Notebookcheck

Face Off: Toshiba Tecra Z40 vs. Acer TravelMate P648 vs. HP EliteBook 840 G3

Business subnotebooks. Lenovo and Dell aren't the only players in the business notebook market. We compare three high-end alternatives retailing for well over $1000 USD each with some notable differences between them.

More millennials are preferring thin-and-light notebooks for both office work and home use. While this jack-of-all-trades solution has its perks, dedicated business notebooks are still superior when it comes to connectivity options and serviceability. We compare the core features of the business-centric Tecra Z40, TravelMate P648, and EliteBook 840 G3 in the popular 14-inch category to see which is a better fit for pure office tasks.

We encourage users to check out our dedicated review pages below for more data and detailed analyses of each of the three models. This comparison is by no means a replacement, but a condensed aid for those on the fence.

Toshiba Tecra Z40
Toshiba Tecra Z40
Acer TravelMate P648
Acer TravelMate P648
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3

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Case

Build quality is above average for each of the notebooks. The Toshiba utilizes magnesium from top to bottom and has been tested to survive drops up to a certain height with a water-resistant keyboard. In comparison, the Acer system is mostly carbon fiber and plastic and the HP is largely plastic with an aluminum finish on the outer lid. Their bases are rigid and not easy to twist, but we find the display lids on all three notebooks to be rather easy to bend and, in the case of the Toshiba, can even creak from the warping.

Beyond the build, these notebooks weigh nearly the same with almost identical dimensions. We can't objectively crown one model over the other in terms of workmanship and quality.

338 mm / 13.3 inch 236 mm / 9.29 inch 20.4 mm / 0.803 inch 1.5 kg3.24 lbs338 mm / 13.3 inch 237 mm / 9.33 inch 18.9 mm / 0.744 inch 1.5 kg3.4 lbs328.7 mm / 12.9 inch 235.5 mm / 9.27 inch 21.2 mm / 0.835 inch 1.6 kg3.53 lbs

Ports in Comparison

Toshiba Tecra Z40
Toshiba Tecra Z40
Acer Travelmate P648
Acer Travelmate P648
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3

Connectivity

As business notebooks, all three models come with dedicated docking ports and SIM slot options. Users will also appreciate that the aging VGA port is still present for supporting older external outputs. Perhaps the biggest difference, however, is that the Acer notebook is the only one out of the three to carry a USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 compatibility. This essentially future-proofs the notebook, though the model is lacking a native SmartCard reader in return.

Ports and Connections

Toshiba Tecra Z40 Acer TravelMate P648 HP EliteBook 840 G3
USB 3x USB 3.0 3x USB 3.0, 1x USB Type-C + Thunderbolt 3 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 1
Video-out 1x VGA, 1x HDMI 1x VGA, 1x HDMI 1x VGA, 1x DisplayPort
Other SD reader, SIM slot (optional), RJ-45, Kensington Lock, SmartCard reader, 3.5 mm audio, Docking port SD reader, SIM slot, RJ-45, Kensington Lock, 3.5 mm audio, Docking port SD reader, SIM slot, RJ-45, Kensington Lock, SmartCard reader, 3.5 mm audio, Docking port
Storage Bays 1x M.2 1x M.2 1x M.2, 1x 2.5-inch SATA III

Input Devices

Unfortunately, all three notebooks have just average keyboards at best. When compared to the keyboards of the ThinkPad T460s or Latitude E7440/E7470, the Toshiba, Acer, and HP fall short in terms of feedback and travel. The keys even clatter more loudly, so the experience is far from ideal. This isn't to say that the keyboards are bad, but their shallow feel may take some time to become accustomed to.

As for the touchpads, they all offer a smooth glide with no issues specific to any one model. Users will likely find the HP to be more comfortable if no external mouse is present due to its Pointstick and four dedicated mouse keys when compared to the Toshiba or Acer. Note that the Toshiba is the only one with integrated mouse keys (clickpad functionality) while the Acer carries no TrackPoint/Pointstick at all.

