HP EliteBook 1040 G4 Review

HP’s 14-inch EliteBook 1040 G4 is a solid business notebook that’s as good for play as it is for work. That’s because its bright, vibrant display offers great picture quality, and its Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers produce solid sound. The high-powered, quad-core model offers a ton of speed, while the dual-core (Intel U-Series) model lasts over 10 hours on a charge, but neither is fantastic for typing. Still, there’s a lot to love about this laptop, especially if you will take advantage of its excellent audio.
Design

When closed, the aluminum EliteBook 1040 G4 looks like a sleek pair of silver wedges sitting on top of each other. Its matte lid and deck look somewhat standard, but its shiny, reflective edges stand out.

Weighing 3.4 pounds and measuring 13 x 9.2 x 0.6 inches, the EliteBook 1040 G4 is lighter and thinner than the 14-inch Lenovo ThinkPad 25 (3.6 pounds, 13.25 x 9.15 x 0.8 inches) and heavier than the 13-inch Dell Latitude 7380 (2.8 pounds, 12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches).

The EliteBook splits its dual Type-A USB 3 ports between its left and right sides, and both of its power-drawing USB Type-C (3.1) ports are on the right side, next to its HDMI 1.4 port. The left side also has a laptop lock slot and a headphone jack.

Display

The EliteBook 1040’s 14-inch display offers crisp, vivid images. As I watched the teaser trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, I admired how it nailed the difficult-to-display purple of Thanos’ body, his gold armor and the blue glow from Black Panther’s spear. The 1920 x 1080-pixel panel is also crisp enough to show the intricate glowing patterns that emanated from Doctor Strange’s hands.

According to our colorimeter, the two EliteBook 1040 models we tested produced an average of 113 percent of the sRGB color gamut. . That beats the 101-percent average for thin-and-light notebooks and the 77-percent score from the Lenovo ThinkPad 25, but it’s less than the 144 percent we saw from the Dell Latitude 7380.

The two EliteBook 1040 models we tested emitted 278 and 292 nits (for the 7820HQ and 7500U models, respectively) of brightness. Those marks soar above what we recorded for the Latitude 7380 (267 nits) and the ThinkPad 25 (221 nits), as well as the 253-nit category average. That’s bright enough for a solid range of viewing angles, as I saw Doctor Strange’s red cape stay strong at 30 degrees to the left and right.

The touch-screen display on the EliteBook offers speedy input recognition, doing a fantastic job of keeping up as I rapidly doodled in Paint. The screen’s right and left sides correctly registered Windows 10’s gestures for navigating windows and opening side menus.

The touch screen is a $133 upgrade, and HP also offers an optional 4K (3840 x 2160-pixel) display for $145, a 4K touch screen for $287 and a Sure View privacy screen for $53.. Sure View, HP’s technology that makes it harder for people to read over your shoulder, isn’t available for either 4K display.
Security and Durability

The EliteBook 1040 G4 has several ways to keep your data secure. In addition to HP’s optional Sure View privacy screens, which can help prevent someone from stealing intellectual property from you by peeping at your screen, the EliteBook 1040 packs HP’s Sure Start technology, which automatically repairs your laptop’s BIOS (the root-level infrastructure of your system) in case of attack.

While every EliteBook 1040 G4 features an IR webcam for Windows Hello-protected logins, only certain models (those with Intel’s Core i5-7300U, Core i7-7600U and Core i7-7820HQ CPUs) include Intel’s vPro security technology for remote management by IT professionals. Fingerprint scanning and smart-card reading are notably missing; the former feature is optional for the Dell Latitude 7380, while both features are in the Lenovo ThinkPad 25.

HP promises that this EliteBook is durable. To ensure this, the notebook passed MIL-SPEC-810G testing — the rigors that U.S. military gear must pass — which HP says will keep it safe from “drops and minor spills.”

Keyboard and Touchpad

The EliteBook’s keyboard delivered a mixed typing experience. Testing out the EliteBook 1040’s keyboard on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I hit a rate of 73 words per minute, a small drop from my 80-wpm average. The keys felt OK, with 1.4 millimeters of travel and 68 grams of required actuation force. (We look for around 1.5 mm and at least 60 grams.)

Annoyingly, the keyboard deck on the Core-i7 7820HQ model we tested had a sharp front edge, which distracted multiple Laptop Mag staffers during testing, leading one colleague to describe it as “cutting into his wrists.” This oddity wasn’t present in the Core i7-7500U model.

In contrast to these EliteBook keyboards, which we found to be somewhere between OK and frustrating, both the Lenovo ThinkPad 25 and the Dell Latitude 7380 pack amazingly comfortable keyboards, with the former also offering Lenovo’s TrackPoint nub.

The 4.3 x 2.5 touchpads on the EliteBooks tracked my input accurately as I navigated the desktop. It also correctly registered the navigational gestures in Windows 10 and web-page scrolling in Chrome.

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