HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review


If you compare the Aero version of the EliteBook 840 G8 to its non-Aero sibling, you'll find that the laptop is nearly identical in size, within a fraction of an inch in width and depth, and just 0.70 inches thick. But HP built the EliteBook Aero 840 G8 out of magnesium instead of aluminum, and managed to cut the weight by nearly half a pound, from 2.92 pounds to 2.5 pounds. That's light for a 14-inch business-class laptop and significantly easier to carry.

While there are 14-inch consumer laptops in the same weight range, like the 2.31-pound, 0.59-inch thick Acer Swift 5 , not many business jets can match. The Dell Latitude 7420 , for example, is 0.68 inches thicker while its construction is 2.7 pounds of carbon fiber and 2.89 pounds of all-aluminum chassis.

A laptop that matches the EliteBook is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 , which weighs 2.49 pounds and is 0.59 inches thinner, uses magnesium in its chassis, and is more flexible. Ultimately, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 achieves its goal of being extremely light, even if it's not the thinnest laptop.

The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 also manages to avoid the common pitfall of magnesium chassis, which is that they tend to be less rigid than aluminum. The EliteBook is sturdy all around, the lid only flexes when you apply undue pressure, the keyboard deck has zero flex, and the chassis bottom has no flex. Business laptops tend to be stronger than some consumer laptops, like the MSI Prestige 14 Evo , which is aluminum but still has a slightly curved lid, so that's nothing new. But being so light and sturdy is a great combination, not one you'll often find. The laptop's hinge is a little tight, requiring two hands to open the lid, but it's always tapered for easy opening and can be tilted 170 degrees for collaborative viewing.

Aesthetically, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 matches HP's general EliteBook look and feel. It's all silver with few ornaments. There's a chrome HP logo on the lid, a subtle EliteBook logo on the keyboard deck, and a laser-cut pattern on the speaker grilles on either side of the keyboard, but otherwise, we're talking a minimalist design. The Dell Latitude 7420 is similar in its simplicity, as are other business laptops.

Manufacturers tend to be conservative when designing for these types of laptops - you don't want your laptop to attract attention in a conference room. However, that doesn't make the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 a bad-looking laptop. It's very attractive, with enough angles, plus the rounded rear and lid edges to give it a fairly modern look. I'll note that the large display bezels at the top and bottom dampen that feeling a bit -- the EliteBook has an 85 percent screen-to-body ratio, which is low for a modern laptop.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 

Business laptops need connectivity, and the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 delivers. On the left, you'll find a nano security lock, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an optional smart card reader. On the right is the proprietary power connection (my review unit came with a USB-C charger), a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, and a nano-SIM socket for 4G LTE slot or 5G support. In addition to WWAN support, there is WI-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.

Security and Privacy
You wouldn't spend so much money on the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 just because of its conservative, lightweight chassis and relatively standard components. Instead, you (or more likely, your business) will invest in access to the extensive security and manageability tools built into HP business machines.

It's this level of security and manageability that helps justify the laptop's high price.

The EliteBook uses HP's Wolf Security for Business, which provides a number of features that enable the notebook to meet the security needs of the most demanding organizations. The list is exhaustive, starting with HP's Management Integration Kit (MIK), which makes it easier to integrate laptops into Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager for enhanced manageability. The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 offers Intel vPro as an option, further extending its integration with enterprise IT systems.

HP's Endpoint Security Controller (ESC) operates at the lowest level of the notebook, provides hardware enforcement technology, provides a hardware root of trust through HP Sure Start, and physically isolates and protects the notebook's critical firmware. Protection also works at runtime, continuously monitoring security systems and leveraging Wolf Security encryption hardware capabilities. HP Sure Recover minimizes downtime by providing embedded recovery tools, network-based recovery, and the ability to support enterprise images. HP Tamperlock protects against physical case intrusion and DMA, flash replacement, side channel and TPM probe attacks.

We'll stop there, but say the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is highly secure and easy to manage, giving users and businesses confidence that their machines and data will remain safe. It's this level of security and manageability that helps justify the laptop's high price.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8

My review unit came with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 with vPro. Targeted at thin and light laptops, this top U-series GPU in Intel's lineup offers a theoretical performance boost over the more popular Core i7-1165G7.

In our benchmarks, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 was competitive with most similarly equipped laptops in our control group. It placed third in Geekbench 5, with the HP Elite Dragonfly Max taking first place in this test. In our Handbrake test, which converts 420MB video to H.265, the EliteBook scored well on the CPU, placing it in fourth place, with only the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo significantly faster than the Intel package.

I used the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED to experience the performance of the AMD Ryzen 5000 series, and as you can see it's noticeably faster in CPU-intensive tasks. The EliteBook was also in the middle of the pack on the Cinebench R23 benchmark, another test that taxes the CPU. In PCMark 10, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 maintained middling performance and expanded to the full scores listed in the table as well as the basic, productivity, and content creation sections of the benchmark.

Overall, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is a solid productivity performer that doesn't lead the pack but manages to keep up. You'll find it useful for keeping up with your demanding productivity workflow, but you won't want to use it for creative applications. That doesn't hit the EliteBook, however, as it works with all current Intel U-series laptops. You need to look to AMD for better creative performance.

Gaming performance on the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is on par with other laptops with Intel's integrated Iris Xe graphics. That said, it's not very good. You'll get around 29 frames per second (fps) for 1080p high graphics and 22 fps for Epic graphics in Fortnite .

