Notebookcheck

HP EliteBook 745 G3 (FHD) Notebook Review

Right down to business. Just last week, we evaluated HP’s new 745 G3 update with WQHD IPS screen and Windows 7 preinstalled. Today’s configuration features a lower-end 1080p panel, but it’s also correspondingly more affordable. How does it hold up against the bevy of available business choices?

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Owing primarily to the resilience of the market segment, there is no shortage of available premium-grade 14-inch business notebooks. The smorgasbord of options from Dell, Lenovo, HP, and other manufacturers generally features two major points of consistency: the cost is high, and the chipset is from Intel. But as we explained in last week’s HP EliteBook 745 G3 (German) review, this is a notebook which seeks to challenge both of these conventions with a more affordable price point and AMD Pro processors inside.

Since we’ve already covered much of the basics regarding the EliteBook 745 G3 in previous reviews, our evaluation of today’s configuration will primarily consist of another look at the overall performance numbers (as it applies to the slightly different components in our current unit), as well as an in-depth evaluation of the 1080p display panel as it compares with last week’s superior (and considerably more expensive) WQHD option. There are some other minor differences, too, which we’ll detail in the course of this review.

Apart from the 1080p panel, today’s configuration also features an AMD Pro A12-8800B APU with Radeon R7 (Carrizo) Graphics, 8 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1600 RAM, and a 256 GB SSD. It retails for $1,049 MSRP, which is well below that of most of its rivals, and roughly $150 MSRP lower than the WQHD screen configurations. Let’s see how it stacks up.

HP EliteBook 745 G3 (EliteBook 700 Series)
Graphics adapter
AMD Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Core: 800 MHz, 15.201.1001.1005
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR3-1600
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, No, CMN14C0, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
AMD KernCZ
Storage
SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006, 256 GB 
Soundcard
Conexant @ AMD K15.6
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, Card Reader: SD/SDHC/SDXC, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 (a/b/g/h/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 18.9 x 338 x 237 ( = 0.74 x 13.31 x 9.33 in)
Battery
46 Wh, 3820 mAh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: 2.0, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.55 kg ( = 54.67 oz / 3.42 pounds), Power Supply: 292 g ( = 10.3 oz / 0.64 pounds)

 

Preliminary Summary/Differences

Please reference last week’s EliteBook 745 G3 review, as well as our preceding EliteBook 745 G2 review, for much more detail on the particulars of the machine’s design, casing, input devices, and other common components, as the machines are practically identical in this regard.

The biggest benefit of today’s $1,049 configuration is that the primary components that render the rest of the EliteBook 745 models worthwhile are retained, even in spite of the loss of the higher-grade display panel. We still receive a fully metal casing that feels relatively rigid, good hinges, great input devices (including arguably one of the best keyboards of any Ultrabook), and a very manageable weight of just around 1.55 kg (3.41 lbs). The same complaints still apply, however—most notably, the unnecessarily cumbersome upgrade/maintenance process thanks to the numerous screws securing the bottom panel. The casing, also, while sturdy enough, does not seem to quite compare to the rigidity of, say, a Dell Latitude E7450 or Lenovo ThinkPad T450s. But again, it is still very good overall, and the cost here is quite a bit lower.

Display

The display is the biggest difference between our previous review model and this one. Whereas our last test candidate sported a 14-inch 2560x1440 IPS panel with good color gamut and great brightness and contrast, today’s configuration features a lower-end (and much lower-cost) 1080p (1920x1080) TN panel. Nevertheless, that’s still 157 PPI, which is perfectly sufficient pixel density for any business user, and far better than the lowest-end 768p option. It’s still fortunately anti-glare, and subjectively speaking, it seems quite bright. However it isn’t nearly as vivid or as attractive as the WQHD setup.

