HP Elitebook 840 G5

A GREAT CHOICE FOR SE­CU­RITY-CON­SCIOUS COM­PA­NIES, WITH THE BEST FEA­TURE BE­ING A SCREEN PRI­VACY MODE

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - TIM DANTON

If your busi­ness puts se­cu­rity at the top of your wish­list when it comes to lap­tops, the HP EliteBook 840 G5 should be on your radar. Al­though, judg­ing by all the se­cu­rity fea­tures this ma­chine boasts, it’s prob­a­bly got a se­cret anti-radar pro­tec­tive coat­ing. Not con­tent with the usual de­fen­sive lay­ers of smart card reader, in­frared we­b­cam and

nger­print reader, HP goes one step be­yond: press F2 on this ma­chine and the screen switches to pri­vacy mode. You can still view the dis­play face-on, al­beit dimmed, but those to your left and right see a grey blur.

Then there’s HP’s com­bi­na­tion Sure Start Gen4 fea­ture. While it may sound like a gov­ern­ment-spon­sored house-buy­ing scheme, it’s ac­tu­ally an added layer of pro­tec­tion for your BIOS. If mal­ware tar­gets this and makes a change, Sure Start will re­vert to the lat­est “good” ver­sion and no­tify both the user and the IT team. Clever.

All this would be for nought if the lap­top was a lemon, but it’s a solid busi­ness lap­top. I stop short of call­ing it stylish, with a busi­nesslike sil­ver nish and – com­pared to the Dell XPS 13 – a porky base. I mea­sured it at 13.1mm thick and, even though the lid is slim, this lap­top’s to­tal thick­ness of 19.1mm is noth­ing to boast about any­more. If 1.59kg sounds heavy, note that our re­view sam­ple had a touch­screen, which adds around 100g.

In HP’s defence, that weight is partly due to the 14in panel on show here, com­pared to the 13.3in XPS 13, and the alu­minium chas­sis feels suit­ably sturdy and rugged. HP weak­ens such ar­gu­ments by in­clud­ing big bezels, though. The 8mm-wide side bezels look okay, but the one at the bot­tom is al­most a full inch and the top bezel not much bet­ter at 20mm.

The screen it­self is great. Its star fea­ture is the abil­ity to hit a blaz­ing 625cd/m2 for use out­doors, while a Delta E of 2.15, con­trast ra­tio of 1,071:1 and sRGB gamut cov­er­age of 91.7% are all ne scores for a lap­top. I have few com­plaints about the key­board either. It would have been nice to have a lit­tle more travel in the keys, but that’s just me be­ing fussy. The only thing that stops me be­ing more ful­some in my praise is that the touch­pad is too far to the left, so I had to ad­just the po­si­tion of my palm when typ­ing or it would nudge the po­si­tion of the cur­sor.

HP in­cludes a few nice fea­tures to make up for this mi­nor an­noy­ance. One is the track­point in the mid­dle of the key­board, with ac­com­pa­ny­ing mouse but­tons be­low the space­bar, which come in handy in cramped con­di­tions. It’s also cu­ri­ous to see dial and hang-up but­tons at the top-right of the key­board. This high­lights HP’s aim to make this a con­fer­enc­ing-friendly lap­top, with the prom­ise of “crys­tal clear col­lab­o­ra­tion”, thanks to a third mi­cro­phone on the out­side of the lid. The idea is that, if other peo­ple are tak­ing part in your call, this third mic will help pick up their voices; if it’s just back­ground noise, the lap­top will block the sound.

HP prom­ises up to 14 hours of bat­tery life from the EliteBook 840, but our video-run­down tests sug­gest you’ll be lucky to reach this. With the screen bright­ness set to 170cd/m2 and Flight mode on, it lasted for 6hrs 30mins. You’ll want to carry the 355g power sup­ply when trav­el­ling, but at least you won’t need any adapters. Along with two USB 3.1 ports, there is a Thun­der­bolt 3 port, full-size HDMI out­put and an Eth­er­net slot.

Yet more op­tions come via HP’s ex­ist­ing side-mounted dock­ing sta­tions – which are still com­pat­i­ble – and the up­com­ing Thun­der­bolt Dock G2, which can power a pair of 4K dis­plays. This lap­top has the po­ten­tial to be a work­horse, too, thanks to In­tel’s eighth-gen­er­a­tion Core pro­ces­sors and, in fu­ture mod­els, op­tional Radeon GPUs.

We tested a mid-range model that in­cluded the pop­u­lar quad­core Core i7-8550U pro­ces­sor with 8GB of RAM and a fast 256GB PCIe SSD. This com­bi­na­tion was po­tent enough to push the Dell XPS 13 over 100 in our bench­marks.

While I wouldn’t rush out to buy the EliteBook 840 G5, there’s much to like here: the con­fer­enc­ing fea­tures; the ex­tra lev­els of pri­vacy; the con­ve­nience of built-in Eth­er­net and HDMI ports to ac­com­pany Thun­der­bolt 3. This ver­sa­til­ity makes the EliteBook an at­trac­tive op­tion for se­cu­rity-sen­si­tive busi­nesses.

KEY SPECS

Quad-core 1.8GHz In­tel Core i7-8550U pro­ces­sor • In­tel UHD Graph­ics 620 • 1,920 x 1,080 dis­play • 256GB PCIe SSD • 8GB 2,400MHz DDR4 RAM • 2x2 MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 4.2 • Thun­der­bolt 3 • 2 x USB 3.1 • HDMI 1.4b • RJ-45 Eth­er­net port • mi­croSDXC slot • Win­dows 10 Home • 302 x 199 x 15mm (WDH) • 1.59kg • 3yr lim­ited war­ranty• $2,200 • www.hp.com/au

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