Notebookcheck

HP EliteBook 840 G3 Notebook Review

Sebastian Jentsch (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 04/26/2016

Just missed. With the third generation 840-series EliteBooks, HP has big ambitions aiming to compete with the best lightweight business notebooks. But there is a problem that already has a traditional link with the manufacturer.
Update 04/18/2016: Excellent WQHD panel

HP EliteBook 840 G3 – HP unfortunately still uses a TN panel. Still a perfect worker?
HP EliteBook 840 G3 – HP unfortunately still uses a TN panel. Still a perfect worker?

For the original German review, see here.

After the review of the 14-inch Latitude E7470, which scored a very good 89%, we continue with one of the biggest rivals: The EliteBook 840 G3 is HP's answer to Dell's business Ultrabook. A look at the final score immediately shows: 87%, so Dell has the upper hand in terms of build quality and choice of components. Why does the EliteBook 840 G3 miss a very good rating? Read on to find out.

Rivals for the EliteBook are the ThinkPad T450s (1300 Euros/~$1477) or T460s respectively, the Latitude E7470 (2300 Euros/~$2614) and the Acer TravelMate P645 (1329 Euros/~$1510). HP also offers the Ultrabook HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 (2000 Euros/~$2273), which is currently under review. Our test model of the 840 G3 is not defined as an Ultrabook, but HP also offers a touch version for a small premium. 1500 Euros (~$1704) is the online price for our version, T9X59ET#ABD, with a Core i7-6500U, 256 GB SSD and FHD panel. Not a bargain, but not too expensive compared with the mentioned rivals (review configurations), either.

We will find out why the EliteBook 840 G3 can meet high requirements on the one hand, but also fails to meet its own goals in some areas.

Update 04/18/2016: Excellent WQHD panel

The HP EliteBook 840 G3 turned out to be a versatile business notebook, but it was not a fully convincing package with the TN panel (1920 x 1080). Now we had the chance to test the version with the WQHD panel (non-touch, T9X23ET#ABD) and we are impressed. All the information is available in the sections Display, Battery Runtime and Verdict.

HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD (EliteBook 840 Series)
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 520, Core: 300 - 1050 MHz, shared Memory, 20.19.15.4331
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR4, 2133 MHz, Dual-Channel, both slots in use
Display
14 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, Chi Mei CMN14C0, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP, 256 GB 
, 164 GB free
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
1 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 VGA, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combined headphones/microphone , 3.5 mm stereo jack, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: Accelerometer
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-V (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/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 Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, MS Office (Trial), Skype, Foxit PhantomPDF, CyberLink PowerDVD 12, several HP tools, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.58 kg ( = 55.73 oz / 3.48 pounds), Power Supply: 164 g ( = 5.78 oz / 0.36 pounds)
Price
1695 €

 

Case

No flaws here, which is true for many parts of the chassis. The 14-inch notebook is surprisingly light, but 1.58 kilograms (~3.5 lb) is still easily beaten by the EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 (1.4 kg/~3.1 lb). The real rivals ThinkPad T450s (1.8 kg/~4 lb) and Dell Latitude 14 E7470 (1.7 kg/~3.7 lb) on the other hand are much heavier. One of the main reasons is the lower battery capacity of the 840 G3 (46 Wh); Latitude and T450s come with 55 and 96 Wh modules, respectively, so the weight difference would be very small with similar batteries.

The base is made of plastics, only the silver top of the base unit has a painted aluminum finish. The former is solid and torsion-resistant, while the latter provides a cool tactile feel for the hands. All the keys are well-integrated, which ensure a firm and hard key stroke. 

The lid is very thin, somewhat flexible and the hinges are smooth. Pressure on the frame will result in pressure points on the screen. This can be particularly noticeable when handling the notebook at the upper frame, where TFT is probably connected too tightly to the frame. Pressure on the back of the lid does not create ripples on the screen. You can easily open the lid with one hand, but it is still well-adjusted so there is no bouncing. However, the lid will open to its maximum angle of around 145 degrees when you carry it around.

HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3
HP EliteBook 840 G3

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Connectivity

HP has implemented a modern USB Type-C port 3.1, but only Gen. 1, which is a typical USB 3.0 in terms of performance with another connector. DisplayPort or Thunderbolt are not supported by the port and you cannot use it to charge the device via USB Type-C. But there is no reason to moan, because you also get a full-size DisplayPort. This is rare since most notebooks – if at all –come with only a Mini-DisplayPort. The UltraSlim docking station, where you can put the 840 G3 on, comes with all the necessary ports including VGA d-Sub, DisplayPort or 4x USB 3.0. The dock retails for 140 to 150 Euros (~$159 to ~$170).

We use our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II reference SD card to check the performance of the card reader. The maximum transfer rate is up to 83.6 MB/s when you copy large files, while typical jpg-pictures (~5 MB each) are transferred at 61 MB/s. These are average results that we can see from many card readers.

left side: Kensington, fan exhaust, VGA, USB 3.0, SmartCard
left side: Kensington, fan exhaust, VGA, USB 3.0, SmartCard
right side: USB 3.1 Type-C, DisplayPort, audio in/out, USB 3.0, Ethernet, docking port (bottom), SIM slot
right side: USB 3.1 Type-C, DisplayPort, audio in/out, USB 3.0, Ethernet, docking port (bottom), SIM slot

Communication

Thanks to Ethernet (1 Gbps) and Dual-Band Wireless-AC 8260 as well as Bluetooth 4.1, you should not have any problems to establish wired or wireless connections. The Wi-Fi module supports Wireless Display, but the antennas do not seem to be as good as the recently reviewed Latitude E7470. The connection dropped at around 35 meters (~115 ft; outside the building) to the router (Fritz!Box 7490 AC). The E7470 still had a connection at 50 to 60 meters (~164 to 197 ft) in the same environment. An LTE modem is an optional extra, and the antennas are already integrated. The hs3110 HSPA+ broadband module costs around 103 Euros (~$117) from HP.

Webcam

The webcam produces mediocre results with low sharpness and washed-out colors. This is sufficient for Skype or similar applications, but you should take your smartphone for pictures.

1280 x 720 pixels with a lot of noise, ...
1280 x 720 pixels with a lot of noise, ...
... washed-out surfaces and unreal colors.
... washed-out surfaces and unreal colors.
Reference EOS 1100D
Reference EOS 1100D

Security

Kensington Lock and fingerprint are the obvious security features of the EliteBook 840 G3. There are even more when we look at the BIOS; the software as well as the sensors. An accelerometer is supposed to park the read/write heads of the HDD when the device is dropped. However, this would only be useful if the test device had such an HDD. As per usual for EliteBooks, the BIOS (controlled with the mouse) has numerous possibilities to activate/deactivate ports and hardware as well as the configuration of individual components, such as the Turbo Boost settings of the processor, for instance. The item Security includes the setup of a DriveLock for the storage drive or performs a Secure Erase. TPM 1.2 can be activated just like a Power-On password.

Accessories

Except for the 45-watt power adaptor, the EliteBook does not come with any accessories, but the manufacturer offers various additional items.

  • HP DisplayPort-to-VDI-Adapter 
  • HP SATA-HDD, 500 GB, 7200 rpm
  • HP SED Opal 2 Solid-State Disk 256 GB 
  • HP Display and Notebook II Stand

Maintenance

HP has dispensed with maintenance hatches for RAM upgrades and the like, the same as an easily replaceable battery. You have to remove the entire bottom cover, which is quite simple after the removal of rubber covers and Philips screws. After that you will find a nice collection of components that you can replace or upgrade, including the bolted battery.

it is not hard to lift the bottom cover
it is not hard to lift the bottom cover
Free slot for a 1.2-inch SATA drive
Free slot for a 1.2-inch SATA drive
M.2-SSD next to the empty slot for the LTE modem
M.2-SSD next to the empty slot for the LTE modem
Fan and 2x RAM slot (DDR4)
Fan and 2x RAM slot (DDR4)

Warranty

HP sells the EliteBook 840 G3 with a three-year warranty. Business customers can benefit from CarePacks when buying directly from the manufacturer. A one-year international hardware support (next business day) after the original warranty, for example, retails for around 260 Euros (~$295).

Keyboard

Very good input devices do not have to be changed constantly. HP follows this principle and has not changed them compared to the old G1/G2. Well, not quite, since the keys are on a silver perforated grid made of plastic and not on a black surface. The contours of the keys are now easier to see, but this is not important for 10-finger typing. The layout is identical, only the vertical arrow keys and the right Shift key are slightly wider. The keys are now sitting in a gently sloping depression, which was formerly created by a black plastic bed. 

