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GBM InkShow: Facial Recognition on the HP Elitebook 2760p



I’m no proponent of biometric security. I’ve long argued that it’s a convenience, not a true security measure. Of course, convenience is a nice feature to have, and the facial recognition login on the HP Elitebook 2760p Tablet PC is amazingly effective. Paired with Bluetooth authentication, it’s turning me into a biometric believer.

This post is one in a multi-post review of the HP Elitebook 2760p. Please click here for more.

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Easy to set up, easy to use

In this Shortcut video, I demonstrate how easy it is to setup facial recognition login on the 2760p. This was my first attempt caught on video. This was not practiced, and and I had read no instructions ahead of time. It’s not the smoothest demo, but it is completely authentic and unscripted. First half is setup. Using and testing kicks in around the 12 minute mark. Please feel free to skip ahead.

Face + Bluetooth

My biggest complaint about biometric security is that your password is out in the open for anyone to steal. They can’t be cracked like character passwords, but they can be captured. Fingerprints are left on everything you touch. Your face is in the open for anyone to photograph. Not easily captured but still in the open. Hence, I was intrigued by HP’s option to pair facial recognition with the extra wrinkle of Bluetooth authentication.

Basically, HP’s security software includes the option to require the presence of a recognized Bluetooth device, such as your smartphone, when using facial recognition. Without it, FR won’t work. This prevents the possibility of someone using your photo to log in when you and your smartphone aren’t around.

As impressive as it is, this still isn’t a bulletproof system. If someone were to steal all your stuff, then they’d have your smartphone and would just need an appropriate photo, possibly taken with your smartphone. However, using security on your smartphone and limiting your login face to a particular expression will help greatly.

As shown in the video, FR did not work with any of the existing photos on my iPhone, but immediately recognized a photo I took of my “login face”. Expression is important. Grumpy is good unless you’re normally a grump in photos.

I also ran into a problem with the Bluetooth pairing (clipped out of the video). I recommend pairing your device before setting up security. That way the setup wizard can authenticate the currently paired device without having to exit first to pair.

Fingerprint reader

Fingerprint recognition was just as quick and easy to register and use. The registration screen shows a layout of two hands. Just pick the finger you want to register and scan it three times. That’s it. You can register up to 10 fingers, though I’m not sure if that’s an absolute limit or simply a logical one. (Sorry, polydactylys.)

The sensor on the side of the display appears as a glossy black piece of plastic, not easily recognized as a fingerprint reader. Positioning makes it a lot easier to use with the right hand.

If all else fails, there’s SmartKey

Okay, so let’s say you got into an accident that messed up your face and fingers. Guess you might as well shelve that 2760p you secured with biometrics, right? Not quite.

Before you set up any other advanced security, HP ProtectTools requires that a three-stage password be set called SmartKey. This consists of answers to three different questions. These questions can be chosen from a list or custom made. The answers can be as challenging or as accurate as you want them to be. It won’t check to see if you mother’s maiden name is actually Wafflebottom.


The 2760p also has a SmartCard reader (which I can’t test) and the old option of a standard password (or no security at all).



  1. Giacomo Davide Fumagalli

    08/05/2011 at 12:32 pm

    I would like to hear your opinion about the 2760p HP-branded software, in particular compared with the the Lifebook T900 Fujtsu-branded software.
    Some months ago I tested the 2740p and I think that, thanks to HP software that was extremely easy to use and that perfectly fits on Windows 7, It gives me the best Tablet PC experience I ever had. Actually I’m testing a Lifebook T901 and the Fujitsu-branded security/sistem management software is very far from perfection, but also very far from the HP alternatives.
    As a Lifebook T900 user, what is your opionion?    

    • Sumocat

      08/05/2011 at 4:33 pm

      I still prefer the design of the T900 (and Fujitsu tablets in general), but HP’s software experience is definitely superior. We’ve had much the same experience there. I sum this up in my last word on the 2760p posting tomorrow. Includes a video of a surprise software feature.

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