340
cd/m²
354.5
cd/m²
337.9
cd/m²
343.2
cd/m²
366.2
cd/m²
326.9
cd/m²
335.9
cd/m²
350.4
cd/m²
333
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Basic Pro 2
Maximum: 366.2 cd/m² Average: 343.1 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 366.2 cd/m²
Contrast: 513:1 (Black: 0.714 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 9.15 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 9.57 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
77.28% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 49.03% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.19
HP EliteBook 745 G3
14, 1920x1080
HP EliteBook 745 G3
14, 2560x1440
Dell Latitude E7450
14, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
14, 1920x1080
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
13.3, 1920x1080
Response Times
19%
-18%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
54 (29, 25)
46.8 (18, 28.8)
13%
59.2 (24.4, 34.8)
-10%
Response Time Black / White *
33 (15, 18)
25.2 (6, 19.2)
24%
50.4 (11.6, 38.8)
-53%
PWM Frequency
200 (90, 343)
215.5
8%
Screen
27%
27%
31%
35%
Brightness middle
366.2
319
-13%
280
-24%
288
-21%
296.1
-19%
Brightness
343
301
-12%
257
-25%
281
-18%
284
-17%
Brightness Distribution
89
74
-17%
75
-16%
94
6%
90
1%
Black Level *
0.714
0.29
59%
0.3
58%
0.286
60%
0.308
57%
Contrast
513
1100
114%
933
82%
1007
96%
961
87%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
9.15
7.23
21%
3.45
62%
4.35
52%
3
67%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
15.11
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
9.57
6
37%
3.35
65%
3.7
61%
1.61
83%
Gamma
2.19 110%
2.14 112%
2.37 101%
2.68 90%
2.18 110%
CCT
11114 58%
6904 94%
6940 94%
6076 107%
6716 97%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
49.03
65.8
34%
60
22%
54.7
12%
62.37
27%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
77.28
95.3
23%
92
19%
96.57
25%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
23% / 26%
27% / 27%
31% / 31%
9% / 21%

* ... smaller is better

The average brightness of 343.1 cd/m² is superior to that of all of the closest competitors, including the WQHD screen configuration. On the other hand, the contrast of just 513:1 is nothing special, and is less than half that of the rest of the field. Of course, it might be more accurate to compare these results with the low-end 768p models from the competition given the differences in price point, but that depends on your perspective.

We measured 77% coverage of the sRGB spectrum (and just 49% of AdobeRGB), which is considerably lower than the 95% and 66% (respectively) of the WQHD panel, and once again lower than all of the competing models (see our table for more details). That’s still not a terrible color gamut in the grand scheme of things, especially in the realm of business machines—but it’s a far cry from the best panels. Most business users aren’t likely to mind, but anyone doing any degree of photography work should opt for the better screen.

vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. EliteBook 745 G3 (WQHD)
vs. EliteBook 745 G3 (WQHD)
vs. Latitude E7450
vs. Latitude E7450
vs. ThinkPad T450s
vs. ThinkPad T450s

Telling the other half of the story is CalMAN, in which we measured a ColorChecker DeltaE2000 average of 9.15—which is quite bad indeed. This is a panel badly in need of calibration; afterwards, we measured a value of 2.1, which is completely reasonable. The same goes for the grayscale DeltaE, which began at 9.57 and was later tamed to 1.81. On the other hand, the Total Gamma of 2.19 is just about spot-on (with an ideal value of 2.2).

Color analysis (pre-calibration)
Color analysis (pre-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (pre-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (pre-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (pre-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (pre-calibration)
Color analysis (post-calibration)
Color analysis (post-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (post-calibration)
Saturation sweeps (post-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (post-calibration)
Grayscale analysis (post-calibration)

Another major divergence from the brilliance of the WQHD panel is the incidence of PWM on the 1080p model at all brightness settings other than maximum. That’s a problem for anyone who is sensitive to the flickering—those users would certainly be better off paying the $150 premium for the higher-end screen, which does not exhibit these symptoms.

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
33 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15 ms rise
↘ 18 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 85 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
54 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 29 ms rise
↘ 25 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 89 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (41.4 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 200 Hz ≤ 90 % brightness setting
≤ 343 cd/m² brightness

The display backlight flickers at 200 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 90 % (343 cd/m²) and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 200 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

Flickering occurs even at high brightness setting and may have an effect on the user during everyday use.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8821 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Outdoors, the only thing working against the EliteBook 745 G3 is the weak contrast ratio. The rest of the panel’s attributes—most notably the very good brightness—make for a comfortable picture in nearly any scenario apart from direct sunlight. Viewing angles are narrow and restrictive, with vertical deviance especially quickly washing out the picture.

Direct sunlight
Direct sunlight
In the shade
In the shade

Performance

The internal specifications of the EliteBook we’re reviewing today are nearly identical to those of last week’s WQHD model. However, we’ll be revisiting some of the details nonetheless for comparative purposes. Although configurations range widely in terms of display panel options, the biggest decisions to be made with regard to performance are how much RAM and storage is included (both of which, of course, can be upgraded later relatively easily).

