Notebookcheck

HP EliteBook 745 G2 Notebook Review

Sascha Mölck (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 09/17/2014

Kaveri for business. A price of approximately 900 Euros (~$1166) should make HP's newest 14-inch business laptop appealing. The company ships a slim, elegant casing fused with multiple business features and good input devices for this price. The laptop is powered by a new Kaveri APU from AMD. Unfortunately, the screen is again one of the biggest shortcomings, like in many other laptops.

For the original German review, see here.

The EliteBook 745 features the same build as the EliteBook 840. The third device in this lineup is HP's ZBook 14. It also uses the EliteBook's casing but with a different color scheme. The ZBook sports an AMD FirePro M4100 GPU and is aimed at a different target group than the EliteBook.

The two EliteBook lines differ inside. While Intel CPUs are use in the 840 line, APUs from AMD's A-Series (Kaveri) are installed in the 745 line. The AMD-based models are all a bit less expensive than the Intel versions. However, the difference is not massive. Our report reveals whether AMD's new Kaveri APU is convincing and if it can compete against the Intel contenders.

Rivals of the EliteBook are all premium range business lines from other manufacturers, such as Lenovo's ThinkPad T440 or Fujitsu's Lifebook E744. The versions of these two lines that we tested are considerably more expensive than the EliteBook. However, both lines also offer configurations that are on the same price level as HP's laptop.

Since the EliteBook 745 build is identical with the EliteBook 840, we will not go into detail about casing, connectivity, input devices or speakers - unless there are differences. Further information can be found in the review of the EliteBook 840.

Input Devices & Maintenance

Keyboard

The EliteBook 745 basically features the same keyboard as the EliteBook 840. However, the 745 lacks the keyboard backlight that is available in the 840.

Maintenance

Minor differences between the EliteBook 745 and EliteBook 840 are found inside. The 745 does not have the SSD slot of the 840. However, a slot for a 3G / 4G modem (M.2 format) is present. The SIM card slot is underneath the battery.

The EliteBook 745's innards
The EliteBook 745's innards
There is no SSD slot
There is no SSD slot

Display

EliteBook 745 vs. sRGB
EliteBook 745 vs. sRGB
EliteBook 745 vs. AdobeRGB
EliteBook 745 vs. AdobeRGB

Our review sample sports a matte, 14-inch screen with a native resolution of 1366x768 pixels. The EliteBook is also available with an HD+ screen (1600x900 pixels). According to the hardware guide, the EliteBook is also available with a Full HD screen. However, we did not find any correspondingly equipped models. The HD screen's rates are not at all impressive. The brightness (201.8 cd/m²) and contrast (289:1) are far below average. Such a screen is at most acceptable in a laptop from the low-budget sector, but not in a 900 Euros (~$1166) EliteBook. We would have expected a minimum of at least 250 cd/m² and a contrast of beyond 500:1.

219
cd/m²
211
cd/m²
208
cd/m²
213
cd/m²
208
cd/m²
207
cd/m²
187
cd/m²
167
cd/m²
196
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 219 cd/m² Average: 201.8 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 76 %
Center on Battery: 208 cd/m²
Contrast: 289:1 (Black: 0.72 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 12.51 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 13.57 | - Ø
35% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.15
HP Elitebook 745 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
Screen
23%
10%
3%
Brightness202280
39%
268
33%
265
31%
Brightness Distribution7687
14%
86
13%
89
17%
Black Level *0.720.69
4%
0.918
-28%
1.15
-60%
Contrast289406
40%
320
11%
230
-20%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *12.519.41
25%
10.9
13%
9.66
23%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *13.5710.19
25%
11.88
12%
10.37
24%
Gamma *2.152.492.372.67
CCT15339 42%12671 51%15518 42%11804 55%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)3540
14%
40
14%
38
9%

* ... smaller is better

The screen's color reproduction neither justifies the laptop's purchase price nor the expectations placed on an EliteBook. The screen's average DeltaE 2000 shift is 12.51. Most screens that we have assessed achieve this high rate - particularly those from the low-budget sector. A DeltaE 2000 shift of less than 3 would be desirable. Furthermore, the screen exhibits a distinct bluish cast. Users who can calibrate the screen should do that. After we calibrated the screen, the average DeltaE 2000 shift dropped to a rate of 4.16. The bluish cast was eliminated. The screen cannot reproduce either the AdobeRGB or the sRGB color spaces. The coverage rates are 34.9% (AdobeRGB) and 50.3% (sRGB).

CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN - ColorChecker (calibrated)
CalMAN - Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN - Grayscale (calibrated)
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps (calibrated)

The EliteBook cannot offer stable viewing angles. The image distorts quickly in particular when the vertical viewing angle is altered. It looks better horizontally, and even several people can view the screen at the same time. Owing to its matte surface, the EliteBook can be used outdoors. However, overly bright surroundings should be avoided due to the screen's relatively low brightness and its low contrast.

The EliteBook outdoors.
The EliteBook outdoors.
Viewing angles: EliteBook 745
Viewing angles: EliteBook 745

Performance

HP's EliteBook 745 G2 is primarily aimed at corporate customers. It provides common business features like TPM, a docking port, and WWAN (optional). Our review sample is sold for approximately 900 Euros (~$1166). Other configurations are also available. The identically built EliteBook 840 line based on Intel CPUs would also be an alternative.

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
HWInfo
GPU-Z
System information: HP EliteBook 745 G2

Processor

An APU from AMD is installed in the EliteBook. It is based on AMD's new Kaveri architecture and is dubbed A10 Pro-7350B. The "Pro" in the name indicates that the APU is primarily aimed at business customers. AMD guaranties its high stability and durability. The CPU part of the APU is a quad-core processor that clocks with a base speed of 2.1 GHz. Its speed can be accelerated up to 3.3 GHz via Turbo. The APU's TDP of 19 watts is slightly higher than Intel's ULV processors of the Haswell generation (15 watts). More information, analyses, and benchmarks can be found in our analysis article about AMD's Kaveri APUs.

We could not retrieve the processor's full computing performance. The processor performed the single-thread tests of the Cinebench benchmark with 2.5 to 2.8 GHz. The CPU operated with 1.9 to 2.5 GHz in the multi-thread tests. Both mannerisms were observed in AC and battery modes.

When the multi-thread scores are projected to the CPU's maximum possible computing speed, Cinebench R11.5 should achieve scores ranging from 2.4 to 2.5, for example. AMD's quad-core processor would then be on par with an Intel processor such as the Core i5-4200U. The single-thread performance would still lag behind considerably. The EliteBook's available performance is, however, on the level of a Core i3-4010U processor in total.

Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.68 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
1.83 Points
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
17.22 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
49 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
162 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
20.3 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Elitebook 745 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
0.68 Points ∼0%
HP Probook 645 G1
Radeon HD 8450G, A6-5350M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
0.87 Points ∼0% +28%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
1.24 Points ∼0% +82%
HP ProBook 640 G1 H5G66ET
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
1.35 Points ∼0% +99%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.36 Points ∼0% +100%
Dell Latitude E6440
Radeon HD 8690M, 4300M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.39 Points ∼0% +104%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
1.4 Points ∼0% +106%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
1.41 Points ∼0% +107%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
1.46 Points ∼0% +115%
Cinebench R11.5 - CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Elitebook 745 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
1.83 Points ∼0%
HP Probook 645 G1
Radeon HD 8450G, A6-5350M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
1.34 Points ∼0% -27%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
2.55 Points ∼0% +39%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
2.64 Points ∼0% +44%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
2.92 Points ∼0% +60%
HP ProBook 640 G1 H5G66ET
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
3.24 Points ∼0% +77%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3.27 Points ∼0% +79%
Dell Latitude E6440
Radeon HD 8690M, 4300M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3.37 Points ∼0% +84%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
5.43 Points ∼0% +197%

System Performance

The EliteBook crashed when certain applications were used, and it displayed this image. Only rebooting helped in this case.
The EliteBook crashed when certain applications were used, and it displayed this image. Only rebooting helped in this case.

