HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: An elite experience
A fantastic business laptop with universally-acclaimed characteristics
There aren’t many laptops which make you question your previous consumer behaviour and so-called brand loyalty. However, the EliteBook 840 G7 might just be one of them.
This notebook makes a strong case for joining the HP camp, even for devout fans of other manufacturers. After all, it boasts a huge range of crowd-pleasing features: it’s got a fantastic display, with high-powered internals and useful ports. It’s not bland either, offering some unique visual flourishes which definitely set it apart from other competitors in the design department.
HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: Design
Overall, the EliteBook 840 G7 is a sleek, silver-grey affair which, at first sight, may seem quite MacBook-esque. However, the EliteBook’s charm does not lie only in its initial resemblance to Apple’s signature laptop. The 840 G7 is a great business laptop in its own right, with a durable, high-quality build and a pleasant matte finish.
However, while some elements of the EliteBook’s design, such as its tapered chassis, will be familiar to MacBook Air fans, others aren’t so reminiscent - its weight, for example. At 1.34kg and 18mm thick, it’s a touch bulkier than the MacBook Air (which wasn’t the lightest device to begin with), but although it might not be the lightest in the game, it’s still pleasant enough to carry around - and as we discovered, its size does give it certain advantages.
HP EliteBook 840 G7 review: Keyboard and trackpad
We found the EliteBook’s keyboard very comfortable to type on: the keys have a short travel distance, which made working very efficient and satisfyingly quiet. It’s also equipped with a fuss-free backlight that can be toggled between three levels of brightness.
The EliteBook 840 G7 also comes with a pointing stick - a subtle dark-grey dot in the middle of the keyboard that can be used instead of the trackpad. However, in comparison to other pointing sticks we’ve tested in the past (such as the infamous Lenovo Trackpoint), this one was less sensitive. Although this doesn’t sound like a feature which would work to anyone’s advantage, it actually made the EliteBook’s pointing stick much easier to operate and helped avoid situations such as the cursor randomly flying across the screen.
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
|Processor||Intel Core i7-10810U CPU|
|Graphics adapter||Intel UHD graphics|
|Screen size (in)||14-inch|
|Screen type||FHD IPS, anti-glare, 250 nits, 45% NTSC|
|Pointing devices||Glass clickpad, Microsoft Precision Touchpad|
|Memory card slot||Nano SIM card slot|
|3.5mm audio jack||Yes|
|Graphics outputs||HDMI 1.4|
|Other ports||2x USB 3.1 Type-C port with Thunderbolt support, 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port, 1x AC power input port, SmartCard reader|
|Web Cam||720p HD camera|
|Speakers||Bang & Olufsen Integrated stereo speakers|
|Wi-Fi||Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200|
|Dimensions, mm (WDH)||32.36 x 21.46 x 1.78 cm|
|Weight (kg) - with keyboard where applicable||1.34 kg|
|Battery size (Wh)||53 Wh|
|Operating system||Windows 10|
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