Editor's Note: We updated the score with an Editor's Choice award after testing the EliteBook x360's glossy display and finding it sharper than the anti-glare option.
The HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5 is a 2-in-1 business laptop with excellent features. For $2,349 (starting at $1,499), you get strong Core i7 performance, a tactile keyboard, solid speakers and good battery life all packed inside a sleek, military-tested aluminum chassis. It does, however, have a ton of bloatware and a frustratingly hazy display. But overall, the EliteBook x360 1040 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops for business users.
HP EliteBook x360 Price and Configuration Options
The EliteBook x360 1040 I tested costs $2,349 and comes with an Intel Core i7-8650U vPro processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, an Intel UHD 620 GPU and a 1080p display.
The base model runs for $1,499 and drops you to a Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. Meanwhile, the top-of-the-line model costs $5,679 and provides you with a Core i7-8550U, 32GB of RAM, 2TB SSD, LTE connectivity and a 4K display.
The x360 1040 has an aluminum build with a satin finish layered over its sleek silver design. Like other EliteBooks, it's accompanied by HP's slash logo and a two-toned upper lip. On the back, there are two three-edged hinges that are carved outward and between them is a neatly placed EliteBook logo.
The interior has HP's well-spaced keyboard with speaker vents on each side and a fingerprint reader just beneath it. The side bezels are incredibly slim, but the top one has some meat on it due to the IR webcam. When I folded this baby into tablet mode, the back of the lid actually magnetized to the underside, giving it a more clean and stable convertible design, compared with non-magnetic alternatives.
At 3 pounds and 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches, the EliteBook x360 is relatively light and slim for a 14-inch notebook. The Dell Latitude 7490 (3.5 pounds, 0.7 inches) is a little bigger, while the Huawei MateBook X Pro (2.9 pounds, 0.6 inches) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) (2.5 pounds, 0.6 inches) have a smaller footprint.
The EliteBook x360 has a healthy amount of ports.
The left side features one USB 3.1 port, a headphone jack, the power button and a security lock slot, while the right holds one USB 3.1 port, an HDMI 1.4 port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports and the volume rocker.
Security and Durability
Don't let the petite body fool you. The x360 1040 passed 12 MIL-STD-810G tests, so it can survive drops, vibrations, shock and temperature shock, high and low temperatures, dust, extreme altitudes, humidity, sand, an explosive atmosphere and an entire freezing and thawing process.
In regards to security, you get Intel vPro for remote management, an IR camera to access Windows Hello and a fingerprint reader. The laptop also comes with HP Sure Start, which is a self-healing BIOS, and HP Sure Run, which protects the security processes from malware. You can get a configuration with HP's Sure View, which is a privacy display that narrows viewing angles.
While the EliteBook x360's 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 panel produces great color and brightness, the display has a grainy-film effect caused by the anti-glare solution, which is concerning in a $2,000-plus laptop. Other manufacturers also make matte panels, but this one has me constantly fighting the urge to wipe what looks like a fingerprint-smudged screen. We also tested the glossy display, and it's a much needed improvement.
When Rafiki snapped the red root in the recent trailer for The Lion King, it created a cloud of crimson dust that was striking on the EliteBook x360's screen. The hairs on Simba's adorable head were somewhat fuzzy due to the filmy layer on the anti-glare display, but his fur was more pronouced on the glossy one. When an older Simba roars at the end of the trailer, the surrounding rocks were visible despite the lack of light.
Reproducing 120 percent of the sRGB spectrum with the anti-glare screen (128 percent on glossy), the EliteBook x360's display skids past the 117-percent premium laptop average and the Latitude 7490 (118 percent). However, the MateBook X Pro and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon did a little better, reaching 124 and 129 percent, respectively.
The EliteBook x360's panel averaged 340 nits of brightness (346 nits on glossy), beating the 328-nit category average, as well as the Latitude 7490 (277 nits) and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (293 nits). But it didn't come close to the MateBook X Pro's 458 nits.
Keyboard, Touchpad and Pen
HP's elegantly carved keyboard provides an immensely satisfying typing experience, as each key delivered solid tactile feedback. I only wish that the white backlighting were a little stronger.
The EliteBook's keys have only 1.4 millimeters of travel (we prefer 1.5 to 2.0mm), but the keyboard's 70 grams of actuation force more than make up for it. I sped through 73 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, beating my usual 66 wpm.
The EliteBook x360's HP Active Pen G2 has three programmable buttons and 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It felt good to hold, and it moved fluidly as I used it to design a mock-dungeon for my Dungeons & Dragons campaign. The pen is also magnetic, so it can attach to the left side of the chassis for safe-keeping, and it can be recharged via a USB Type-C port.
