HP Inc. has a unique thesis for its latest EliteBook releases: Maybe it's not just executives who deserve a premium design and experience with their work laptop.
The millennial generation's savviness about tech (and aesthetics) has helped spur HP to bring a different approach to devices for the mainstream commercial user from competitors Dell and Lenovo. As evidenced by the EliteBook 800 G5 series release this year, HP believes companies will see a good return-on-investment for bringing premium to their mainstream workers.
We've been trying out one of these devices, the 13.3-inch EliteBook 830 G5, in recent weeks at the CRN Test Center. And we're impressed by how it's not too far off in terms of the user experience of the top-level EliteBook models that we've tried over the past year.
Most strikingly, there's the familiar aluminum bodied design that--while being a bit thicker and heavier than the EliteBook x360 models--still looks and feels terrific. The touchpad and keyboard are both great, too, and the notebook actually has a leg-up on processing power thanks to having an eighth-gen Core i7 (versus the seventh-gen chips of the x360 models). Performance was zippy, and part of the ROI with this device is that you truly can get a lot more done when your work laptop is fast and smooth-performing.
The touch display doesn't fold all the way back, but it's very sharp thanks to its FHD resolution and offers a decent level of brightness with 220 nits. (Other configurations go up to 400 nits.) The bezels are also slimmer than on predecessor models for a more-premium look and smaller size overall.
As mentioned, one of the most noticeable differences for the EliteBook 830 from higher-end EliteBooks is the portability; the touch model weighs 3.32 pounds, versus 2.86 pounds for the 13.3-inch EliteBook x360, and is also a fair amount thicker at 0.7 of an inch compared to 0.59 of an inch thick for the x360. But certainly, there need to be a few compromises with the mainstream version.
One area where the EliteBook 830 G5 doesn't compromise is on security capabilities--in fact, the notebook comes with a few security features that weren't even available originally on the x360 models. Those include HP Sure Run, which helps to maintain and protect firewalls, and HP Sure Recover, which can detect if an image has been tampered with and recreate the original image without IT support. The features are in addition to standard HP security capabilities such as the company's self-healing BIOS technology, Sure Start, which is now in its fourth generation.
Battery life was pretty solid at 6 hours and 45 minutes of heavy usage, just about an hour less than we got for the 13.3-inch x360.
HP has also brought in collaboration features to the 800 series from the higher-end EliteBook models, including dedicated keys for video and audio conferencing. Additionally, the company is making available its PhoneWise functionality, which enables users to respond to calls and text messages using the notebook itself.
One of the few nitpicks is that the machine's fan comes on frequently, and it's fairly noisy, too.
But overall, there are far fewer tradeoffs with the EliteBook 830 G5 than you'd expect with a mainstream workplace laptop. Pricing starts at $1,249, which makes it competitive on price with less-sleek Lenovo ThinkPads and Dell Latitudes in its class.
As corporate workers ourselves, we'd be thrilled to be issued a notebook of this caliber--so we're glad to see HP raising the bar for the mainstream commercial user with the fifth-gen EliteBook 830.