The HP EliteBook 830 G5 (starting at $1,249; $2,256 as tested) is a sleek 13-inch business notebook that's good for productivity. Work's a breeze with its comfy keyboard and fast 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor in the model I tested. Unfortunately, it's a little heavy, and the touch-screen display is lackluster. Otherwise, the EliteBook 830 G5's above-average battery life and solid set of security and durability features make it worthy of consideration.
The silver aluminum HP EliteBook 820 G5 is an elegant machine, with small touches that differentiate it from most business notebooks. A groove in the middle of the front edges of the lid and deck enables easy one-handed opening, and its back edge tapers outward for a nice wedge design.
Weighing 3.4 pounds and measuring 0.7 inches thick, the 13-inch EliteBook 830 G5 is heavier than the 14-inch Huawei MateBook X Pro (2.9 pounds, 0.6 inches) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2.5 pounds, 0.6 inches). The 14-inch Dell Latitude 7490 (3.5 pounds, 0.7 inches) is similar in weight and thickness.
The EliteBook 830's Thunderbolt 3, Ethernet, HDMI and USB 3.0 ports are on its right side, next to the headphone jack, power jack and HP docking port. If you customize the laptop with cellular support, you'll see a SIM slot next to the headphone jack.
The second USB 3.0 port is on the left side, near the lock slot and optional smart Card reader.
Security and Durability
The HP EliteBook 830 G5 features a lot of security perks, but some cost extra. A TPM 2.0 security chip comes standard and protects important data, while Intel's vPro technology allows for remote management and is free, but it's available only on configs with supported CPUs (Core i5-7300U, Core i5-8350U and Core i7-8650U). You'll need to pay $12 extra for a fingerprint reader, though. HP's Sure View displays offer one-click privacy, making the screens opaque and white for anyone looking over your shoulder. The model I tested didn't include Sure View, but it's available on EliteBooks starting at $1,499.
In terms of durability, the EliteBook 830 G5 is built tough. The laptop passed 13 of the MIL-SPEC-810G tests, which are used to ensure durability for U.S. military equipment. Those tests include getting hit with dust from Arizona roads for 6 hours, exposure to up 8,000 volts of electrostatic discharge and operation in extreme temperatures (from minus 20 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). The Dell Latitude 7490 and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon passed similar tests, but the Huawei MateBook X Pro isn't tested at those standards.
A trailer for Ant-Man and the Wasp looked particularly dull on the HP EliteBook 830 G5, partly because the panel is super-reflective. The reds of Ghost's eyes didn't glow as strongly as I expected, and an SUV's gold trim looked more yellow than it should have.
According to our colorimeter, the EliteBook 830 G5 produces a low 72 percent of the sRGB spectrum, which falls below the 113-percent premium-notebook average. Higher ratings came from the Huawei MateBook X Pro (124 percent), the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (129 percent with a 1080p screen, 199 percent with a 2K screen) and the Dell Latitude 7490 (118 percent).
The EliteBook 830 G5 we tested isn't that bright, either; its screen maxes out at 218 nits of brightness, which is below the 305-nit category average. Higher ratings came from the MateBook X Pro (458 nits), the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (293 nits with a 1080p screen, 469 nits with a 2K screen) and the Latitude 7490 (277 nits).
If you opt for a nontouch screen, you save $68 and get a display that HP rates at 400 nits. Personally, I'd make that choice, as this muted display was clouded by light reflected off of its glossy screen, leading to poor visibility when viewed from 30 degrees or more to the left or right.
That touch screen, though, tracked my taps accurately as I navigated the desktop. It also recognized Windows 10's edge-swipe gestures and enabled smooth scrolling in TweetDeck.
Keyboard, Touchpad and Pointing Stick
Pardon the pun, but keyboards are a hot-button issue for me these days. And the HP EliteBook 820 G5 won a lot of points with me for its comfortable typing experience. When I tested out the keyboard on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I easily tied my 80-words-per-minute average. This is due in part to the keys' relatively deep 1.4 millimeters of vertical travel and 78 grams of required actuation force. (Both measurements fall near or within the 1.5 to 2 millimeters and 60 grams or more we look for.)
As I navigated the desktop, the EliteBook 830 G5's 3.9 x 2.1-inch touchpad tracked my input accurately. It also smoothly registered two-finger scrolling and Windows 10's three-finger navigation swipes, though the latter once required me to restart the computer.
Some users will be excited to know the EliteBook 830 G5 offers a pointing stick and a pair of physical mouse buttons. This concave nub tracks input accurately and allows you to keep your fingers on the home row of keys so you don't need to move them down to the touchpad. Yes, that may sound strange, but some people live and die by whether a laptop has a nub.
The Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers in the HP EliteBook 830 G5 provided quality audio, filling a medium-size conference room. When listening to Pusha T's "The Story of Adidon," I heard the rapper's brutal vocals come through clearly, while the track's sample of Nina Simone's "Four Women" was reproduced accurately. As I blasted Grandtheft & Keys N Krates' track "Keep It 100," the thump of the instrumental track demonstrated that the laptop handles bass well. The Huawei MateBook X Pro and the Dell Latitude 7490 also produced great sound, while we thought the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon's audio was "tinny."
You can ignore the included Bang & Olufsen audio presets app, as the two decent settings Music (the default) and Movies sound nearly indistinguishable. Voice, the third option, flattens background sounds and could ostensibly be used to try hearing someone who mumbles too much.