A swift hard drive and a decent processor ensure a smooth-running system. This is complemented by the good PCMark benchmark scores. However, the EliteBook 745 cannot compete with the EliteBook 840 that we tested. The 840 laptop sports a stronger processor and a faster solid state drive. We experienced minor issues while working with the laptop. Using certain graphics applications caused the graphics chip and/or driver to crash. We could reproduce this behavior again and again. It occurred when the applications "Furmark" and "PCMark 8" (Creative benchmark) was used. There was no specific point in time for the crash. Installing a newer driver did not change anything. We can only hope that our review sample had a technical defect.

PCMark 7 Score
2005 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2444 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3511 points
Help
PCMark 8 - Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP Elitebook 745 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
3511 Points ∼57%
HP Probook 645 G1
Radeon HD 8450G, A6-5350M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
3175 Points ∼52% -10%
HP ProBook 640 G1 H5G66ET
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
3475 Points ∼57% -1%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
3816 Points ∼62% +9%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
3972 Points ∼65% +13%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
5180 Points ∼85% +48%

Storage Devices

The hard drive is easy to replace.
The hard drive is easy to replace.

A hard drive from Hitachi's Travelstar Z7K500 line is installed in the EliteBook. It has a storage capacity of 500 GB and spins with 7200 revolutions per minute. The user has 449 GB of the 500 GB available. Roughly 30 of the 449 GB is reserved for the Windows installation. CrystalDiskMark recorded a read speed of 122.9 MB/s, and HD Tune delivered a transfer rate of 97.3 MB/s. These are good rates for a 7200 hard drive. The EliteBook is also available with a solid state drive. However, HP demands a steep surcharge for it. Buying an SSD and installing it would be considerably less expensive.

Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
Transfer Rate Minimum: 58.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 122.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 97.3 MB/s
Access Time: 17.6 ms
Burst Rate: 265.6 MB/s

Graphics Card

The installed AMD APU adds a Radeon R6 (Kaveri) graphics core to the EliteBook's innards. It supports DirectX 11.2 and clocks with up to 554 MHz. 3DMark 2011 is suitable for assessing the power of a graphics core because the CPU has relatively little impact on the test results. The Radeon GPU scores better in 3DMark 2011 than all current Intel GPUs. That is naturally also true for the HD Graphics 4400 core installed in the identically built EliteBook 840 (working memory operates in dual-channel mode). Only laptops that sport standard Core i7 processors (not ULV) and an HD Graphics 4600 core can keep up here. These are, of course, only theoretical rates ascertained using a synthetic benchmark. It looks a bit different in real-life use. The CPU also influences the results of graphics-intensive applications, and thus even laptops with a nominally weaker Intel graphics core achieve better results than the EliteBook in many applications - not least in computer games.

The dual-channel mode allows better usage of integrated GPUs, which leads to better 3DMark scores. The mode is enabled automatically when a second working memory is installed in a computer - providing the mode is supported. The APU in the EliteBook supports dual-channel mode. We installed a second working memory module and reran the 3DMark 2011 benchmark. The EliteBook accomplished a score of 1378, which is an increase of almost 16%. Thus potential buyers will have a simple upgrade option seeing that our review sample was only equipped with one memory module. A 4 GB working memory module would cost around 40 Euros (~$51).

3DMark 03 Standard
12557 points
3DMark 05 Standard
7324 points
3DMark 06 Standard
4320 points
3DMark Vantage P Result no PhysX
3592 points
3DMark 11 Performance
1188 points
3DMark (2013) Ice Storm Standard Score
32355 points
3DMark (2013) Cloud Gate Standard Score
3158 points
3DMark (2013) Fire Strike Standard Score
578 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
HP Elitebook 745 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
1188 Points ∼6%
HP Probook 645 G1
Radeon HD 8450G, A6-5350M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
789 Points ∼4% -34%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4200M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
843 Points ∼4% -29%
Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
901 Points ∼4% -24%
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
1058 Points ∼5% -11%
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
988 Points ∼5% -17%
HP EliteBook 755 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
1306 Points ∼6% +10%
Dell Latitude E6440
Radeon HD 8690M, 4300M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1790 Points ∼9% +51%
Acer TravelMate P645-MG-74508G75tkk
Radeon HD 8750M, 4500U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCT
1854 Points ∼9% +56%

Gaming Performance

It is quite possible to play current games on the EliteBook although the device is primarily aimed at corporate customers. The installed AMD APU can smoothly render some games in a low resolution with low up to sometimes medium quality settings. As mentioned earlier, the APU supports dual-channel operation, and thus the frame rates can be increased by installing a second memory module. The average rate of increase is approximately 20 to 30%. The exact value differs for every game.