Both the previous test machine and our current one feature an AMD Pro A12-8800B CPU. One difference, however, is that our machine came with 8 GB of dual-channel DDR3 1600 MHz RAM installed (2 x 4 GB SODIMMs) versus the single-channel 8 GB configuration we received in the last unit. However, we performed most of our graphics testing in that review with a secondary 8 GB stick installed, so the results are not expected to change much here.

Apart from a couple of outliers, performance on the whole is—as expected—very much similar to the previous model we reviewed. That is to say, below comparable mainstream business models from other rivals. Let’s step through each individual section as usual here for some quick analysis of what’s going on. Keep in mind that for much more comparison and analysis of any of these items (except where otherwise noted), you can reference our previous review of the EliteBook 745 G3.

CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z SPD
CPU-Z SPD
HD Tune
HD Tune
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
LatencyMon
LatencyMon

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Processor

The AMD Pro A12-8800B is a complex SoC with two Excavator CPU modules (4 compute cores) paired with a Radeon R7 graphics adapter featuring 8 compute cores. This chip is constructed using a 28 nm architecture, carrying a TDP of 15 W. As we noted in our last review, although this CPU is roughly 30% faster than the previous A10 Pro-7350B, while running within the constraints of 15 W TDP, it’s not much different from an A10-8700P. We noted how the power limitations affected clock speeds during our tests: we witnessed constant fluctuation between 2.5 and 3.4 GHz in single-threaded benchmarks, whereas multi-threaded tests saw an eventual drop from a 2.5 GHz max down to just 2.1 GHz on our machine—disappointing.

Obviously, not much has changed here, and the same issues apply. The CPU is notably slower than even an Intel Core i3-6100U, so in spite of the acceptable overall system performance, this is hardly any sort of conquering triumph for AMD. As compared with the Dell Latitude E7450, Lenovo ThinkPad T450, and Toshiba Portege Z30t, the EliteBook 745 G3 is eclipsed by anywhere from 38 to 117 percent in the three Cinebench 64-bit single-threaded benchmarks, and beaten by between 7 and 80 percent in the multi-threaded tests. Take a look at our table below for much more detail on how this breaks down.

Cinebench R10
Cinebench R10
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R11.5
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R15
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
3015 Points ∼33%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3099 Points ∼34% +3%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
5970 Points ∼66% +98%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
5424 Points ∼60% +80%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
6543 Points ∼72% +117%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
7270 Points ∼10%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
9178 Points ∼13% +26%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
12043 Points ∼17% +66%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
11244 Points ∼16% +55%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
13122 Points ∼19% +80%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
0.93 Points ∼40%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
0.88 Points ∼38% -5%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
1.35 Points ∼58% +45%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
1.28 Points ∼55% +38%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
1.5 Points ∼64% +61%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
2.58 Points ∼11%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
2.45 Points ∼10% -5%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
3.07 Points ∼13% +19%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
2.77 Points ∼12% +7%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
3.26 Points ∼14% +26%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
77 Points ∼37%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
72 Points ∼35% -6%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
117 Points ∼57% +52%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
111 Points ∼54% +44%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
131 Points ∼63% +70%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
212 Points ∼7%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
202 Points ∼7% -5%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
280 Points ∼10% +32%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
255 Points ∼9% +20%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
296 Points ∼10% +40%
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
5090 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
7270 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
3015 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
5182
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
6009
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
2289
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
29.12 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.58 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
0.93 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
34.61 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
212 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
77 Points
Help

System Performance

But, fortunately for AMD (and the EliteBook 745 G3), CPU performance isn’t the whole story. General system performance is of much greater consequence for the average business user, and here, the EliteBook looks completely different. With a PCMark 7 score of 4729 points and a PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated of 3824 points, there is little reason to doubt that the laptop can handle the typical demands of the workday. The competing machines are just around 5 to 10 percent faster than the 745 G3 here, which is of much less concern.

Curiously, these scores are 28 and 10 percent higher than those of last week’s 745 G3 configuration, and the reason for this is likely quite simple: that machine featured a Samsung PM851 SSD—which is known for its mild deficiency in sequential write speed—whereas today’s includes a SanDisk X300s SSD. We’ll explore the storage benchmarks in the next section, but suffice it to say that this remains a major factor in the overall perceived speed of a machine’s operations.

PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Home Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Creative Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 8 Work Accelerated
PCMark 7 - Score (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
4729 Points ∼55%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3407 Points ∼40% -28%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
4650 Points ∼54% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
4995 Points ∼58% +6%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
4966 Points ∼58% +5%
PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
3824 Points ∼59%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3424 Points ∼53% -10%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
4002 Points ∼61% +5%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
4097 Points ∼63% +7%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
4330 Points ∼66% +13%
Creative Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
3717 Points ∼39%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
2652 Points ∼28% -29%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
3459 Points ∼36% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
3945 Points ∼41% +6%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
3716 Points ∼39% 0%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
2978 Points ∼49%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
2445 Points ∼40% -18%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
2932 Points ∼48% -2%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
3128 Points ∼51% +5%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
3062 Points ∼50% +3%
PCMark 7 Score
4729 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2978 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3717 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3824 points
Help

Storage Devices

Taking a closer look at the SanDisk X300s confirms our suspicions: with an AS SSD score of 1200 points, it’s head and shoulders above the Samsung PM851’s 821 points. The primary determinant here is the 4K-64 read speed differential (561.47 MB/s versus 260.87 MB/s) and the aforementioned write speed discrepancies (362.4 MB/s versus 259.41 MB/s).

One thing worth noting about the EliteBook 745 G3’s storage configuration is that our unit came with an M.2 SSD, leaving an open 2.5-inch storage bay (7mm height) to be populated later by a secondary storage device.  This opportunity for a dual-storage setup actually places the EliteBook above the Latitude E7450, which sacrifices the mSATA capabilities of its predecessor and lacks an M.2 slot.  In terms of 14-inch business notebooks with dual-storage capability, the EliteBook is certainly one of the most affordable.

The SanDisk X300s SSD
The SanDisk X300s SSD
PCMark 8 Storage Accelerated
PCMark 8 Storage Accelerated
AS SSD
AS SSD
SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
Transfer Rate Minimum: 354.9 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 385.4 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 373.1 MB/s
Access Time: 0.2 ms
Burst Rate: 70.9 MB/s
CPU Usage: 5.5 %

GPU Performance

Firstly, we should note: the comparisons shown here on our graph are with the single-channel memory configuration of the EliteBook 745 G3; we did not include the adjusted results following our addition of the second SODIMM. However, the results here are even better than before (albeit marginally), with a score of 2020 in 3DMark 11 and 1170 in 3DMark Fire Strike Standard (versus our previous results of 1845 and 1153, respectively). Of course, as we mentioned previously, the existence of the second stick of memory (to make it dual-channel) provides a substantial overall boost to GPU performance—roughly 30 to 35 percent in this case.

Don’t miss our previous review of the machine for tons of game benchmarks and more analysis of the performances differences between single- and dual-channel memory configurations.

3DMark Ice Storm Extreme
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
2020 Points ∼7%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
1527 Points ∼5% -24%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
1023 Points ∼3% -49%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
2380 Points ∼8% +18%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
1220 Points ∼4% -40%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
1170 Points ∼4%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
689 Points ∼3% -41%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
619 Points ∼2% -47%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
1426 Points ∼5% +22%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
644 Points ∼2% -45%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
5005 Points ∼10%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3247 Points ∼7% -35%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
4655 Points ∼9% -7%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
6134 Points ∼12% +23%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
5008 Points ∼10% 0%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
45140 Points ∼4%
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
30108 Points ∼3% -33%
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
43346 Points ∼4% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
42339 Points ∼4% -6%
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
45426 Points ∼4% +1%
3DMark 06 Standard
7857 points
3DMark 11 Performance
2020 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
45140 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5005 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
1170 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
540 points
Help

Emissions

System Noise

In terms of fan noise, there isn’t much to complain about with regard to the EliteBook. Today’s measurements revealed across-the-board lower values versus even our previous ones, and tangibly lower noise levels (9% and 11% respectively) than the Dell Latitude E7450 and Toshiba Portege Z30t. However, that’s only half the story: unfortunately, our review unit exhibited an obtrusive level of CPU whine, which is evident anytime the machine is processing a consistent load. This is only likely to really bother those with fairly good hearing, but our editor today found it difficult to ignore in a quiet room.

HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, SanDisk X300s SD7TN3Q-256G-1006
HP EliteBook 745 G3
Radeon R7 (Carrizo), Pro A12-8800B, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Dell Latitude E7450
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 mSATA 128 GB
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
Toshiba Portege Z30t-B1320W10
HD Graphics 5500, 5600U, Toshiba THNSNJ256GMCU
Noise
-8%
-9%
-4%
-11%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
28.5
29
-2%
29.1
-2%
29.1
-2%
30.2
-6%
Idle Average *
28.6
29
-1%
29.1
-2%
29.1
-2%
30.3
-6%
Idle Maximum *
28.6
31.1
-9%
30
-5%
29.1
-2%
32.2
-13%
Load Average *
30.5
35.6
-17%
36.4
-19%
33.1
-9%
35.6
-17%
Load Maximum *
32.6
35.6
-9%
37.8
-16%
34.3
-5%
37.6
-15%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
28.5 / 28.6 / 28.6 dB(A)
Load
30.5 / 32.6 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Oddly enough, even under the same temperature, we measured palpably different average temperatures between our previous 745 G3 review and this one. Here, the machine is a couple degrees cooler in nearly every scenario, which is odd, but welcomed. While idle, we measured just 26 °C and 28.1 °C on top and bottom, whereas under load, those values climb to 29.6 °C and 32.8 °C—still nothing at all to be concerned about. The sole hotspot in the top-center quadrant of the underside of the machine reached a somewhat uncomfortable 43.8 °C, but the fact that none of the surrounding regions even surpassed 37 °C communicates the machine’s effective cooling strategy.

The fan normally doesn't have to work that hard.
The fan normally doesn't have to work that hard.
Thermal image of the top of the base unit
Thermal image of the top of the base unit
Thermal image of the bottom of the base unit
Thermal image of the bottom of the base unit
Max. Load
 28.2 °C
83 F
36.8 °C
98 F
35.2 °C
95 F
 
 28.2 °C
83 F
33.6 °C
92 F
29.6 °C
85 F
 
 24.6 °C
76 F
24.4 °C
76 F
26 °C
79 F
 
Maximum: 36.8 °C = 98 F
Average: 29.6 °C = 85 F
36.6 °C
98 F
43.8 °C
111 F
31.2 °C
88 F
34.4 °C
94 F
35.6 °C
96 F
31.8 °C
89 F
27.8 °C
82 F
27.2 °C
81 F
26.4 °C
80 F
Maximum: 43.8 °C = 111 F
Average: 32.8 °C = 91 F
Power Supply (max.)  40.2 °C = 104 F | Room Temperature 20 °C = 68 F | Raytek Raynger ST

Stress Test

During our full CPU stress test, the Elitebook 745 G3 began briefly at 2.5 GHz before dropping to just 2.1 GHz (with occasional hiccups to an even lower 1.7 GHz) after around half an hour of stress with Prime95. That’s a pretty disappointing performance which is spearheaded by the low TDP of 15 W. Clearly, HP is choosing power efficiency (and thus battery live) over performance here. Still, it’s a major sacrifice by some measurements which further highlights the gap between the modern Intel chips and their AMD counterparts.

On the GPU side, we never witnessed anything close to the maximum 800 MHz clock rate of which this SoC is capable. Instead, the GPU hovered closer to 315 MHz for the duration of the test, again hampered by TDP. Adding in CPU stress predictably only reduces it further: while the CPU throttled to 1.4 GHz, the GPU stayed put at just 300 MHz. We never once witnessed CPU core temperatures anywhere about 54 °C, so thermals absolutely are not a concern.

Full CPU stress
Full CPU stress
Full GPU stress
Full GPU stress
Combined CPU + GPU stress
Combined CPU + GPU stress

Speakers

The EliteBook’s speakers are certainly a notch above the category average, but they’re still not in the same ballpark as Dell’s Latitude E7450, which (somehow) produces sound that actually rivals that of some multimedia notebooks. Still, the clarity of the tiny drivers is commendable, with crisp highs and hardly any distortion to be spoken of. Lows are another story, of course: there’s barely any bass to behold, no matter what settings or presets you choose. Still, the Bang & Olufsen DTS Studio Sound post-processing software does yield some authentic benefits.