Toshiba Tecra Z40
Toshiba Tecra Z40
Acer Travelmate P648
Acer Travelmate P648
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3

Display

The notebooks all use different matte panels with very different contrast and color gamuts each. Our HP is even equipped with a TN panel compared to the IPS panels on the Toshiba and Acer for more limited viewing angles.

The EliteBook carries the brighter display, but colors are inaccurate without calibration. The TravelMate carries the deeper contrast ratio by over twice that of the Toshiba and HP, but its color gamut is inferior. Lastly, the Toshiba carries the wider color gamut and more accurate colors, but its brightness and contrast are both average. There are pros and cons for each model, so no one display is objectively better than the rest. The EliteBook, however, utilizes PWM for brightness control and should be avoided for those who are sensitive to screen flickering.

Toshiba Tecra Z40
Toshiba Tecra Z40
Acer Travelmate P648
Acer Travelmate P648
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
Displays at a Glance

Toshiba Tecra Z40 Acer TravelMate P648 HP EliteBook 840 G3
Size 14.0-inch IPS 14.0-inch IPS 14.0-inch TN
Native Resolution 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080
Pixel Density 157 PPI 157 PPI 157 PPI
Panel ID Toshiba TOS508F AU Optronics B140HAN02.1 Chi Mei CMN14C0
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-106Acer TravelMate P648-M-757NHP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
Response Times
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
32.8 (12.8, 20)
44 (16, 28)
43 (20, 23)
Response Time Black / White *
25.2 (11.6, 13.6)
25 (7, 18)
25 (9, 16)
PWM Frequency
204 (90)
Screen
Brightness middle
269
254
366
Brightness
257
243
336
Brightness Distribution
86
90
87
Black Level *
0.52
0.19
0.65
Contrast
517
1337
563
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.45
4.93
10.26
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.34
10.14
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.28
2.71
11.51
Gamma
2.38 92%
2.36 93%
2.4 92%
CCT
6230 104%
6914 94%
12725 51%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
55.24
34
47
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
84.32
53
74
Total Average (Program / Settings)

* ... smaller is better

Toshiba Tecra Z40 color profile
Toshiba Tecra Z40 color profile
Acer Travelmate P648
Acer Travelmate P648
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3

Performance

CPU Performance

Toshiba, Acer, and HP all offer multiple CPU options beyond what we have here, so this comparison is only between the configurations on hand.

The ULV Skylake processors for these notebooks perform very similarly in both single- and multi-core processes while sharing the same integrated HD Graphics 520 GPU. In fact, the i5-6200U in the Toshiba is able to slightly outperform the i7-6500U in both the Acer and HP according to CineBench and 3DMark Fire Strike Physics. 

Serviceability is simpler on the Acer and HP compared to the Toshiba. Note that two SODIMM slots are available on the Toshiba and HP while the Acer only has one slot with 4 GB soldered onto the board.

See our dedicated CPU pages on the Core i5-6200U and Core i7-6500U for more benchmarks and comparisons.

