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Phones tend to take the brunt of most of the damage we inflict from drops, but a new machine on the way from HP could pose a threat to the MacBook Air, delivering a slim machine that won’t break when it falls.

The computer that could end up surviving a chance encounter with your kids and the floor or a spilled drink mid-flight is an Ultrabook from HP, with two variants heading to store shelves shortly designed to handle the work you throw their way, as well as the chance encounters with gravity you don’t necessarily want to happen.

They’re part of HP’s EliteBook 1020 series, and are made from a combination of aluminium and magnesium alloy, with an internal design that has been tested to military standards (MILSPEC), able to survive tests that mean it is highly drop-resistance, shock-resistant, vibration-resistant, and well built enough that you can even stand on it.

The keyboard has been designed to be spill-resistant with a drain gutter, while the touchpad — which HP calls a “ForcePad” — is glass and should take a bit of a beating from your fingers.

Inside the computer, you’ll find Intel’s Core M processors from the fifth-generation (Core M 5Y51) working alongside 8GB RAM and between 128 and 512GB solid-state storage depending on the configuration, with connectivity options including 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, and a microSD slot.

And then there’s the screen which will come in two options, with a 12.5 inch Full HD (1920×1080) touch-less display appearing in variant one, the Elitebook 1020, while the EliteBook 1020 Special Edition — we’re serious about that name will get a 12.5 inch QuadHD display (2560×1440) without touch, though we’re told a touch-based version is available.

The weight also makes up some of the difference between the models, with the regular 1020 managing a 1.18 kilogram weight, while the special edition sheds some grams and pulls it down to one kilogram even, thanks to a slight material change in its design that forgoes the aluminium and replaces it with the even lighter carbon fibre. Neat.

Light enough to hold in one hand comfortably.

“The HP EliteBook1020 represents game-changing innovation in both materials and mechanical engineering,” said Paul Gracey, Business Manager for HP’s Personal Systems Category in the South Pacific. “We have created the world’s thinnest and lightest business notebook in a form factor that enables our customers to be more productive in more places.”

“Customers demand a stylish, thin and light notebook, as well as a device that delivers advanced security and can withstand the rigorous demands that come with a highly mobile lifestyle,” he said, adding that “the HP EliteBook 1020 delivers this complete solution.”

Playing with the EliteBook 1020 today, we can see why this will attract attention, as it’s just so thin and light. The machine feels solid in the hands, and there’s clearly some attention to the design here, with a metal look and soft curved edges.

HP is also talking up its “Premium Keyboard” which it says features a “remarkable balance of comfort and feedback allowing users to concentrate on the task at hand.” Spending a few seconds with the keyboard obviously isn’t enough, but for that little amount of time, we were treated to a set of keys that felt like we could (and should) spend more time with them.