Head-To-Head: Lenovo ThinkPad X280 Vs. HP EliteBook 830 G5

Face Off

Is it just executives that deserve a premium-level laptop for their corporate use? Lenovo and HP Inc. say no: the two PC makers have recently launched new business notebooks offering a premium design and experience at a lower price point than their top-tier business laptops (such as HP's EliteBook x360 and Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon). We've recently tried out two of these laptops at the CRN Test Center -- Lenovo's ThinkPad X280 and HP's EliteBook 830 G5 -- and found that both have a lot to offer, but do have some trade-offs that are good to know about before buying. Which of the two might be the better fit for you? In the following slides, we compare the Lenovo ThinkPad X280 vs. the HP EliteBook 830 G5 on specs and price.


The first difference to note is that HP's EliteBook 830 features a bigger display at 13.3 inches, making it about 6 percent larger than Lenovo's ThinkPad X280, which measures 12.5 inches. The laptops each have a few display configurations to choose from. Both come with FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution, but the EliteBook 830 offers both touch screen and non-touch versions, while the ThinkPad X280 only has a touch version with FHD resolution. The ThinkPad does, however, offer a non-touch model with HD (1,366 x 768) resolution -- but who wants to settle for that?

There are also a few different choices to make around brightness and other display features. The full EliteBook 830 menu includes a touch display with 220 nits of brightness and Gorilla Glass 3; a non-touch display with the Sure View integrated privacy screen and 300 nits; a non-touch display at 400 nits; and, at the entry level, a non-touch display with 220 nits of brightness.

The ThinkPad X280, meanwhile, offers 300 nits of brightness for the FHD model and 220 nits for the HD model.


A key premium design element adopted by HP in the EliteBook 830 G5 is the use of an aluminum body, which is borrowed from the higher-end models such as the EliteBook x360 and EliteBook 1040 (and brings to mind Apple's MacBook Pro design, as well). Lenovo uses a glass-fiber reinforced plastic case for the ThinkPad X280 touch screen model, and a carbon-fiber case for the non-touch model. In both instances, the use of these materials enables the notebooks to meet military-standard drop protection and a range of other durability standards -- a key feature for any on-the-go workforce.


The ThinkPad X280 is the winner on portability with its weight of 2.5 pounds for non-touch model and 2.79 pounds for the touch screen version. By contrast, the EliteBook 830 G5 weighs 2.94 pounds for the non-touch model and 3.32 pounds for the touch version. Aluminum may look nice, but it's heavy. The X280 is also thinner, though not by much -- 0.67 of an inch thick vs 0.7 of an inch thick for the EliteBook 830.


Both the ThinkPad X280 and EliteBook 830 G5 benefit from getting Intel's speedy eighth-generation processors, with Core i5 and Core i7 chips available for both notebooks. Part of the speed benefit of the eighth generation is that even the i5 processors are quad-core, not just the i7 chips. Each laptop, in fact, tops out at the same processor: the Core i7-8650U (clock speed of up to 4.2GHz). In our tryouts, both laptops offered impressive performance even with heavy multi-tasking. EliteBook 830 G5 models are also available with seventh-gen Intel Core processors.

Battery Life

We try to gauge battery life based on real-world scenarios, by testing laptops with heavy usage over the course of a day. Some combination of using PC apps, web browsing and video streaming is involved. We think this gives us a real-world feel for how a laptop performs on battery life. Using our method, with the brightness set to 75 percent in both cases, HP's EliteBook 830 G5 got solid results with 6 hours and 45 minutes of battery life. Lenovo's X280 got six hours in one of our trials, but just four hours in a second test. We feel confident after our tryouts that the EliteBook 830 G5 will be the better option for users in need of strong battery life.


Both laptops in our comparison are pretty generous when it comes to offering business-friendly port connectivity. The ThinkPad X280 features USB-C, two USB-A ports, HDMI and optional Micro-SIM -- as well as the ability to do USB-C side docking. The EliteBook 830 G5 also has two USB-A, one USB-C port, HDMI and side docking, while adding an Ethernet port and a smart card reader.


The EliteBook 830 G5 comes with a few security features that weren't even available originally on premium EliteBook models released last year. 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.

Notable security features with the ThinkPad X280 include a built-in webcam shutter and a touch fingerprint reader. HP also includes an option for a fingerprint sensor, and has a built-in webcam shutter on the non-touch version -- but not on the touch screen model.

Special Features

HP has 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.

Special features in the ThinkPad X280 include rapid-charging capabilities, which can provide an 80-percent charge in just an hour, along with "anti-fry" protection to prevent device damage caused by using sub-par USB-C accessories.

Price & Bottom Line

The laptops in our comparison are not too far apart on entry-level pricing -- with a starting price of $1,249 for the HP EliteBook 830 G5 and $1,179 for the Lenovo ThinkPad X280. The only problem is that this pricing will get you a seventh-gen processor on the EliteBook 830 and an HD display for the Lenovo X280. For more of an apples-to-apples comparison, we'll look at the pricing for models with FHD touch display and the eighth-gen Core i7-8550U chip. With those specs, the ThinkPad X280 is still more affordable at $1,454, versus $1,599 for the EliteBook 830 G5. However, we're bigger fans of the EliteBook 830 G5 thanks to its stronger battery life, more-appealing design and larger display. In our view, paying the extra $140 will probably be worth it for many users.