Hardware at a Glance

Toshiba Tecra Z40 Acer TravelMate P648 HP EliteBook 840 G3
CPU 2.3 GHz Core i5-6200U 2.5 GHz Core i7-6500U 2.5 GHz Core i7-6500U
TDP 15 W 15 W 15 W
RAM 8 GB DDR3L, Single-channel, 2x SODIMM 8 GB DDR4-2132, Dual-channel, 1x SODIMM (4 GB soldered) 8 GB DDR4, Dual-channel, 2x SODIMM
GPU Intel HD Graphics 520 Intel HD Graphics 520 Intel HD Graphics 520
Toshiba Tecra Z40
Toshiba Tecra Z40
Acer Travelmate P648
Acer Travelmate P648
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
143 Points ∼66%
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
110 Points ∼50%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
119 Points ∼55%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
311 Points ∼7%
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
284 Points ∼6%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
322 Points ∼7%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
1.26 Points ∼52%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
3.11 Points ∼9%
wPrime 2.0x
1024m (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
520.435 s * ∼6%
32m (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
14.877 s * ∼3%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
572.39 Seconds * ∼3%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
5306 Points ∼18%
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
4989 Points ∼17%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
4882 Points ∼17%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Physics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
3569 Points ∼9%
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
3581 Points ∼9%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
3441 Points ∼9%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
42164 Points ∼50%
PCMark 7
System Storage (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
5363 Points ∼75%
Computation (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
11489 Points ∼41%
Creativity (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
8544 Points ∼59%
Entertainment (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
3642 Points ∼34%
Productivity (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
4024 Points ∼37%
Lightweight (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
5193 Points ∼71%
Score (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
4766 Points ∼52%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
4594 Points ∼71%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
4275 Points ∼66%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
3798 Points ∼36%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
3511 Points ∼58%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
3231 Points ∼53%
X264 HD Benchmark 4.0
Pass 2 (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
20 fps ∼1%
Pass 1 (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
110 fps ∼41%

* ... smaller is better

GPU Performance

Surprisingly, raw graphics performance is slightly faster on the Tecra Z40 compared to the TravelMate and EliteBook according to 3DMark and CineBench benchmarks despite the fact that the Toshiba is carrying the weaker processor. In a real-world test with Bioshock Infinite, however, the Toshiba outputs fewer frames per second than its two competitors with faster processors.

See our dedicated GPU pages on the Intel HD Graphics 520 for more gaming benchmarks and comparisons.

Cinebench R15 - OpenGL 64Bit (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
43.37 fps ∼17%
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
43.09 fps ∼17%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
36.1 fps ∼14%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
973 Points ∼2%
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
814 Points ∼2%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
800 Points ∼2%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
8236 Points ∼4%
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
6674 Points ∼4%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
6351 Points ∼3%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
44433 Points ∼6%
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-11F
1503 Points ∼3%
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
1274 Points ∼2%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
1327 Points ∼3%
BioShock Infinite - 1366x768 High Preset (sort by value)
Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-106
16.6 fps ∼4%
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
22.2 fps ∼6%
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
18.5 fps ∼5%

Stress Test

To test system stability, we run both Prime95 and FurMark to simulate maximum stress. These unrealistic conditions do not represent daily workloads, but are instead meant to put both the CPU and GPU at 100 percent capacity. Our reviewer for the Toshiba provided no screenshot or GPU information when subjected to Prime95 and FurMark, so this data has been omitted below.

The three systems perform very well when under extreme stress. Both the Toshiba and Acer do not throttle their CPUs and can even maintain a small level of Turbo Boost each. The HP notebook throttles its processor just slightly from its base clock rate of 2.5 GHz to a more stable 2.4 GHz. Core temperature is much warmer on the Acer at just over 70 C compared to 60 C or cooler on its two competitors.

Acer Travelmate P648
Acer Travelmate P648
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
CPU and GPU Clock Rates Under Stress

Toshiba Tecra Z40 Acer TravelMate P648 HP EliteBook 840 G3
Rated GPU Core Clock (MHz) 300 300 300
Stable GPU Core Clock on FurMark (MHz) -- 1000 1000
Rated CPU Core Clock (GHz) 2.3 2.5 2.5
Stable CPU Core Clock on Prime95 (GHz) 2.6 2.6 2.4
Average CPU temperature 55 C 71 C 60 C
Toshiba Tecra Z40
Toshiba Tecra Z40
Acer Travelmate P648
Acer Travelmate P648
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3

 

 

 

 

Emissions

System Noise & Temperature

The three systems are essentially silent when idling or running very low loads, though the fan in the HP appears to be slightly more sensitive to onscreen loads. Fan noise is quieter on the Acer at just over 33 dB(A) when under stress compared to 37 dB(A) on the Toshiba and HP, which correlates well with its higher core temperatures as mentioned above. Average surface temperatures are subsequently warmer on the Acer, though the difference is not significant enough to be distracting during regular use.

