The HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is a business-focused Windows 10 PC that nails the essentials, serving up a comfortable typing experience in a light, readily portable package. It’s also readily customizeable, with a configurator that will let you design a machine to suit your needs — provided you’re willing to shoulder the cost. And what a cost it is: the variant I reviewed comes in about $2,900, as configured. A slew of hardware- and software-based security features might help some justify the cost, and timing your purchase to a sale might make the package a bit more palatable, but the premium pricing is out of sync with the machine’s value proposition.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Price and configuration options
HP’s configurator provides a dizzying array of options for the EliteBook 840 Aero G8, with models starting at $2,132 at time of writing. Each model offers something a little different; some offer a touchscreen, more or less RAM and storage, or extras like HP’s SureView privacy screen, which we saw (and appreciated) on the HP Elite Dragonfly Max. The model I reviewed comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU, paired with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD for storage, and costs approximately $2,988, at time of writing.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Design
The HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 is simple, perhaps even a little dull. The Bang & Olufsen speaker grille flanking the keyboard is the only aesthetic flourish on a package that’s otherwise built for work and little else. But that’s okay, as the machine delivers where it counts.
It’s light and thin — not exceptionally so in any regard, but enough to toss into a bag without concern. The chassis is appreciably sturdy, demonstrating very little flex as I attempt to bend and twist it. The machine feels designed to stay out of the way, letting the user focus on what they’re doing, and not what they’re using.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Ports
The EliteBook offers two USB-A ports (one suitable for charging), a 3.5mm audio/headphone jack, a Kensignton security lock, and an HP SmartCard reader on the left.
On the right, you’ll find a pair of Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, a full-sized HDMI 2.0 port, a DC-in jack, and a nano-SIM slot.
In an ideal world, HP would’ve scrapped the DC-in port and gone all-in on USB-C charging, and put one USB-C port on either side, for convenience’s sake. The SmartCard reader and nano-SIM slots are likely to be a boon for the right corporate environments, and a nod to how flexible you can get with HP’s configurator.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Display
This unit I reviewed lacks a touchscreen, which is surprising in this era of all-touch-everything. You can opt for a touchscreen over at HP’s configurator, albeit at the cost of brightness — 250-nits, versus the reported 400 nits of brightness this model offers. All variants are limited to a 1080P resolution, a jarring transition when sat alongside every other device I own.
That said, the display is a strong one, serving up accurate colors, and an average of 438 nits of brightness in our testing. The screen is readily visible at all but the most extreme angles, and easy to use outdoors, so long as it isn’t in direct sunlight.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Keyboard and Touchpad
The EliteBook’s input offerings are solid. The keyboard is comfortable, with spacious, quiet keys that serve up a fair amount of travel with each keystroke. The keys are evenly spaced, and all but the arrow keys are full-sized, making for an error-free typing experience.
The trackpad is smooth and responsive, readily registering all of Windows 10’s touch gestures, and handling palm rejection well. There’s also a pointer nub sat in the middle of the keyboard. It works, but it’s a peripheral I’ve never quite mastered — fortunately it’s also unobtrusive, so I just ignored it.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Audio
The Bang and Olufsen speakers are a pleasant surprise. I’ll confess I’m not entirely sure where strong audio quality fits into the business-ready profile HP is pitching (crystal-clear conference calls?), but they’re loud and clear, easily filling a room with sound and delivering an appereciable amount of range, especially when you’re sitting right in front of the machine. HP’s Audio Control software offers a few generic presets and an equalizer so you can tune things to your liking, though it’s a shame that the keyboard offers no dedicated media controls (outside of controlling the volume levels).
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Performance
While the EliteBook’s synthetic benchmark results aren’t inspiring, the machine is appropriately equipped to get things done. The Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor is paired with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD. This loadout earned a score of 4,693 on GeekBench 5.4’s Multicore performance test, lagging behind units like Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 (4,829), or Dell’s XPS 13 OLED (5,420).
I never saw a hiccup while going about the work day, browsing and writing while streaming music or video. The SSD earned an average transfer rate of 542.92 MBps on our 25GB media duplication test, again lagging behind the Surface Laptop 4 (562 MBps) or the XPS 13 OLED (742 MBps). It took an average of 17 minutes and 19 seconds to trasncode a 4K video to 1080p on our Handbrake test, edging out the XPS 13 OLED (18 minutes and 12 seconds), but falling behind the Surface Laptop 4 (17 minutes).
There’s some good news for managers, though: gaming isn’t really an option. The EliteBook saw an average of about 21.3 frames per second playing Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm at 1080p. If you’ve got a library full of classic PC games you’ll be alright, but when the working day was done you’ll want to set this machine aside and pick up something with a bit more oomph.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Battery Life
The EliteBook 840 chugged along for 9 hours and 40 minutes on our automated battery test. That’s not bad — enough to get through the working day without reaching for a cord. And while the EliteBook comes equipped with a DC-in jack, it can also be charged by USB-C and USB-A. The flexibility is a great bonus, espcially for a machine that’s easy to toss into a bag, but you will see a little nagging notification whenever you’re not using an official HP charger. All that said, the competition has it beat: Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 saw 10 hours and 46 minutes on our tests, while the non-OLED variant of Dell’s XPS 13 lasted for 11 hours and 7 minutes.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Webcam
The EliteBook’s 720p webcam will get you through a web conference in a pinch, but the faded, grainy visuals aren’t very suitable for video calls.
The webcam offers IR functionality to support Windows Hello’s biometric logins, and there’s also a privacy shutter to block the camera when you’re not using it; another nod to the security concious. The IR functionally works well enough, but I prefer using the fingerprint sensor anyway, so I generally just left the webcam shuttered.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Heat
The machine gets a bit warm under duress, peaking at 104.5 degrees Farenheit in our testing. These occasions were far and few between in my own testing — I felt a bit of warmth and could hear the fans kicking to life when Windows 10 needed to perform major updates, but I generally wasn’t concerned with temperature or fan noise during day to day usage.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Software
After a few days of whack-a-mole I managed to get ahead of the nigh-endless barrage of pop-ups from HP software, demanding to be configured or registered. A business with stringent requirements will appreciate the bevy of tools designed to keep a user from getting into trouble during the workday, with a slew of tools for securely locking and wiping the device, HP’s Wolf Security to stay abreast of threats, HP’s SureClick Chromium-based browser, and plenty more besides. But I tend to find anything on a machine that I haven’t installed myself to be an affront.
There are, as ever, a few standouts. Tile’s device finding technology is built-in, a boon to folks who need something more comprehensive that Windows’ built-in device finding technology, or are already enmeshed in the Tile ecosystem.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 review: Verdict
There’s nothing explicitly wrong with the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8. It’s a perfectly capable machine for the right buyer, especially if you need HP SmartCard support, robust security offerings with HP’s backing, or the mobility that a nano-SIM port could provide. If an IT administrator dropped this at my desk as my company-mandated machine, I’d acknowledge that I could do much worse, and get to work. But the pricing — no matter how you’ve tweaked the configurations — doesn’t line up with what the machine is capable of, and there are too many other options on the market, if you’re willing to be more judicious with securing your machine. Dell is doing fantastic work: consider the Dell XPS 15 and Dell XPS 13 OLED, which make their own compromises, but offer a stronger package overall.