back to article HP EliteBook 840G1: Sometimes it's an Ultrabook, sometimes it's not

At a recent event when HP was handing out Elitebooks and other gadgetry to the great and the good of the UK’s tech press, a thought crossed my mind as the options presented themselves. Shall I go for the eminently portable Elitebook 820 G1 12.5in model or the somewhat chunkier 14in 840 G1? With you, dear reader, in mind, I had a …


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Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

HDD in an Ultrabook?

FFS why do they even bother. The 12.5" one is even worse, for 843 quid offering only 1366x768 an an HDD as well. Oh, and 4 Gb of memory.

Now that Dell is down the drain, here's hoping HP will follow them to a well-deserved cold grave...

Bill the Sys Admin

Re: HDD in an Ultrabook?

I have never had a HP laptop but have helped out a friend who has one. They are obsessed with adding bloatware onto their products! Just seeing the images there of the additional software brings back the nightmares. Just install the OS and leave it HP!

Gordon 10
Silver badge

Re: HDD in an Ultrabook?

Im having a tramatic flashback to HP printer drivers. They used to install lots of un-needed crud too.

John Tserkezis

Re: HDD in an Ultrabook?

"They are obsessed with adding bloatware onto their products!"

I was fortunate at my last job several years ago, that we had our retailer/supplier change the OS from the default supplied Vista, back to XP, so we'd never get to see the bloat.

However, on special urgent runs where they didn't have the time to do that, we'd get the original install OS from HP, and for the first time (for me anyway) I got to see the bloatware in all its glory.

I made the mistake of keeping the OS, and trying to remove the bloat, then installing our software. Ah, how naive I was. Turns out it was faster to trash the install, install XP from scratch (along with the trouble of loading the SATA drivers via floppy), then the drivers, then the software.

Is HP going to address this? Nope. Their majority client base is Joe and Jenny Domestic, where they generally have no strong feelings for software - prime for the picking - just rope them in with a free version (well, a self-destruct version anyway), and once they've committed with that, they have to buy it, because now they're comfortable with it. Sure, Microsoft wins out here, but you can be sure they're giving HP some handsome discounts for the bunding.

Bill the Sys Admin

Re: HDD in an Ultrabook?

"I got to see the bloatware in all its glory." haha this made me laugh! Yep its real bad!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

not a bad machine but

HP seems to be beating Apple at price gouging

£423 for a 256Gb SSD! WTF

I've just bought a 960Gb SSD for a little under a £100 less.

I use an Elitebook 8770W as my main dev machine. 17in screen, 32Gb Ram and 2Tb of SSD. Goes like stink.

It is a shame that the likes of HP/DELL etc still produce business class notebooks with a 1366x768 screen. At the prices they charge for their kit they could at least put a better screen in it. The Macbook range looks pretty competitive against this.

Anonymous Coward 101

Re: not a bad machine but

I'm seeing nothing produced by any manufacturer that makes me want to buy. Not at these prices. Does the word 'Ultrabook' mean overpriced and underspecified laptop?

Nigel 11

Re: not a bad machine but

Overpriced, definitely. I'd argue for over-specified rather than under-

Are there any inexpensive 15" laptops out there with 1920x1080 screens? Do we really need the high-end gubbinsry that this beast is encrusted with? Or just an ordinary computer with a decent screen to run Windows and/or Linux for serious work away from our desks?

John Tserkezis

Re: not a bad machine but

"Does the word 'Ultrabook' mean overpriced and underspecified laptop?"

The term was set by Intel, it means you have a regular Laptop, but with some specification requirements and constraints. It sets the class of CPU, battery life, physical size, weight and probably more.

Some of the specs could be better than regular laptops, some could be worse due to the trade-off of weight, size and battery life.

They're generally sold as small, light, fast machines for portable use, but that's just what the marketing machine says, the constraints means there could be more trade-offs than you're willing to deal with.

The Reg had a nice flowchart graphic that determined what type of boxen you had (mainly centred about Netbooks), but it's about a year old, and hopelessly obselete now. An update would be nice.

Silver badge

Re: not a bad machine but@AC 10:44

HP has historically had ridiculously high prices on their website. They're not Dell or Apple that mainly sell their stuff through their web store but they rely on resellers and HP doesn't really want to piss them off...


Of course it's still much more expensive than any similar OEM drive, but since when did any manufacturer offer their options on OEM prices?

Neill Mitchell

Thanks goodness

Matte screens seem to be returning. That's another bit of "must have feature 'cos Apple have it" pure marketing madness coming to an end.

John Tserkezis

Re: Thanks goodness

"Matte screens seem to be returning. That's another bit of "must have feature 'cos Apple have it" pure marketing madness coming to an end."