Toshiba Tecra Z40
Toshiba Tecra Z40
Acer TravelMate P648
Acer TravelMate P648
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
Average Fan Noise and Surface Temperature

Toshiba Tecra Z40 Acer TravelMate P648 HP EliteBook 840 G3
Fan Noise when idling 29.8 dB(A) 31.2 dB(A) 31.2 -33.1 dB(A)
Fan Noise under high loads 32.6 - 37.2 dB(A) 32.4 - 33.3 dB(A) 36.2 - 37.8 dB(A)
Average surface temperature when idling 26.3 C 27.8 C 24.9 C
Average surface temperature under high loads 30.9 C 31.8 C 32.1 C
Ambient temperature 21.5 C 22.4 C 21.4 C

Battery Life

Users can expect 9 hours of real-world WLAN use from the Toshiba and Acer compared to 7.5 hours from the HP. The Toshiba carries the larger battery capacity followed by the Acer and HP, so we were expecting the Tecra Z40 to last a bit longer than the Acer. The internal battery packs are all non-removable and cannot be easily swapped.

Winner: Tie -- Toshiba Tecra Z40

                        Acer TravelMate P648

Toshiba Tecra Z40-C-106
64 Wh
Acer TravelMate P648-M-757N
54 Wh
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
46 Wh
Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle
1045
1083
1020
WiFi v1.3
539
543
453
Load
164
110
146

Verdict

These units are all solidly built for the most part, so the one with the more relevant feature set to the user will be the better buy.
These units are all solidly built for the most part, so the one with the more relevant feature set to the user will be the better buy.

Some core features of the Tecra Z40, TravelMate P648, and EliteBook 840 G3 are so evenly matched down to their price points that it's difficult to suggest one over the other based on quality and system performance alone. Instead, their main differences stem from their displays, connectivity features, and battery runtimes.

The Toshiba makes an excellent choice if more accurate colors are a concern, but its backlight brightness is too dim for outdoor use and its serviceability could have been easier. The Acer includes the all-important Thunderbolt 3 port for a wider range of docking and peripheral options than both the Toshiba and HP and its display carries deeper black levels as well, but its display backlight and colors are average and there is no integrated SmartCard reader. Additionally, the system runs quieter at the cost of warmer core temperatures. Lastly, the HP notebook has the brighter backlight and a secondary 2.5-inch SATA III bay, but battery runtimes are poorer since the storage bay takes up valuable space away from what could have been used for a larger battery.

Toshiba Tecra Z40Acer TravelMate P648HP EliteBook 840 G3

+ Magnesium chassis

+ Spill-resistant keyboard

+ Wider color gamut

+ Good CPU and GPU performance

+ Cooler core temperatures

+ Carbon fiber chassis

+ USB Type-C Gen. 2 + Thunderbolt 3

+ Deeper contrast levels

+ Quieter fan noise

+ USB Type-C Gen. 1

+ 2.5-inch SATA III option

+ Four dedicated mouse keys and TrackPoint

+ Brighter display backlight

- Difficult serviceability

- Weak display lid; creaking

- No USB Type-C

- Average display backlight

- Weak display lid

- No SmartCard reader

- No TrackPoint

- Narrower color gamut; average display backlight

- Warmer core temperatures and surfaces on average

- Weak display lid; very thin

- Only 2 USB 3.0 ports, no HDMI

- Average contrast levels; TN panel

- Very slight CPU throttling under extreme stress

- Louder fan noise under stress

- Shorter runtimes; smaller battery capacity

Toshiba Tecra Z40

Pricecompare

Acer TravelMate P648

Pricecompare

HP EliteBook 840 G3

Pricecompare

See more quick comparisons in our Face Off series:

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Face Off: Toshiba Tecra Z40 vs. Acer TravelMate P648 vs. HP EliteBook 840 G3
Allen Ngo, 2016-07-31 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.