Like in the 3DMark 2011 benchmark, we also retested a few games using the enabled dual-channel mode. We recorded a frame rate increase to 46 fps (min), 27.4 fps (medium), 19.2 fps (high) in Tomb Raider. That equals an average increase of almost 33%. It looks almost just as good in the game StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. An average increase of approx. 21% to 99.3 fps (min), 36.5 fps (medium), 26.5 fps (high) was achieved.

low med. high ultra
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (2010) 37.528.419.98.1fps
Dirt 3 (2011) 66.135.225.212.9fps
Deus Ex Human Revolution (2011) 44.924.210.4fps
Battlefield 3 (2011) 21.11511.9fps
Alan Wake (2012) 16.310.3fps
Sleeping Dogs (2012) 3022.111fps
Dead Space 3 (2013) 45.223.118.811.6fps
Tomb Raider (2013) 38.119.913.7fps
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) 89.830.919.66.5fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 31.217.313.9fps
GRID 2 (2013) 49.527.120.712.5fps
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (2013) 21.115.77.6fps
Saints Row IV (2013) 18.915.27.8fps
The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (2013) 19.813.19.1fps
F1 2013 (2013) 35252313fps
Batman: Arkham Origins (2013) 301711fps
X-Plane 10.25 (2013) 28.411.85.1fps
Thief (2014) 9.83.73.2fps
HP Elitebook 745 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
HP EliteBook 755 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
Tomb Raider
35%
30%
34%
1024x768 Low Preset38.152.4
38%
52.6
38%
51.5
35%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX AF:4x19.926
31%
24.1
21%
26.3
32%
Thief
110%
86%
1024x768 Very Low Preset9.816.5
68%
12.5
28%
1366x768 Normal Preset AA:FX3.79.3
151%
9
143%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
35% / 35%
70% / 70%
60% / 60%

Emissions

System Noise

Noise that distracts the user when working is unwanted from an office device like the EliteBook. The EliteBook does not disappoint in this point. The laptop is virtually silent when idling, and only the hard drive's noise is audible. The EliteBook 840 model that we tested even operated a touch quieter because it was equipped with a solid state drive. The fan in the EliteBook 745 does not have to increase its speed in load either. The noise level during our stress test climbed up to 35.3 dB(A), which is an absolutely acceptable rate. The EliteBook 840's fan produced a bit more noise in load.

Noise Level

Idle
31.2 / 31.2 / 31.2 dB(A)
HDD
31.2 dB(A)
Load
32.7 / 35.3 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-451 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

The EliteBook in the stress test.
The EliteBook in the stress test.

The EliteBook processed the stress test (Prime95 and Furmark run for at least one hour) in AC and battery modes in the same manner. The CPU was throttled to a speed of 1.1 to 1.3 GHz, and the GPU mostly clocks with 288 MHz. The graphics core was occasionally boosted to 411 to 500 MHz. The CPU's temperature settled to approximately 67 °C in AC mode.

The EliteBook's casing never heated up excessively. We measured a temperature of over 40 °C in two spots during the stress test. The combination of CPU-GPU throttling and a higher spinning fan is noticed here.

Max. Load
 40.4 °C39.1 °C35.5 °C 
 35.2 °C38.5 °C33.2 °C 
 31.6 °C32.2 °C35.4 °C 
Maximum: 40.4 °C
Average: 35.7 °C
39.5 °C43.6 °C39.1 °C
37.3 °C40 °C37.4 °C
35.7 °C35.1 °C33.5 °C
Maximum: 43.6 °C
Average: 37.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  43.8 °C | Room Temperature 22.5 °C | Fluke 62 Max

