Thu. May 19th, 2022

Pop Quiz, Laptop Shoppers: What’s the Difference Between the HP EliteBook 840 G8 and the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8? The Aero is a bit more expensive (starting at $ 1,639; $ 2,679 as tested), but a little lighter: 2.5 pounds versus 2.92 thanks to magnesium rather than aluminum construction. It may tempt executives who hate a heavy folder, but it’s no easier than Editors’ Choice award-winning Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9, which we have described as one of the two best laptops in the world and which costs $ 482 less as tested. (Although note that our X1 Carbon had a meticulously slower CPU and lacked HP’s mobile broadband.) EliteBook Aero is an attractive and well-equipped slimline with security features that IT departments will love, but it falls just outside of Editors’ Choice honors.

Four screens, one resolution

Fourteen-inch business notebooks that qualify as ultraportable are rare enough to be appealing. HP boasts that the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is trimmer than the Lenovo ThinkPad T14s (2.83 pounds) and Dell Latitude 7420 (2.7 or 2.89 pounds, depending on whether you get the carbon fiber or aluminum version), even if it is not the easiest choice available – the Asus ExpertBook B9450CEA is only 2.2 pounds.

Rear view of the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8

The $ 1,639 base model settles for an Intel Core i5 processor, a 256GB NVMe solid-state drive, and a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel non-touch screen with low rated brightness (250 nits). For $ 2,679, our test device boasted an 11th generation quad-core chip (3GHz Core i7-1185G7), 16GB of memory, a 512GB SSD, a 400-nit screen, Qualcomm 5G LTE as well as Wi-Fi 6 connectivity and Windows 10 Pro.

There are two other display options, one a touch panel and one with HP’s Sure View Reflect privacy filter to counter sweetie snooping, but all four displays have full HD (1080p) rather than higher 4K resolution.

The sleek, silver-colored Aero measures 0.7 x 12.7 x 8.5 inches, more or less matching the latitude (0.68 x 12.7 x 8.2 inches) and slightly larger than the ExpertBook (0.59 x 12 , 6 x 8 inches), which has narrower screen frames at the top and bottom; Asus boasts a 94% screen-to-body ratio, while HP settles for 85%. The webcam centered above the screen supports face recognition, and there is a fingerprint reader on the palm rest that gives you two ways to skip passwords with Windows Hello.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 Left Ports

Two USB 3.1 Type-A ports (one can charge mobile devices) connect to an audio jack, a security lock slot and a SmartCard slot on the left side of the laptop. There are two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports on the right along with nano-SIM slot, an HDMI video output and a round power socket. The latter went unused on our test system as its AC adapter in shirt pocket had a USB-C cable. Like the X1 Carbon, the EliteBook has no SD or microSD card slot.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 ports on the right

Formidable features

HP put HP WorkWell, a pop-up that reminds you to take occasional exercise breaks, in the Windows Start menu, presumably to help you feel like your laptop cares about your health. The other dozen home branding tools are more relevant, including HP QuickDrop to transfer files from your phone and HP Sure Click Secure Browser to load websites into virtual machines. The BIOS is tamper-proof, and the machine can send you warnings or lock itself if someone removes the bottom cover; Tile software works with the Bluetooth-based subscription service to locate a lost or stolen laptop. Core i7-1185G7 also has Intel vPro IT management and deployment features.

The sound from the speakers flanking the keyboard is pretty loud and impressively clear, with a bit of boom or echo at the highest volume, but sharp heights and even some bass; it is easy to distinguish overlapping tracks. HP Audio Control software allows for noise reduction of speakers and microphones and an equalizer with movies, music and voice presets. The webcam has the usual soft focus 720p resolution, but captures well-lit and colorful images with a bit of static.

Front view of the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8

The classic 16: 9 aspect ratio on the touchless IPS screen is starting to look a bit old-fashioned at this age with taller 16:10 and 3: 2 portable panels, but there’s a lot to appreciate in the rich, well-saturated colors with ample brightness and contrast. The viewing angles are wide and the details are satisfactorily sharp; white backgrounds look clean. The screen tilts almost completely back, so you should have no trouble finding a happy angle.

The backlit keyboard has a comfortable, tasteful keyboard feel without making too much noise. It earns points for dedicated Home, End, Page Up and Page Down keys, even though the top-row function keys (including Escape and Delete) are small and the arrow keys are arranged in HP’s usual finger-frustrating row-half-height up and down arrows stacked between full size left and right — instead of the correct inverted T. There’s both a ThinkPad-style pointer and a two-button touchpad that slides and taps smoothly and takes just the right amount of pressure silent click.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 Keyboard

Test of the EliteBook 840 Aero G8: A sleek business battle

In addition to the Dell Latitude 7420 and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9, I compared Aero’s benchmark performance with two other 14-inch notebooks, the small business-focused Lenovo ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 and the mainstream Acer Swift 3X. You can see their basic specifications in the table below.

Productivity test

The main benchmark for UL’s PCMark 10 simulates a series of real-world productivity and content-creating workflows to measure the overall performance of office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and video conferencing. We also run PCMark 10’s Full System Drive test to assess the load time and throughput of a laptop’s storage. (See more about how we test laptops.)

Three benchmarks focus on the CPU using all available cores and threads to assess a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon’s Cinebench R23 uses the company’s Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs’ Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).

Our latest productivity test is Workstation maker Puget Systems’ PugetBench for Photoshop, which uses Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe’s usual image editor to evaluate a PC’s performance creation content and multimedia applications. It is an automatic extension that performs a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks, ranging from opening, rotating, resizing, and storing an image to applying masks, gradient fill, and filters.

The laptops ended up close together in PCMark 10, all pushing past the 4,000-point score indicating excellent productivity for Microsoft Office or Google Docs. HP did not set fire to the world in our CPU benchmarks, but delivered a more than respectable, if not record – setting result in Adobe Photoshop.

Graphic tests

We test the graphics of Windows PCs with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL’s 3DMark, Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs) is).

We also run two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which emphasizes both low-level routines such as texturing and high-level game-like image reproduction. 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase test, rendered offscreen to accommodate various screen resolutions, training graphics and computer shadows using the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation, respectively. The more frames per second (fps), the better.

Intel’s Iris Xe integrated graphics are more respectable than previous generations, but all of these systems are far from the pace set by gaming laptops with discrete GPUs. Their entertainment options tilt towards casual gaming, Netflix and Spotify rather than Devil May Cry 5 or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Battery and display test

We test laptops’ battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file (open-source Blender movie Tears of steelTears of Steel) with 50% screen brightness and 100% volume. We make sure the battery is fully charged before the test, with Wi-Fi and the keyboard backlight off.

We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite screen calibration sensor and its Windows software to measure the color saturation of a portable screen — what percentage of sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color scales or palettes the display can display — and its 50 % and peak brightness in nits (candelas per square meter).

EliteBook ties Latitude and finishes a few hours before Carbon, but the battery life is more than impressive. So is its leading screen brightness, though we’m disappointed that no 4K screen is available.

Competing for the corner office

HP makes premium business laptops, and the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is no exception. It’s an excellent, easy productivity partner with available 5G as well as Wi-Fi 6 connectivity (though we suggest Wi-Fi 6E support would have been nice too).

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 Left Angle

It does not beat the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 from its Editors’ Choice award perch, but the 840 Aero goes toe to toe with the Latitude 7420 (which briefly grabbed our top price from the Carbon Gen 8) and other excellent alternatives. Its steep price leads us to hope that your company can negotiate a volume discount, but the company that uses this notebook actually has lucky employees.


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