This is good enough for older games or newer games where the resolution and graphics are tuned down. But it's a business laptop that isn't masquerading as a gaming machine.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8

I don't like full HD (1,920 x 1,080) monitors, even on 14-inch monitors. I like higher resolutions. That said, I like the low-power display on the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 more than usual—except for the old-school 16:9 aspect ratio. The display is bright, the colors are dynamic without being exaggerated, and black text pops up on a white background. Subjectively, it's one of the better 1080p monitors I've used on a laptop that wasn't designed for creators.

My colorimeter supports me. First, the display is really bright at 479 nits, well above our 300 nit threshold and well above the high-end average. Here's a monitor you might be able to use in the sun. Contrast ratio is also excellent for a 1,740:1 IPS display, again well above our preferred threshold, in this case 1000:1. It's better than displays on many other business laptops, including the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9, which has a brightness of just 306 nits and a much lower contrast ratio of 970:1.

Colors are also good for non-creator displays , at 77% AdobeRGB and 99% sRGB. That's a few percentage points above the premium display average, beating the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9's 76 percent and 96 percent again. The EliteBook 840 Aero G8's display is also accurate, with a Delta-E of 1.11 (1.0 or lower is excellent) compared to the ThinkPad's 0.99.

All in all, I found the monitor great for productivity work and binge-watching Netflix. Again, I'd prefer a higher resolution monitor, but many people will find that a full HD monitor can provide a sufficiently sharp image on a 14-inch monitor. However, I do wish the display was touch-enabled, which is an option for those who feel the same way.

Audio is provided by two upward-firing speakers on either side of the keyboard. HP touts the volume and bass delivered by the speakers, and I found those claims to be true. The sound is adequate when turned on all the way, with no distortion. The mids and highs are nice and clear, and, yes, there's a bit of bass. The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 isn't up to the audio standards of the Dell XPS 15 or MacBook, but it's good enough for watching Netflix and listening to the occasional tune.

keyboard and touchpad
HP's EliteBooks have great keyboards. The one on the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 has been redesigned to be better, especially to provide a consistent feel across all keys. The redesign includes adding a programmable hotkey that moves the power button to the keyboard, requiring a little extra pressure and a bit longer to activate it. The keyboard's mechanics are deep, bottoming is responsive, and it's remarkably quiet. I'd rate it with the HP Spectre keyboard, it's been my favorite Windows 10 keyboard, better than the Dell XPS line of keyboards. Only the MacBook's Magic Keyboard is better.

The touchpad is a decent size, with a smooth glass surface and Microsoft Precision touchpad support. I found it useful and reliable when using Windows 10's multi-touch gesture suite. It's smaller than it can fit, though, to accommodate a button in the middle of the keyboard that resembles Lenovo's TrackPoint's cursor nub. If you like the control, it works great, and it offers a textured surface to help maintain control.

Windows 10 Hello support is provided by a fingerprint reader in the upper right corner of the palm rest and an infrared camera for facial recognition. Both run quickly and without fuss, making it easy to log into the EliteBook 840 Aero G8.

Battery Life
The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 has a 53-watt-hour battery, which is average for a 14-inch laptop. With a 1080p display, I'd expect battery life to be good but not very long, maybe enough to get through a workday, but not enough to keep working into the evening.

The battery life turned out to be a little better than I expected. I saw about 11 hours in our web browsing test, which is a good result. Equipped with the same CPU, Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) display, and 70Wh battery, the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo took just 1 minute to use. A more direct competitor, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9, lasted about an hour. In our video looping test of a local 1080p movie trailer, the EliteBook hit 14 hours and 15 minutes, which is another good time. Anything over 12 hours is what we'd expect from a premium laptop. I'll note that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 lasted a whopping 21 hours, so the EliteBook didn't quite dominate the business class.

On the PCMark 10 application battery test, the best indicator of productivity battery life, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 achieved a strong 13.75 hours, topping our database. Again, though, the ThinkPad dominated, at 17.25 hours. I also ran the PCMark 10 gaming battery test, and the EliteBook lasted just over five hours -- the longest we've seen. However, this test seems to show how hard the laptop is working on battery, not absolute battery life, so you can expect performance to degrade when unplugged.

Overall, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is a strong performer when it comes to battery life. It exceeded my expectations and will keep you working until the night if you need it. You might not get the fastest performance during battery life, but it will keep you going when you're away from the charger.

HP took the EliteBook 840 G8 and made it lighter with the Aero Edition, providing business users with a solid alternative to take advantage of HP's robust suite of business-oriented security and manageability tools. The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is well-built, yet incredibly light, with great performance and long battery life.

Expensive though. You will definitely pay for business features, and most likely not by users. However, organizations looking for a great business laptop should put the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 on their shortlist.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 9 is a strong contender in terms of its performance and battery life, and it's also cheaper when configured with the same ($2,260), but it only comes with a one-year warranty, and Lenovo also packs a few more Business features, but they're not as broad as HP's selection.

Dell offers the Latitude 7420 , another solid alternative that's also less expensive at $2,020 (with a three-year warranty). Dell has its own suite of business tools, and if organizations need easy-to-manage security measures, Latitude will serve them well too.

If you don't need a business-class laptop, there are many consumer alternatives. But in this case, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 shouldn't even be considered.

The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is well built and should be believed to last for years of typical business use. The components are up-to-date, which means it will also meet Windows requirements for many years. You'll love the three-year warranty, which should be expected for a business-class machine, but isn't always offered at no extra cost.

It's expensive but worth it if you need a laptop your business can rely on.

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