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The power consumption of the EliteBook 745 is modern and is on par with that of the EliteBook 840. The CPU and GPU were throttled in both laptops, and thus they have a similar power requirement in medium load (via 3DMark06) and full load (stress test via Prime95 and Furmark). However, the EliteBook 840 sports a stronger processor and consequently provides a higher CPU performance per watt.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.1 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 6.1 / 8.8 / 9.9 Watt
Load midlight 31.2 / 33.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Extech Power Analyzer 380803

Battery Runtime

The battery in the EliteBook lasted for 9:22 h in idle mode. The Lifebook (14:41 h), the ThinkPad (14:18 h), and the EliteBook 840 (12:58 h) all last longer. Idle mode is determined using Battery Eater's Reader's test with minimum screen brightness, enabled energy-saving mode, and disabled radio modules. The EliteBook shut down after 1:35 h of load. The Lifebook (1:46 h), ThinkPad (1:36 h), and EliteBook 840 (1:52 h) only run a bit longer. Load is simulated with Battery Eater's Classic test with the screen's maximum brightness, and both the high-performance mode and wireless modules are enabled.

The EliteBook stopped the Wi-Fi test after 4:39 h. Again, the ThinkPad (4:20 h), Lifebook (5:51 h), and EliteBook 840 (6:04 h) achieve better runtimes. In this test, websites are opened automatically every 40 seconds, the energy-saving profile is enabled, and the screen's brightness is set to approximately 150 cd/m². We ascertain the video playback time by running the short movie Big Buck Bunny in a loop (H.264 encoding, 1920x1080 pixels) using the energy-saving mode, disabled radio modules, and a screen brightness of about 150 cd/m². The EliteBook managed 4:06 h here. In contrast, the EliteBook 840 achieved a runtime of 4:56 h. We did not perform this test on the other two contenders.

The battery tests proved very time-consuming, and we had to perform them multiple times. The EliteBook only provided bad runtimes the first time (idle: 6:06 h, Wi-Fi: 3:28 h, Big Buck Bunny: 3:25 h). We could not imagine that HP launches a laptop with such short runtimes onto the market, and we reran the tests without an improvement. We ultimately installed Windows 8.1 Pro via the included recovery DVD and again performed the runtime tests. That led to realistic times. We assume that the problems were due to an error in the preloaded Windows 7 installation, and the laptop thus had a higher power requirement in battery mode. We cannot say whether this will be the case in every model from the EliteBook 745 line.

The EliteBook achieves overall good yet not outstanding runtimes. More is expected from an EliteBook. The identically built EliteBook 840 does a better job despite an equally sized battery.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 22min
WiFi Surfing
4h 39min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
4h 06min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 35min
HP Elitebook 745 G2
Radeon R6 (Kaveri), A10 Pro-7350B, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
HP EliteBook 840 G1
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Intel SSD Pro 1500 Series SSDSC2BF180A4H
Fujitsu LifeBook E744
HD Graphics 4600, 4702MQ, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
Lenovo ThinkPad T440 20B6005YGE
HD Graphics 4400, 4600U, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
Battery Runtime
27%
32%
16%
Reader / Idle562778
38%
881
57%
858
53%
Load95112
18%
106
12%
96
1%
WiFi279364
30%
351
26%
260
-7%
H.264246296
20%

Verdict

Compared with the EliteBook 840, only the innards have been modified in the identically built EliteBook 745. The new AMD APU makes an overall good impression. Although the APU's processor partly cannot compete with Intel's premium models from the Core i5 and Core i7 line, it does achieve the performance of the processors from the Core i3 line. Theoretically, AMD's quad-cores have more potential, but it cannot develop its full performance in the EliteBook. The Radeon R6 graphics core is also compelling. Its performance would definitely be enough for some games alongside a second working memory (dual-channel mode). Basically, the EliteBook 745 can offer good battery runtimes. However, the identical EliteBook 840 lasts longer with one battery charge. We should not forget to mention the inferior screen. It is dark, low in contrast, and it has a bluish cast. Solely the screen might be the major reason for many potential buyers to not buy the laptop. The EliteBook 745 will have a hard time finding buyers because the EliteBook 840 entry-level versions also start at 900 Euros (~$1166).

