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HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: An elite experience

A fantastic business laptop with universally-acclaimed characteristics

Price
£1,061 exc VAT
  • Sleek design
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Good combination of ports
  • Expensive

Very few laptops make you ponder your previous purchases, or even your loyalty to a specific brand, but HP's EliteBook 840 G7 might just do that to you.

It's a notebook that makes a very strong case for jumping into the HP camp, no matter how strong your allegiance to another manufacturer. This is thanks to an enticing array of specs, such as its fantastic display, high-powered internals and handy port selections.

What's more, it offers some unique visual flourishes that give the EliteBook that little bit extra sparkle compared to other competitors within this price range.

HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: Design

The EliteBook 840 G7 might seem like a MacBook imitation from afar. But it's a charming business laptop in its own right, with a high-quality, durable build and pleasant matte finish.

Admittedly, it does share some design elements with the MacBook Air, but it is thicker and heavier at 18mm and 1.34kg, respectively. Despite that bulk, it is still easy enough to carry around and, as we discovered, that chunky size does give it some advantages.

HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: Keyboard and trackpad

One of the EliteBook's best features is its keyboard, with short travel distance keys that are both efficient and satisfyingly quiet. What's more, it has beautiful backlighting that can be set between three different levels of brightness.

There's also a rather subtle dark grey dot in the middle of the keyboard that can be used as an alternative to the trackpad. It isn't as sensitive as ones found on Lenovo machines, but it does make it easier to operate - the cursor doesn't randomly fly across the screen either.

Overall, we didn’t have any complaints about the pointing stick: we didn’t use it very often but when we did, it always stood up to the challenge and almost convinced us of its superiority over the trackpad.

Speaking of the EliteBook’s trackpad, this was smooth to operate and largely faultless, featuring left- and right-click buttons at the top, while also accepting clicking on the surface of the trackpad most of the time - although not always. Sometimes, the ClickPad chose to ignore our clicks if they were at one of the pad’s furthest edges. However, this small quirk is easy enough to adjust to, and we found the keyboard and trackpad combination perfectly acceptable and pleasant to use.

HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: Display

HP’s displays are sometimes a bit hit-and-and-miss, but the EliteBook’s 14in 1080p screen was a pleasure to work with regardless of the time of the day.

The screen was positively blinding, with our tests recording an astonishing maximum brightness of 820cd/m2. Although the EliteBook was tested in late English autumn with rather scarce daylight, we’re positive that its screen luminance can withstand not only bright sunshine but probably also being used from the surface of the sun.

With an sRGB gamut coverage of 96.5% and gamut volume of 112.2%, the IPS panel offers higher-than-average colour accuracy, too. According to our tests, the colour fidelity is a little off when displaying shades of blue, but it’s not aimed at graphic designers, and overall we found the 840 G7 more than suitable for some minor Photoshop work.

HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: Performance

The EliteBook 840 G7 uses an Intel Core i7-10810U CPU processor with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage. Our benchmarks tests indicated a score of 150, which is less than the 249 offered by last year’s 16in MacBook Pro, but it’s still considerably better than expected and stacks up well against the overall score of 120 racked up by Dell’s most recent XPS 13.

The EliteBook’s speedy performance might be related to its comparatively bulky 1.34kg weight. The device’s heft is likely due to HP having equipped it with additional thermal management features, making it possible for its CPU to run for longer before it begins to overheat.

When it comes to its longevity, the EliteBook’s 53Wh battery scored 8hrs 38mins in our tests - making it less powerful than the 10-hour battery life of HP’s Elite Dragonfly G1 and only a small fraction of the 22 hours offered by competitor Asus’ ExpertBook B9450F. In spite of this though, the 840 G7 managed quite well under everyday use conditions, lasting most of the day even with battery saving options turned off.

HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: Port and features

One thing we found extremely useful about the EliteBook 840 G7 was its pair of Type-C USB 3.1 ports. Many laptops only come equipped with one USB-C port, so it’s refreshing to see two of them, in addition to all the other connection options. Before you get too excited, however, in the case of the EliteBook 840 G7, the first port is used for connecting the included charger, leaving only the second one to link it to an additional monitor or docking station.

Confusingly, the EliteBook also has a port for a different AC adaptor which is sold separately and, although not including it as standard is an unusual decision on HP’s behalf, it may be worth investing in for those that want full use of both USB-C ports.

Apart from that, the EliteBook 840 G7 also comes equipped with two full-size Type-A USB 3.1 ports, an HDMI port, a Smartcard reader, as well as a 3.5mm audio jack - a perfectly reasonable combination of ports.

As for security features, the EliteBook supports facial recognition and a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device, both of which worked just fine in our tests. Other security features include HP Sure View, a feature which can be activated to help users maintain their privacy while working in public by drastically reducing viewing angles in order to prevent shoulder surfing.

The 720p built-in webcam seems to use a wider angle than most other webcams, and is a nice touch to the device. This is especially helpful for those who like to sit close to the screen while in a virtual meeting without having to see their own face in overwhelmingly zoomed-in detail. Although it doesn’t come with a privacy slide cover, the webcam merges perfectly with the sleek design of the EliteBook and is one of our favourite features.

The zigzag-patterned speakers on either side of the keyboard provide the EliteBook with a touch of uniqueness and enhance its rather minimalistic design. Given that they bear Bang & Olufsen’s stamp of approval, we expected much more from them: the quality of sound isn’t bad, but it isn’t very powerful either. It might not be enough to fill a large room with music, but on the other hand, it is perfectly fine for video-conferencing calls and late-night Netflix binges.

Last but not least, the Elitebook 840 G7 also supports NFC connectivity and is 4G-ready.

HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: Verdict

Overall, there’s little to dislike about the EliteBook 840 G7. It’s not as feather-light as some rivals, and its battery could last a little longer, but apart from these quibbles, the device makes for a fantastic business companion. In fact, we would consider buying it ourselves, if it wasn’t for the hefty price tag. Nevertheless, you get what you pay for, and what you get here is a truly Elite experience.

HP EliteBook 840 G7 specifications

ProcessorIntel Core i7-10810U CPU
RAM16GB
Graphics adapterIntel UHD graphics
Warranty3 years
Storage512GB SSD
Screen size (in)14-inch
Screen resolution1920×1080
Screen typeFHD IPS, anti-glare, 250 nits, 45% NTSC
TouchscreenOptional
Pointing devicesGlass clickpad, Microsoft Precision Touchpad
Memory card slotNano SIM card slot
3.5mm audio jackYes
Graphics outputsHDMI 1.4
Other ports2x USB 3.1 Type-C port with Thunderbolt support, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, 1x AC power input port, SmartCard reader
Web Cam720p HD camera
SpeakersBang & Olufsen Integrated stereo speakers
Wi-FiIntel Wi-Fi 6 AX200
BluetoothBluetooth 5
NFCYes
Dimensions, mm (WDH)32.36 x 21.46 x 1.78 cm
Weight (kg) - with keyboard where applicable1.34 kg
Battery size (Wh)53 Wh
Operating systemWindows 10
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