Alas no, it was purely sales and marketing data. The shiny screens were marketed to domestic clients who favoured high video quality above and beyond anything else - in the shop (note the positioning of the laptops and overhead lighting was set so there is no glare while you're playing with it). Once they took it home and realised how useless it was under the window, it was too late - no backsies when it comes to returns. The mattes were reserved exclusively for corporate models, because it was accepted those clients knew what they were talking about, and would not accept shiny screens at all.

It turns out the marketing machine was a little flawed. The domestic customers weren't as stupid as they originally thought they were.


Those photos clearly show a laptop, not an ultrabook.



But a hard drive? At that price?

Oh dear.

Everything else sounds remarkably sensible!

Matte 14" 1920x1080 screen, 8GB RAM, <1.6KG, discrete gpu. More of this, please!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

all very well

except the price tag of £1344 RRP. I got a comparable spec HP (well, comparable by the current specs) model, several years ago (c. 2005?) for approx. £800. And the fingerprint reader was a pain then, so it seems nothing's changed since, eh?

John Tserkezis

Re: all very well

"And the fingerprint reader was a pain then, so it seems nothing's changed since, eh?"

We used to put stickers over them, and then remove the software later. It's been long established a fingerprint, the way it's implemented, is about as secure as a low character count password.

We can't control combinations on a fingerprint, but we can on the passwords.

Silver badge

Re: all very well @AC 12:58

Please post the specs of your model, you don't sound credible. 1080p (or 1920x1200 in 2005) was very expensive even in the "good ol' days".

Also, £800 in 2005 equals to over £1000 today when inflation is adjusted.

Am I the only one who thinks that fingerprint reader is convenient with logging into computer/websites/programs/VPNs etc?

jason 7

HDD isnt a showstopper.

Easy to sort out. Plus seems about the only blemish which at least can be fixed.

Just amazed how much background crap is open on that machine, all those icons on the right.

Gordon 10
Silver badge

Crumulent battery life

4-5hrs? really? WTF?

In a land of tablets and other ~£1000 laptops with 8hr-12hr run times how the hell do they think this is good enough?

No wonder Ultrabooks have flopped - too much cruddy fluff obscuring the few gems.

Captain Scarlet
Silver badge

Re: Crumulent battery life

I can't see a problem here, a bigger battery makes it heavier and thats the biggest complaint I always get (GET A BACKPACK AND STOP WHINING >_<).

John Tserkezis

Re: Crumulent battery life

"4-5hrs? really? WTF? In a land of tablets and other ~£1000 laptops with 8hr-12hr run times how the hell do they think this is good enough?"

Apples, oranges, and marketing guff. You can't compare with tablets, because they typcially run ARM CPUs, which are slower, and designed around low power. Try comparing a similar Intel and ARM, and you'll see the ARM isn't up to it when it comes to grunt. Don't get caught up with numbers, you're buying a laptop or a tablet, you're not buying numbers and marketing.

My brother in law has a term for this - Shit and Oragano. It loses a bit in translation, but basically it means, no matter how much herb you put on crap - it's still crap.

I've just replaced the battery on my Ultrathin Acer Asprie One 532h, and tested life by hammering the CPU at 100%, HDD on all the time, screen on all the time at full brightness, about 5 hours on an expanded battery. That equates to about 2.5 hours on a regular factory battery. Not typical use of course, but it's a very repeatable test.

The manufacturer's quote for the regular factory battery life is 9 hours. That's achievable, if you forgo some luxuries, like using the hard drive, and having a screen brightness bright enough to be usable, and you don't mind the screen going blank every two minutes, or actually running any processor intensive software.

Yep, totally achievable. You just need to add a bit of Oragano.

Gordon 10
Silver badge

Re: Crumulent battery life

Actually I was comparing it to my Vaio TT which cost me around £1100 in 2009 and has a battery life of ~7-8 hrs of normal use.


Looks nice but expensive

Information on battery life is in the quickspecs

HP EliteBook 840 G1

hard drive/intel 13 hours 15 minutes

hard drive/AMD 13 hours 15 minutes

SSD/intel 15 hours 15 minutes

SSD/AMD 14 hours 30 minutes

SSD/intel + slice 33 hours 45 minutes

These figures sound somewhat fanciful to me as they don't tie in with the results found in this review. The slice battery adds an extra 780g to the weight.

The price is steep, yes it has 1080p screen and 8GB of RAM but the SSD should really be included in a laptop costing this much money.

Bronze badge

Re: Looks nice but expensive

Probably the times in sleep.

Or running, but screen off.


So with me, the reader, in mind... review a business notebook and test the DTS settings but not the security applications?

Thanks! :)

Prof Denzil Dexter

Ready to upgrade. But i'll wait for now

I'm sitting with my Aspire One 725 netbook. Perfectly good for browsing, banking and watching 720p. But cramped screen and crappy AMD CPU means i'm on the lookout for a grunty 13-14". But £1350 for 3hrs battery and a a HDD? Wow. Mugs game. I'll sit back and wait for the inevitable heavy discounting.

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