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In review: HP EliteBook 745 G2 (J0X31AW). Test model courtesy of HP Store.de
In review: HP EliteBook 745 G2 (J0X31AW). Test model courtesy of HP Store.de

Specifications

HP Elitebook 745 G2
Processor
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon R6 (Kaveri), Core: 554 MHz, 13.352.1004.1009
Memory
4096 MB 
, DDR3, single-channel, two memory banks (one bank filled)
Display
14.0 inch 16:9, 1366x768 pixel, Samsung, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
AMD Bolton
Storage
Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630, 500 GB 
, 7200 rpm, 420 GB free
Soundcard
AMD Hudson-2 High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
4 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combo audio jack, Card Reader: SD, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, TPM 1.2
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Broadcom BCM43228 (a/b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 21 x 339 x 237 ( = 0.83 x 13.35 x 9.33 in)
Battery
50 Wh Lithium-Ion, 11.4 V, 4290 mAh
Operating System
Windows 8.1 Professional (64 Bit) + Windows 7 Professional (64 Bit)
Camera
Webcam: HD webcam
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: no, Cyberlink PowerDVD 12, Cyberlink YouCam, Foxit PhantomPDF, MS Office 365 (trial), MS Security Essentials, Skype, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.9 kg ( = 67.02 oz / 4.19 pounds), Power Supply: 302 g ( = 10.65 oz / 0.67 pounds)
Price
900 Euro

 

The back of the EliteBook's lid features a rubber-coated finish.
The back of the EliteBook's lid features a rubber-coated finish.
It is quite slim with a thickness of 21 mm.
It is quite slim with a thickness of 21 mm.
The hinges keep the lid firmly in position.
The hinges keep the lid firmly in position.
The screen's maximum opening angle is approximately 130 degrees.
The screen's maximum opening angle is approximately 130 degrees.
HP relies on aluminum and magnesium for the casing.
HP relies on aluminum and magnesium for the casing.
Useful: All radio modules and the speakers can be turned on and off with dedicated buttons.
Useful: All radio modules and the speakers can be turned on and off with dedicated buttons.
Besides the touchpad,...
Besides the touchpad,...
...the user also has the option of using a TrackPoint.
...the user also has the option of using a TrackPoint.
It takes a moment to find the memory-card reader.
It takes a moment to find the memory-card reader.
A large maintenance cover is on the underside.
A large maintenance cover is on the underside.
It is opened with a lever.
It is opened with a lever.
Then the innards can be accessed.
Then the innards can be accessed.
The 50 Wh battery can be removed easily. It is not glued or fastened with screws.
The 50 Wh battery can be removed easily. It is not glued or fastened with screws.
A second battery can be strapped onto the laptop's underside.
A second battery can be strapped onto the laptop's underside.
The small power supply has an output performance of 45 watts.
The small power supply has an output performance of 45 watts.

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Links

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Pro

+Solid casing
+High-quality materials
+Good build
+Excellent input devices
+Matte screen surface
+36-month warranty
+Quiet operation
+Barely heats up
+Easy maintenance
+Prepared for a 3G / 4G modem
+Recovery DVD for Windows 8.1 Pro
 

Cons

-Poor screen (dark, low-contrast, bluish cast)

Shortcut

What we like

The quiet operating noise and the casing's low temperatures. Also, the slim, high-quality casing is appealing.

What we'd like to see

A considerably better screen.

What surprises us

Hewlett Packard seemingly wants to deter potential buyers with an inferior screen.

The competition

Fujitsu Lifebook E744, Lenovo ThinkPad T440, Acer TravelMate P645, Dell Latitude E6440, Lenovo ThinkPad T440s, Acer TravelMate P455, HP EliteBook 840, HP ProBook 640, HP ProBook 645.

Rating

HP Elitebook 745 G2 - 09/11/2014 v4(old)
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
92 / 98 → 94%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
72 / 81 → 89%
Weight
64 / 67 → 94%
Battery
84%
Display
72%
Games Performance
50 / 68 → 74%
Application Performance
58 / 92 → 63%
Temperature
86%
Noise
92%
Audio
63%
Camera
45 / 85 → 53%
Average
74%
82%
Office - Weighted Average
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > HP EliteBook 745 G2 Notebook Review
Sascha Mölck, 2014-09-17 (Update: 2014-09-17)