laptop you’re looking at (and roughly how old it is). At the time of writing, the ProBook series is up to G9 while the EliteBook range is up to G10. 


Are there any similarities?

Actually, the ProBook and EliteBook ranges are very similar in a lot of ways. They’re both well-built, well-specced business-grade laptops that - if you choose sensibly - will serve you well for years to come. 

Both EliteBooks and PowerBooks are available with a choice of Intel CPUs and RAM and storage configurations. Making sure that you get enough processing power and storage space for your needs is for most people much more important than whether you’re getting an EliteBook or a Powerbook. 


So what are the differences?

While the ranges are pretty similar, there are a few key differences to consider. The main thing to remember is that the EliteBook range sits above the ProBook range in the HP hierarchy. But you also need to remember that with our refurbished HP laptops you could be looking at devices of different ages - a newer ProBook might be a better fit for you than a older EliteBook. 

Build quality

ProBooks and EliteBooks are all business-grade laptops, so they’re built to withstand hard use on a daily basis. They’re both tough, but the EliteBook is just a little bit tougher. It’s made to pass the US Army’s MIL-STD 810G tests, and it has a full metal construction as opposed to the metal and plastic of the ProBook. That’s not to say that the ProBook is fragile; it’s still a much sturdier device than most consumer-grade laptops. It’s just that the EliteBook is a little bit tougher. 


As with a lot of things this varies between generations of ProBook and EliteBook, but you’ll generally find more security features come as standard on the EliteBook. This includes obvious things like fingerprint readers (although some ProBooks have these) and under-the-hood changes that are aimed at enterprise-level users. For most home users either will probably be fine. 


ProBooks and EliteBooks of the same age and screen size will usually have similar resolutions - but the EliteBook will have a higher-quality display. You’ll find higher maximum brightness allowing you to use the laptop in sunlight, and the ability to display more colours more accurately. This might be important if you’re editing photos or videos to a very high standard, but most users will probably struggle to tell the difference. 


Most EliteBook laptops are fitted with a backlit keyboard; ProBooks are less likely to have this feature. If you use your laptop a lot in the dark this might be worth bearing in mind.  


If sound quality is important to you, the EliteBook might be a worthwhile upgrade over the ProBook. EliteBook models tend to feature higher-quality speaker arrays, with some being tuned by Bang and Olufsen for ultimate laptop audio. If audio is a major consideration it’s worth doing some research into the specific model you’re looking at, as it does vary. But if you’ll mostly be using headphones this might not be important.


Input and output ports vary more between generations than anything else, so if there’s a particular socket you really need it’s best to double-check before buying. On the whole, the EliteBook will give you more options - if you want Thunderbolt ports, for example, you’ll need an EliteBook. On newer models with USB-C ports, you’ll often find faster charging on the EliteBook than the ProBook too. Most generations of both models include an HDMI port too, which is not always the case with modern slimline laptops. 


If you do a lot of video calling then it might be worth upgrading to an EliteBook. As well as an improved screen they also tend to have better quality, higher resolution cameras. The ProBook’s camera is ok, but the EliteBook is better. 


Both ProBook and EliteBook ranges have better quality batteries than typical consumer laptops. But - for some generations at least - the EliteBook may go one better than the ProBook. If battery life is important to you we’d suggest doing some research into the specific model you’re considering. 


The age of the laptop and the level of the CPU will make much more difference to the speed than whether you go for a ProBook or an EliteBook. There are a few areas in which an EliteBook may edge ahead of a similarly specced ProBook. Some models include better quality GPUs or faster RAM or HDD components. But this is very model specific, so if it’s something that matters to you we’d recommend doing your own research into the models you’re looking at. 

So which is best for me?

Whether you choose a ProBook or EliteBook model, you’ll be getting a top-quality business-grade laptop that should comfortably give you years of good service. Unless you really need any of the EliteBook-specific features - like super-high build quality or a backlit keyboard - you’re probably better off working out the key performance features and components you need in your laptop, and making a decision based on these.