The 4.3 x 2.5-inch is smooth to the touch and offers a weighty click, which makes navigation feel so natural. Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing were effective.
These Bang & Olufsen top-firing speakers reproduced Blue October's "Into the Ocean" with zeal, as the sound blasted across our small lab. The opening vocals and soft guitar strums intertwined with solid amount of treble and bass. During the second verse, the drums lulled me into a trance with their rhythmic beat as they supported the vocals, but it was somewhat difficult to make out the bass guitar.
The Bang & Olufsen Audio software offers a full equalizer along with presets for Voice, Movies and Music.
On Geekbench 4.3, the EliteBook x360 scored 14,331 and surpassed our premium laptop average (13,145) along with the Core i7-8550U-powered MateBook X Pro (13,769) and the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (13,680). The Latitude 7490's Core i7-8650U nailed down a higher 15,500.
The EliteBook x360 sped through our Excel test (matching 65,000 names and addresses) in 1 minute and 22 seconds, which is slightly faster than the 1:31 category average. The Latitude 7490 (1:19) and ThinkPad X1 Carbon (1:11) did it faster, but the MateBook X Pro (1:49) was left behind.
Transcoding a 4K video to 1080p took 19 minutes and 1 second for EliteBook x360 1040, marking its victory over the premium laptop average (21:43), the Latitude 7490 (21:35) and the MateBook X Pro (27:18). Meanwhile, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon came out ahead of the EliteBook by one second.
Armed with a 512GB SSD, the EliteBook x360 copied 4.97GB of data in just 7 seconds, translating to 727 megabytes per second, which crushed the competition. The Latitude 7490 (256GB SSD; 299 MBps), MateBook X Pro (512GB SSD; 283 MBps), ThinkPad X1 Carbon (512GB SSD; 565 MBps) and even the average premium laptop (528 MBps) produced much lower scores.
The EliteBook x360's Intel UHD 620 GPU scored 88,501 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited synthetic graphics benchmark, sliding past the 88,375 premium laptop average. With the same GPU, the Latitude 7490 and ThinkPad X1 Carbon hit a lower 87,894 and 88,143, respectively. But the MateBook X Pro's discrete Nvidia GeForce MX150 soared past the competition with 116,359.
In real-world testing, the EliteBook x360 averaged 62 frames per second on the Dirt 3 racing game benchmark, which doesn't match the 76-fps category average. The Latitude 7490 (64 fps) and ThinkPad X1 Carbon (63 fps) didn't do much better. The MateBook X Pro, however, excelled with 117 fps.
The EliteBook x360 will get you through your workday and then some. After continuously surfing the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the battery lasted 8 hours and 59 minutes, which surpasses the 8:31 premium laptop average and the Latitude 7490 (8:55). However, the MateBook X Pro (9:55) and ThinkPad X1 Carbon (11:01) blew HP's laptop out of the water.
The test shots I took on the EliteBook x360's 1080p webcam didn't come out too grainy, as I could spot some detail in my beard.
But when I zoomed in, everything was soft and muddy. It picked up the thin turquoise lines on my flannel shirt, but the webcam blew out the ceiling lights and made the rest of the room darker than it should have been. Overall, it's not bad, but it's not good, either.
This baby is a stone-cold killer. We streamed a 15-minute HD video and the underside hit only 91 degrees, which is below our 95-degree comfort threshold. The center of the keyboard and touchpad measured 87 and 86 degrees, respectively. The hottest it got was 94 degrees on the lower-left underside.
Software and Warranty
HP placed a few of its branded utilities to help get you started. There's HP JumpStart (a tutorial for Windows 10), HP Sure Click (web browser security), HP PhoneWise (mobile device management), HP Recovery Manager (maintenance and recovery data), HP Support Assistant (updates HP device drivers) and HP ePrint SW (tracks printing status).
There is some Windows 10 bloatware, including Township, Cooking Fever and Candy Crush Saga.
This is one badass machine. HP's EliteBook x360 1040 G5 backs up its powerful specs and flexible design with a comfortable keyboard and solid audio paired with a long-lasting battery and excellent security features. What gives me pause is its inordinately hazy display.
If you want to save some money, you can get the MateBook X Pro for $1,499, which has a brighter display, longer battery life, better graphics and a slimmer profile. However, if you're after something more versatile, the EliteBook x360 is a great overall 2-in-1 business laptop.
Credit: Laptop Mag