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HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review

Power and security in a lightweight package

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review
(Image: © Laptop Mag)

Our Verdict

The HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 offers power and a host of security features in a slim, lightweight package.

For

  • Good overall performance
  • Lightweight, portable design
  • Excellent security features
  • Great audio

Against

  • Expensive
  • FHD is disappointing for the price
  • Below-average battery life

As more and more companies are opting to have employees work in hybrid setups, the call for professional laptops has increased in kind. The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is HP’s answer to this demand. Combining powerful specs like an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and integrated graphics with features such as an integrated Tile Tracker, NFC, a SmartCard reader, and a fingerprint scanner, consistent security between home and office has never been easier. Add speakers by Bang and Olfusen into the fray and you get a laptop that’s useful for both work and leisure.

With such an impressive array of features, There’s really little to complain about when it comes to this laptop. However, with a $2,882 price tag, I expected a brighter, more vivid display. 

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 price and configuration

With a name like EliteBook, you might expect this device to come at an elite price. The $2,882 model that we received features a good mix of premium and standard features. It has an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB self-encrypted SSD, a Smartcard reader and built-in NFC, plus “standard” additions such as a fingerprint reader and Bluetooth/LAN. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The base model has an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB self-encrypted SSD and a FHD anti-glare display and runs the basic Windows 10 Home edition. All of this starts at $1,954 at HP, but there are plenty of customization options to really personalize your experience and price.

Simply by upgrading to Windows 10 Pro for businesses, several new options are unlocked such as upgrading to an Intel Core i7 processor for $400, 16 - 64GB RAM for $140-$960, 512GB - 2TB SSD for $130 - $995 plus the option to add a fingerprint reader for $10 and NFC for $5. Just for fun, I decided to see just how expensive I could make this laptop, and with all the premium options selected I was able to rack up a bill of $6,340. Ouch.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 design

While there’s nothing that immediately stands out about the EliteBook 840 Aero G8, the all-silver aluminum chassis with just the HP logo in the middle gives a slick, professional appearance. It falls into the ultraportable category measuring 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches, and while it's just a hair larger than the Dell Latitude 7320 2-in-1 (12.1 x 7.9 x 0.7 inches) and a breadth thicker than the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Gen 9) (12.4 x 8.7 x 0.6 inches) each system weighs the same 2.5 pounds.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Opening the lid, you’ll see that the deck follows the same clean-cut trend as the outside, with more of the same silver, including the touchpad and fingerprint scanner, which is contrasted nicely by the black keyboard with thin white lettering. The one decorative aspect of this design are the speakers on either side of the keyboard which have an alternating triangle pattern with the two sides mirroring each other perfectly. 

The 14-inch display is surrounded by thin bezels to help keep your focus on the screen. You’ll find the webcam on the top bezel which has a physical privacy shutter, as well as an ambient light sensor and two microphones - one on each side of the camera.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Flipping it over, the bottom is the same solid silver color as the front with a vent in the middle to keep the laptop cool. And though there are two long, rubber bumpers to keep the device from sliding around.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 security

One of the biggest reasons for this laptop’s exorbitant price is the reliability and integrated security measures.. The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 comes with software designed to keep you and your information secure, such as HP Wolf Security for Business, which offers industry-leading protection against cyber attacks. And while added features such as a fingerprint scanner and a Windows Hello-compatible webcam already add an extra layer of security, the option to add NFC and a SmartCard reader really expand your options to keep things safe. You can also add a self-encrypting SSD.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Plus, no matter what build you choose, the notebook has an integrated Bluetooth Tile tracker, giving you not only security against cyber threats, but also peace of mind against physical threats such as thieves. Also helpful if you’re simply absent-minded.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 ports

There’s a wide array of ports available on the EliteBook 840 Aero G8. On the right side, you’ll find an A/C jack, an HDMI port, two USB-C ports, and a SIM card slot.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Moving over to the left, there are two USB-A ports and a headphone jack. There is also a SmartCard reader to easily log in and access your work files.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 display

For the price, I was expecting at least a QHD display. Or even the option to upgrade to a QHD or UHD display, but the only upgrade options available are increased brightness up to 1,000 nits or adding a privacy screen. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Unfortunately, the 14-inch display is FHD (1920 x 1080p) and remarkably… average. That is to say, there was nothing wrong with the display –– it measured 480 nits at its highest brightness, higher than the premium laptop average of 385 nits. However, the anti-glare screen couldn’t compete with full daylight which made viewing anything that wasn’t light-colored, such as Discord dark mode or a low-lit scene in a video, nearly impossible to make out.

Setting aside the disappointment of the display not being 4K, text was still crisp and easy to read and there was still a good amount of contrast and color. The 60Hz refresh rate was an added bonus, though it still doesn’t quite make up for the lower quality display.

While watching the new Matrix 4: Resurrections trailer, the blue pills were vibrant and still stood out against the subtle blues of the background, and the red pill in Morpheus’ hand was as vibrant as the shirt he wore under his suit jacket. No specific colors seemed desaturated which tracks, considering our colorimeter found that the Aero G8 covered 74.5% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. This beats the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (69%), but is still a lower score than the category average (84.3%).

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 keyboard and touchpad

The EliteBook 840 Aero G8 HP boasts a comfortable keyboard once you get used to the key spacing thanks to the pointing stick in the middle. Once adjusted, I  got 62 words per minute on 10fastfingers which is a touch above my average of 55 wpm. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The keys themselves are made of a smooth matte black plastic that have just enough of a tactile feel to them without being “clicky.” I greatly appreciated the inclusion of individual home, page up and down, and end buttons rather than just adding them as function keys. The backlighting had two brightness settings, neither of which were bright enough to be distracting.