Battery Life

Although our new results are still hardly great, the EliteBook 745 G3 posted far better battery life results this time around as compared with the disappointing numbers we saw coming out of our WQHD model review. The previous unit posted a Load value of just 1 hour and 16 minutes, an Idle value of 7:22, and—most distressingly—a WiFi Surfing v1.3 time of 3:07. That result is well below most other business notebooks, and is quite frankly inadequate. Instead, today’s machine managed 1:21 under load, lasted for 9:24 while idle, and clocked a much more reasonable 5:39 while surfing.

The differences here are most likely attributable to both a lower display panel power consumption (WQHD versus 1080p resolution) and possibly better power management under Windows 10. Still, these results are far below the likes of the Latitude E7450 (7:02), the Portege Z30t (7:46), and especially, the ThinkPad T450s (10:48). Once again, the efficiency of Intel’s latest offerings carves a wide ravine between notebooks powered by their chips versus those from AMD.

Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Maximum runtime (Readers Test)
Maximum runtime (Readers Test)
Wi-Fi Surfing v1.3
Wi-Fi Surfing v1.3
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
9h 24min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
5h 39min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 21min

Pros

+ relatively sturdy, metal case
+ excellent keyboard
+ comfortable and precise touchpad
+ fast SSD
+ very good general system performance
+ bright, matte 1080p screen
+ competitively priced
+ comfortable case temperatures
+ clear, loud speakers
+ empty 2.5-inch drive bay with M.2 SSD configurations

Cons

- inconvenient maintenance
- poor color reproduction and middling contrast
- PWM at all but the highest brightness
- CPU/GPU performance is heavily constrained by TDP
- distracting CPU whine
- below-average battery life for its class

Verdict

The HP EliteBook 745 G3
The HP EliteBook 745 G3

Last week’s review of the HP EliteBook 745 G3 opened the conversation regarding a lower-cost alternative to the typical high-priced business notebooks. Since it retains much of the EliteBook 800 series design highlights, the 745 G3 reaps many of the relevant benefits that help to make that a top-tier competitor in the business segment. However, sporting AMD Pro components rather than Intel, the cost is considerably lower than most other competitors. Today’s unit takes that strategy a step further with a cheaper display panel that drops the total cost to just $1,049 MSRP. In spite of this, the EliteBook 745 G3 still grants you a terrific keyboard and great touchpad, attractive and rigid casing, quick general performance, flexible maintenance, and a great warranty.

The biggest advantage of this EliteBook 745 G3 configuration is the opportunity to sacrifice some degree of processing performance and battery life—as well as screen quality—in exchange for a business machine with all the rest of the typical sensibilities for a considerably lower cost.

Where the rest of the compromises arise is, as before, in the realms of processing performance and battery life. Hampered notably by a 28 nm architecture, AMD’s latest APUs—while much improved and certainly offering enticing benefits in the way of graphical capability—still cannot compete with the highly efficient top-grade offerings from Intel. Whether this is of concern to the average business consumer, on the other hand, is a different question entirely. For those who spend much of the day near a power outlet and whose activities primarily consist of general business tasks, the EliteBook 745 G3 might seem like a rational compromise.

HP EliteBook 745 G3 - 01/28/2016 v4.1(old)
Steve Schardein

Chassis
84 / 98 → 86%
Keyboard
86%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
70 / 80 → 88%
Weight
68 / 20-67 → 100%
Battery
90%
Display
76%
Games Performance
79 / 68 → 100%
Application Performance
78 / 92 → 85%
Temperature
91%
Noise
90%
Audio
70%
Camera
71 / 85 → 84%
Average
80%
84%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP EliteBook 745 G3 (FHD) Notebook Review
Steve Schardein, 2016-01-29 (Update: 2016-02-20)
Steve Schardein
Steve Schardein - Review Editor - @othersteve
In grade school, my first computer—an Apple IIGS—started it all for me. Later, in the nineties, if I wasn’t repairing computers for family and friends, I was busy cooking up nifty Visual Basic projects and playing PC games like Command & Conquer and Heroes of Might and Magic. Soon, much of my free time was spent moderating popular gaming forums and covering the industry for various websites. All the while, I never stopped repairing computers, and in 2006, I started a technology consulting company in Louisville, KY—Triple-S Computers—which I have been fortunate to nurture to great success by specializing in not only repairs, but also new machine consultations and purchasing, data recovery, and malware/security. And since 2012, I have proudly contributed many dozens of reviews to Notebookcheck, a site which I have long considered to be the ultimate authority on laptops and related technology. Today, I am truly living my dream: still a child at heart, ever-curious, constantly learning, and thankful to you, our readers.