The HP EliteBook 830 G5 I tested, which packs an Intel Core i7-8650U processor with 8GB of RAM, provides enough speed for solid multitasking. I saw no stutter or lag after splitting my screen between a dozen Chrome tabs, including Slack, Giphy, Google Docs and a 1080p YouTube video.
The EliteBook 830 G5 notched a high 15,169 on the Geekbench 4 general performance benchmark, which beats the 10,586 premium-notebook average, the 12,913 from the Huawei MateBook X Pro (Core i7-8550U with 16GB of RAM) and the 13,680 from the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Core i7-8550U with 16GB of RAM). The Dell Latitude 7490 (Core i7-8650U with 8GB of RAM) came close to the EliteBook, with a score of 14,458.
The 512GB PCIe NVMe Self Encrypted OPAL2 TLC SSD in our EliteBook 830 G5 duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 11 seconds, for a speedy rate of 463 MBps. That's much faster than the 289-MBps category average, as well as the 283 MBps from the MateBook X Pro (512GB NVMe PCIe SSD), the 509 MBps from the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (512GB NVMe PCIe SSD) and the 299 MBps from the Latitude 7490 (256GB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD).
The EliteBook 820 G5 finished our Excel VLookup test (matching 60,000 names to addresses) in 1 minute and 21 seconds, which is better than the 1:36 category average and the 1:49 from the MateBook X Pro. The Latitude 7490 (1:19) took about as long, while the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (1:04) posted a faster time.
The EliteBook 830 G5 converted a 4K video to 1080p in HandBrake in 16 minutes and 19 seconds, which beats the 22:12 category average. The MateBook X Pro (27:18), ThinkPad X1 Carbon (19:00) and Latitude 7490 (21:35) all took more time.
Armed with just its integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 chip, the EliteBook earned a middling score of 70,914, which is less than the 85,178 category average. The MateBook X Pro (Nvidia MX150 with 2GB of memory) earned 116,359, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (Intel UHD 620) notched 88,143 and the Dell Latitude 7490 (Intel UHD 620) got 87,894 -- all higher than the EliteBook's score.
The EliteBook ran the Dirt 3 racing game (set at medium graphics at 1080p) at a smooth 60 frames per second. However, the premium-notebook average is a higher 71 fps, and we saw faster rates from the MateBook X Pro (117 fps), the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (63 fps) and the Latitude 7490 (64 fps).
The HP EliteBook 830 G5 offers solid battery life. It lasted 8 hours and 20 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (web surfing at 150 nits). That's 2 minutes longer than the 8:18 premium-notebook average. Longer times came from the Huawei MateBook X Pro (9:55), the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (10:28 with a 2K, HDR screen; 11:01 with a 1080p screen) and the Dell Latitude 7490 (8:55).
The 0.9-megapixel webcam in the HP EliteBook 830 G5 is another just barely decent integrated camera in a long line of webcams I've tested over the years. Yes, the selfie I shot with the camera shows some correct hues in my face and shirt, but natural light from outside is so blown out, it looks like a nuclear bomb was detonated nearby. Sure, it's good enough for teleconferencing, which is what you'll use it for, but it's sad how predictably poor this sensor is.
The HP EliteBook 830 G5 gets warm, but at acceptable levels. After we streamed HD video on the machine for 15 minutes, our heat gun captured readings of 97 and 98.5 degrees Fahrenheit on its keyboard and underside, respectively, which slightly breach our 95-degree comfort threshold. The mousepad registered a cool 87 degrees.
Heating issues are pretty common with the competition: The bottoms of the Huawei MateBook X Pro (103 degrees), Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (104 degrees) and Dell Latitude 7490 (between 98.5 and 107 degrees) got pretty hot, and the MateBook's keyboard registered 101 degrees.
One of my favorite parts of business notebooks such as the HP EliteBook 830 G5 is how they often feature minimal bloatware. For example, the EliteBook's preloaded apps are proprietary titles that are mostly useful. These include HP PhoneWise, which syncs texts and calls between PCs and smartphones. Android users will get a nearly seamless experience, whereas iPhone users will need to keep their device unlocked with the PhoneWise app open.
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Then, there's HP WorkWise, which helps the EliteBook fit into modern offices, effortlessly connecting to printers and more. HP JumpStart helps newcomers get to know their device and its capabilities.
I tested a $2,240 configuration of the HP EliteBook 830 G5 with a Core i7-8650U CPU, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage and a 1920 x 1080-pixel touch-screen display. This model is nearly ideal for me, but I would have swapped out the touch screen for the nontouch display that's $68 less and far brighter.
The EliteBook 830 G5 starts at $1,249, but that model has an outdated 7th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of storage and a 256GB SSD. Its screen is also rated at a relatively low 220 nits of brightness.
If you constantly fear someone will steal your data (or invade your privacy) by looking over your shoulder, consider getting a model featuring HP's Sure View technology. With a single click, it makes the screen look opaque to anyone looking from the side or above. Models of the EliteBook 830 G5 with Sure View start at $1,499, and come with an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of memory and 256GB of SSD storage.
The HP EliteBook 830 G5's speed and comfortable typing experience make it a fantastic machine for getting things done. One downside, however, is that, despite its e sweet sound, the reflective, mediocre display is frustrating for streaming movies or TV.
If you want a brighter, more colorful display, save $741 and get the $1,499 Huawei MateBook X Pro, but know that it's not tested for ruggedness and doesn't offer HDMI or Ethernet ports. Another option, the $2,084 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, packs a fantastic screen and more than 2 hours of extra battery life, but its audio quality left us wanting more. If you're looking to maximize privacy, though, a Sure View-based HP EliteBook 830 G5 is definitely worth consideration.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Laptop Mag