And while the rest of the deck has a slight texture to it, the touchpad was incredibly smooth and responsive, which made navigating on it a breeze. It also has two discrete mouse buttons above the mousepad, though you can still use the actual touchpad to tap and click.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 audio

Featuring front-facing speakers built by Bang and Olufsen, I appreciated rich and fulfilling audio without obstructions on the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8. I really felt the opening baseline to “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson (sometimes you just gotta go old school) and when the other instruments started, the bass wasn’t drowned out.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

During the Night Teeth trailer, the dialogue came across incredibly clear even when the background music was playing. Impacts during fight scenes were easily discernible and it was incredibly clear when people were stabbed instead of hit.

And honestly, the reason for the clear speakers is probably more for video and voice calls with the office so I tried that out with an early morning call with my sister. While I could clearly hear her voice (and the irritation that came with such an early call) she told me that my voice sounded a bit quiet, but otherwise clear. I’d call that a partial win for the mic.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 performance

Outfitted with a 3.0-GHz 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is a champ when it comes to handling most tasks. To prove that it could handle multitasking like a breeze I opened 50 Google Chrome tabs, several which were playing videos and Microsoft Word still loaded in mere seconds. There was also no delay while typing in Google Docs or lag when scrolling Twitter even then.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

But the real test comes from our synthetic benchmark tests. After all, we’re here for solid numbers, right? The Aero G8 hit a stumbling block on the Geekbench 5.4 test, scoring only 4,693, which is short of the 4,751 premium laptop category average.  The ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Core i7-1185G7 CPU) reached 5,365. 

Video editing isn’t the selling point of this laptop, and for good reason. It took 17 minutes and 19 seconds for the Aero G8 to convert a 4K video to 1080p, The Latitude’s Core i17-1185G7 vPro processor was only slightly faster with a time of 17:16. Both times were slower than the 14:49 category average and nowhere near the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s 13:23.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Aero G8 had a transfer rate of 542.0 megabytes per second on our File Transfer test which is slower than the 681.2MBps category average. However, that result is better than either the Latitude (256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Class 40 SSD) or the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD) which reached 192.1MBps and 523.9MBps, respectively.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 graphics

While this is a laptop built for office professionals, a little bit of gaming should be allowed, as a treat. Right? Well, only being able to run Sid Meier’s Civilization VI at 21 frames per second means the answer to that question is a solid “kind of.” It’s somewhat better than the Latitude 7320’s 20 fps, but not the ThinkPad X1 Carbon’s 35 fps or the 30-fps premium laptop average. Certainly, the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics each of these notebooks are packing, but it will do in a pinch for light photo editing. 

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 battery life

For a laptop intended for business use, the battery life is a bit disappointing. That’s not to say that lasting 9 hours and 40 minutes under the pressure of continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits is unimpressive. However, when faced with similar laptops such as the Latitude 7320 (12:01) and the impressive ThinkPad X1 Gen 9 (15:39), the battery life of the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is a bit lackluster. Even the category average is longer at 10:22.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 webcam

The 720p webcam is pretty standard to most laptops at this point. With slightly diluted colors and low contrast, the grainy quality isn’t anything you would print out and frame. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

However, it’s functional for video calling, and it doesn't really need to be anything else. Though the physical shutter is a definite plus to give you some privacy during a call or just for that extra protection just in case you forgot your camera was on. If you want stellar image and video quality, check out the options on our best webcams page

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 heat

While we all know it’s difficult to keep your cool under pressure, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 shows no such concern and kept remarkably chill no matter what we threw at it. Even with 50 tabs open in Google Chrome, many of which were actively playing videos on YouTube, I could barely feel any difference in temperature on the surface of the laptop. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

While playing a 15-minute 1080p video the toastiest it got was 105 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom. It’s above our 95-degree comfort threshold, but wasn’t uncomfortable when I used the system in my lap over an extended period of time, The keyboard and touchpad barely warmed up at all at 96 and 83 degrees respectively.

HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 software and warranty

HP seems to have this bad habit of having a million different programs installed on their computers when it seems like they should be able to configure them all into a single program. In fact I counted 14 different HP-branded apps cluttering up the start menu. Stuff like HP Client Security Manager and HP Privacy Settings seem like they should be able to be a part of the same program, and HP Documentation literally just opens a new tab in your default browser. There is one called myHP that shows you your product and serial number on the home page, as well as a bunch of ads and relevant articles. It does have a “Featured Applications” tab that lists four HP programs that are also listed in the Start menu, which feels kind of redundant. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Aside from the unnecessary amount of HP programs, the EliteBook 840 Aero G8 also has your standard Windows 10 Home apps. This includes apps such as Groove Music, Microsoft Solitaire Collection, Skype, and the Xbox Game Bar. The Microsoft Office Suite was also pre-installed, though there's an option to include the pre-installations while configuring the build. 

There is also an Adobe Free Trials app that just opens up a page in the browser offering the option of a one month free membership to their Photography plan, Premiere Pro, Acrobat Pro, or… just all of the Creative Cloud apps. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The default warranty for the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is a 1-year limited warranty, though you can upgrade to a 3-year limited warranty for $75 more. See how HP fared on Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands, our annual special reports. 

Bottom line

The HP EliteBook Aero G8 offers a solid amount of performance and a load of security features in a compact lightweight package. The laptop’s Core i7 processor and integrated graphics can handle that heavy multitasking, plus it has a comfortable keyboard making it a prime work machine. And if you’re looking to rock out to some tunes in your downtime, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the speakers. 

However, for $2,882, I would expect a brighter display and longer battery life. For those things, you’ll want to consider the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (9th Gen) which is also cheaper at $1,965. But if you’re looking for a lightweight, handsome laptop that’s extra secure with good performance, the HP EliteBook Aero G8 is the way to go.