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HP's EliteBooks are robust and well-specified laptops aimed at business users, and they compete with other premium devices such as Lenovo's ThinkPads and Dell's Latitude series. The 14-inch EliteBook 840 G7 starts at £1,074 (inc. VAT) for a Core i5-based model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. This is an attractive price, but it's worth noting that this range is powered by 10th generation (Comet Lake) Intel processors rather than the latest 11th generation (Tiger Lake) chips.
The HP EliteBook 840 G7 is a compact and solidly built 14-inch laptop. There is a smaller 830-series model if you prefer a 13.3-inch screen, but since the 840 has relatively narrow bezels and a generally slim design, many will opt for more screen space. The EliteBook 840 G7 will slip into a tiny backpack easily and it's not especially heavy.
The desktop footprint measures 323mm wide by 214mm deep, and the laptop is 17.9mm thick. It has a starting weight of 1.33kg and the chassis uses aluminium in a lid that I couldn't bow in my hands, while the base feels tough. The silver finish characteristic of the EliteBook range is attractive, although you might want to use a protective sleeve in transit to avoid unsightly scratches.
On the subject of screen bezels, they're not uniformly narrow. The short bezels are, according to my ruler, 6mm thick, the top a more generous 10mm, and the bottom around 13mm. HP has not caught up with the trend to minimise the bottom bezel and create additional height in the screen. Having worked with increased screen height on the (admittedly larger) 15-inch Dell XPS 15 9500 and the 13.9-inch Asus ZenBook S UX393, I can say that the extra height makes for a superior experience both in terms of work and leisure (such as video viewing).
Each of the three pre-configured EliteBook 840 G7 models on HP's UK website (at the time of writing) share the same FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS display with a matte, anti-glare finish. There's no touch-screen availability. One area of significant differentiation between the three models is their brightness: my entry-level review unit tops out at 250 nits, which is pretty low for a business laptop. The mid-range £1,242 (inc. VAT) model offers a healthier 400 nits, while the top-end £1,402 (inc. VAT) version gets an impressive 1000 nits.
You'll need the most expensive model to get HP's Sure View privacy screen, which in my experience with other HP laptops does a very good job of making it difficult for anyone sitting on either side to see what you're looking at, although it also reduces head-on viewability slightly. My review unit did have a sliding privacy cover for the webcam though, and there's a second IR camera for Windows Hello as well as a fingerprint sensor.
The screen will hinge back almost to the desk, but doesn't lay completely flat, which is slightly odd.
The keyboard is bordered on its short edges by speaker grilles that look nice, but the sound quality is pretty disappointing, with a lack of bass and rather harsh treble tones. With laptops doubling up for both work and entertainment these days, and so many meetings and presentations taking place online, the audio subsystem is becoming increasingly important, so this is a disappointment.
The keyboard has two backlight levels, toggled with a Fn key. The main QWERTY keys are large and well spaced, while the Fn key row is half height but perfectly usable. It contains an F12 key that users can programme to any action, including opening an application, web page or even a specific file. Four actions can be configured -- with the key on its own and in combination with Shift, Ctrl and Alt.
The left and right arrow keys occupy a full-size key, while the up and down arrows are on half-height, extended-width keys. The typing action is bouncy but comfortable; there's a little 'clacking' as you type, but it's not intrusive.
The EliteBook 840 G7 incorporates HP's pointing stick in between the G, H and B keys, with two dedicated buttons above the clickpad. The clickpad itself is responsive.
As noted, there are three pre-configured EliteBook 840 G7 models available in the UK, all based on 10th generation intel processors. The most and least expensive have LTE support, and all have a smartcard reader. The core specifications of each are as follows:
Intel Core i7-10510U, Windows 10 Pro, 14.0-inch 1,920 x 1,080 anti-glare 1000 nits non-touch screen with HP Sure View privacy screen, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD £1,402.80 (inc. VAT)
Intel Core i5-10210U, Windows 10 Pro, 14.0-inch 1,920 x 1,080 anti-glare 250 nits non-touch screen, Intel UHD Graphics 620, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD £1,074 (inc. VAT) as reviewed
There is a reasonable array of ports and connectors. On the left edge there is a smartcard reader, a 3.5mm headset jack and a pair of USB 3.1 ports. The LTE SIM slots into a housing on the right edge of the chassis, where there's also a pair of USB-C ports with Thunderbolt (either one of which can be used to charge the battery), a full-size HDMI port and a round-pin power connector. My review unit came with a USB-C charge cable, rendering the latter redundant. Checking the online specifications this only seems to be provided as standard with the most expensive model, and it offers 65W charging rather than the 45W provided by the round-pin adapter.
Battery life is astonishingly good. Running a normal workload of writing into a web app, browsing the web, watching some video and listening to music, I ran the battery down by just 16% in three hours. This would equate to over 18 hours of battery life -- enough to accommodate a working day and then some. However, working with the 250 nits screen on its default battery-power setting of about 50% is not great, and I'd normally have it set much higher, resulting in lower battery life.
The HP EliteBook 840 G7 is a well-built 14-inch business laptop with a good selection of ports and connectors, LTE mobile broadband and great battery life. However, the FHD screen on the entry-level £1,074 (inc. VAT) model reviewed here lacks brightness. Sound quality could be better across the board, and you have to go to the most expensive iteration to get HP's Sure View screen privacy.