REVIEW: HP Elitebook x360 1040 G7
An 'elite' choice for long-lasting performance
Well hello, HP. Been a while.
Amidst these interesting times, people have resorted to staying indoors to get their work done, and many have decided to invest on higher-end laptops that are more reliable. And HP has been actively working to help us out on that front.
We have one of their latest machines — the Elitebook x360 1040 G7 — that quite fits that bill. It's a business, productivity-focused 2-in-1 laptop that combines power and performance for those who need it. Sounds intimidating? Let's roll.
TALE OF THE TAPE
This is one stacked machine, with lots of options too. HP's going big with this one. FYI, we have the 10710U — which has six cores and is the second-best on the list — and 16GB/500GB variant for this run.
HP's got some brilliant and sturdy 2-in-1s in its stable, and this newest one is no exception, not just in terms of functionality but also the way it's built. It's sleek. Period.
Its chassis screams silver and aluminium all over, with its rear corners having chopped-off polygonal edges that looks kinda cool (it gets boring when it's rounded or just straight-up straight). And there's one more reason why a silver-aluminium combo works really well: It's able to disguise smudges and fingerprints, and easily wiped off as well — even with your own fingers (the irony).
The 14-inch screen is surrounded by fairly-slim side bezels, going thicker above and below. That setup gives you a rather panoramic view, which is a refreshing sight if you'd ask us. HP lists its maximum brightness at 1000 nits, but even at that level you really won't feel any pressure to your eyes.
Its keyboard is spill-resistant and has HP's DuraKeys tech, which they say makes it 50 times more resistant to wear. Your right ring finger and pinky, however, could get a bit confused since the scroll keys (home, page up, page down and end) are on the extreme right, especially if you're used to reaching far to that area for the enter and delete keys.
And right between the left alt and control keys is a fingerprint scanner, one of two Windows Hello biometric unlocking options on this Elitebook, the other one, of course, being facial recognition. Funny, though, that the fingerprint scanner key depresses (not that depress; we mean it goes down when you push it), which makes no sense at all. We're also glad that the power button is now among the keys, not on the side where you'd time and again play a guessing game where it is.
Also: There's a key to toggle the HP Sure Shutter (right beside the power key), which covers up the camera to make sure your privacy is safe. That means you don't have to cover it up with tape or something.
It's blessed with a good number of ports: Two USB-Cs that support Thunderbolt and DisplayPort, a couple of USB 3.1s, HDMI, 3.5mm audio, one for a Kensington lock and a nano SIM card slot. Curiously, there isn't a provision for an SD card, which could've easily been integrated into its frame.
It has four speakers for your listening pleasure, two on either side of the keyboard and a couple more on the base. These Bang & Olufsen-powered audio chambers do well; they pack a punch, aren't annoying to your ears and enhances your experience with surround sound. However, if you're using tent mode, those on the keyboard will obviously be facing back; while sound quality would remain the same, the volume of the sound coming out will be lessened to a certain extent — but on the bright side, it turns it into what we call 'mellow mode' (I almost fell asleep with Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence 'blasting' through). That's what headsets are for — unless you'd want to listen to music with the keyboard facing you, turning this Elitebook into one really expensive speaker.
Running down through all the spec options of this machine, we really can't say there's a bad configuration for this. For this particular set piece, we dealt with no issues at all on a pound-for-pound basis, as we were able to glide through apps with ease.
HP says the cooling fans on this Elitebook have been reduced in size, which is the reason why it doesn't make as much noise as previous HPs we've seen or other laptops in its class for that matter. However, depending on how your auditory nerves take it, the fans can still be borderline noisy. At least it does a good job of preventing heating; a number of times we've temp-checked this and we really didn't feel the heat, so to speak. Gaming wasn't really heavily promoted on this laptop, but it still does hold up well.
And there's also a reason why it's an x360: This Elitebook's display swivels all the way around to transform it into a tablet. This 2-in-1 form factor has been a key focus of HP and with good reason because it provides flexible productivity for its users. It can serve as a very good presentation medium in tablet or tent mode, with one very useful tool at your disposal: The HP Active Pen G3.
Aside from the scribbles and mark-ups you'll be able to do with it, that turns machine into one for the creative minds as well. The G3 is the best by far in the Active Pen line; enthusiasts in sketching, for example, will find this an efficient tool to bring their thoughts to life. The Active Pen, however, can only be charged via USB-C; 30 minutes of powering it up gives you about seven days with 'normal' use.
One more neat feature: This Elitebook comes with a time-of-flight sensor, bundling in with HP's Presence Aware. This basically controls your display's on/off function, depending on where you are: If it detects you're not in front of the laptop for a certain period of time; once it detects you're nearby, it comes back to life, and if you have Windows Hello activated, it unlocks automatically without having to touch it. Keep in mind, however, that if it's activated, it supersedes the time-out figures you've set in display settings.
Now here's another department where this Elitebook really excels.
In our standard one-hour YouTube-at-full-brightness test and at the best performance level, it only lost an impressive nine per cent; that translates to about almost a dozen hours of non-stop video — and even higher if you weren't using a Web connection that saps out more energy.
The varying specs and in-machine configurations (battery performance level, brightness, etc) for this laptop will determine how long-lasting it'll be. And we've also been hearing tests that resulted in up to a ridiculous 20 hours of video life on this bad boy.
All these result in an average daily battery life of about 10 hours from our run, meaning it wobbled between nine on a busy day and almost 11 on lean periods; we threw in lots of streaming videos at one point and it conked out at a little over eight.
Meanwhile, charging it is, as usual, a bit of a drag: It comes with a 65W power adapter, which translated into not even halfway (47 per cent) in an hour, and at 88 per cent in two. We performed this charge while it was on aeroplane mode and on medium-level battery performance and Presence Aware activated (it only lit up when we checked on it every 15 minutes).
The HP Elitebook x360 1040 G7 is a powerful business laptop, and it comes as no surprise, given that HP has always positioned its high-end machines as a viable, sturdy choice for those seeking performance and reliability, with worthy opponents such as those from Lenovo and Dell as its primary competitors.
With that said, it's also (high) up there in price. But that's understandable since its target audience is the type that needs long-lasting — both in performance and longevity — and proven track performance.
Given it's powered by 10th-generation Intel Core processors, it's interesting, theoretically, how much more performance and energy-efficient it can offer it 11th-generation chips were used (we're pretty sure we'll find out soon).
GOODIES: Excellent battery, secure camera/ToF feature, great audio, comes with LTE
GOOFIES: Expensive, no SD card reader, fan noise
EDITOR RATING: If you're going to spend anyway, go for it. 4.5/5
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