Does the HP EliteBook 840 Aero make compromises to be so light?
The HP EliteBook 840 Aero is an impressive business laptop. Starting at just 2.5lbs, it’s an incredibly light machine, but still just as customizable as you’d expect a business laptop to be. You can get it with some very impressive specs, but as we know, it’s impossible to have the perfect laptop without some compromises, and the HP EliteBook 840 Aero is no exception.
Let’s be clear, this is an excellent laptop. You get to choose from four Intel processors, up to an Intel Core i7-1185G7 with vPro technology. Intel vPro includes some performance and security enhancements for business users, which you’d expect in a business laptop. You can also get it with a whopping 64GB of RAM, or you can buy it with less RAM and upgrade it yourself. And for storage, you get up to a 2TB SSD. Those are all very high-end configurations.
Not only that, you can add a lot of extras to this laptop. You can get a privacy screen that makes the display contents invisible to people around you, you can add a fingerprint reader, Smartcard reader, and NFC. Perhaps most notably, you can also add cellular support, be it 4G LTE or 5G. Plus, some convenience features are included by default, like the IR camera for Windows Hello authentication and a backlit keyboard. You also get a healthy selection of ports, with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A, HDMI, and a headphone jack.
What are the compromises of the HP EliteBook 840 Aero?
Despite all the great things on offer here, there are still some compromises to be made with the EliteBook 840 Aero. First off, let’s get back to those ports. You get two Thunderbolt 4 ports capable of charging the laptop, but you still also get a barrel charging port, instead of using that space for another USB port. You have to pay an extra $8 to get a USB Type-C charger in the box too. All of these charging ports are on the same side of the laptop, so if you’re trying to create a setup with external displays, you need to take that into account. Still, the HP EliteBook offers a really solid selection of ports out of the box, so this isn’t a huge compromise.
Another notable sacrifice is the display. You get configuration options like a touchscreen or a privacy screen, but you can’t have both at the same time. Also, if you get a touchscreen, you can’t get 5G, for example. But the biggest flaw of this display is it’s just Full HD, and you get no option to upgrade. There’s no Quad HD, 4K, anything like that. That might be sharp enough for most people, but many laptops offer the option to upgrade, even cheaper ones.
In addition to that, this is a 16:9 display, whereas many business laptops have started leaning towards 16:10 or 3:2 aspect ratios. Those are great for productivity, and HP even has a 16:10 display in the Pavilion Aero, a consumer laptop. It’s surprising it’s absent here, and to add insult to injury, the base configuration of this laptop only has 250 nits of brightness. If you want to use this laptop outdoors, it’s going to be hard to see unless you pay about $92 to upgrade to a 400 nit panel.
It’s also unfortunate that in the age of working from home, HP chose to use a 720p camera with no option to upgrade. You get an IR camera for Windows Hello by default, which is definitely welcome, but a 1080p webcam would have been great. The Lenovo ThinkPad T14s offers that option, for instance.
There’s also a couple of trade-offs with the design. This laptop is made of a magnesium alloy, which can sometimes feel less premium than aluminum. This is pretty much a requirement if you want to have a lightweight laptop, and it’s up to you if it feels good or not. Another compromise is you can only get the HP EliteBook 840 Aero in silver. There are no other color options, and the only one available is extremely boring, even if it’s the most classic.
It’s also worth pointing out this isn’t a cheap laptop. It’s not too bad compared to other business laptops with similar designs, but without any discounts, you’ll have to pay $2,040 for an Intel Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. It’s a little steep, but again, that’s not uncommon with premium business laptops.
Despite all of its compromises though, the HP EliteBook Aero is a fantastic business laptop, being incredibly light and still highly customizable. The high price tag may be off-putting to some, but if you’re a business user who needs business features, it’s probably worth it for you. If you’re interested, you can configure and buy your own using the link below. But if you’re not convinced, you check out some other great laptops HP offers.