After these little changes, the keyboard with its firm pressure point and the average travel is still a convenient input device. A slight bouncing in the center – as in the predecessor – is no longer a problem. The keys are completely flat and there is no conical curvature. Unfortunate, since the Latitude E7470 and the T460s are better in this respect. The latter also provides more travel and a better feedback in general. 

Touchpad & TrackPoint

The touchpad provides excellent gliding capabilities and precision. The two corresponding mouse buttons have a conveniently firm but cushioned stroke and a well-defined pressure point. The pad is responsive up into the peripheral areas and has a smooth surface. It can be deactivated via a double tap on a small dot (which will then light up).

Another alternative to control the cursor is the so called Pointstick. It is a matter of getting used to, but a precise and very ergonomic control of the cursor is definitely possible. The small joystick has two dedicated buttons. Unfortunately, unlike the Latitude E7470, there is no scroll functionality.

Display

Subpixel arrangement Chi Mei CMN14C0 (TN)
Subpixel arrangement Chi Mei CMN14C0 (TN)

The 14-inch device (16:9) has 1920x1080 pixels (Full HD). The Chi Mei CMN14C0 panel has an anti-reflective surface and a high luminance, which is not reduced on battery power. Other display options are HD (1366x768 TN matte) and WQHD (2560x1440 IPS matte). HP uses PWM to reduce the luminance when the brightness is reduced to below 90%. Unfortunately, the frequency is low at 204 Hz, which some users will notice as flickering.

The black value of 0.65 is bad, because it is far too high, so the resulting contrast ratio is quite low at 563:1. Subjectively, you can notice pale colors and a gray hue on black surfaces. The competition performs better; all the comparison devices are equipped with IPS panels and mange contrast values of above 800:1.

Update 04/18/2016: Information about the WQHD panel in the Display section II below.

326
cd/m²
337
cd/m²
320
cd/m²
328
cd/m²
366
cd/m²
326
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
344
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 366 cd/m² Average: 335.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 346 cd/m²
Contrast: 563:1 (Black: 0.65 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 10.26 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 11.51 | - Ø
74% sRGB (Argyll) 47% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.4
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
FHD 1920x1080 TN
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
WQHD 2560x1440 IPS Touch
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
FHD 1920x1080 IPS
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
WQHD 2560x1440 IPS
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
WQHD 2560x1440 IPS
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
FHD 1920x1080 IPS
Response Times
-10%
-8%
3%
-7%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
43 (20, 23)
48 (15, 33)
-12%
42 (19.6, 22.4)
2%
35.6 (17.2, 18.4)
17%
46.4 (16.4, 30)
-8%
Response Time Black / White *
25 (9, 16)
27 (7, 20)
-8%
29.2 (16, 13.2)
-17%
29.2 (14.4, 14.8)
-17%
26.4 (6.8, 19.6)
-6%
PWM Frequency
204 (90)
220 (90)
8%
Screen
52%
21%
36%
36%
30%
Brightness
336
354
5%
211
-37%
248
-26%
316
-6%
309
-8%
Brightness Distribution
87
81
-7%
89
2%
94
8%
87
0%
82
-6%
Black Level *
0.65
0.26
60%
0.22
66%
0.26
60%
0.35
46%
0.4
38%
Contrast
563
1462
160%
1027
82%
988
75%
934
66%
828
47%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
10.26
3.11
70%
6.44
37%
4.59
55%
4.39
57%
4.07
60%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
11.51
4.35
62%
5.87
49%
6.38
45%
4.69
59%
4.86
58%
Gamma
2.4 100%
2.37 101%
2.37 101%
2.51 96%
2.15 112%
2.49 96%
CCT
12725 51%
6771 96%
6856 95%
6238 104%
7101 92%
6109 106%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
47
62
32%
39.58
-16%
65
38%
62.52
33%
59
26%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
74
96
30%
61.15
-17%
98
32%
96.71
31%
90.6
22%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
21% / 39%
7% / 15%
20% / 27%
15% / 27%
30% / 30%

* ... smaller is better

We use a spectrophotometer to determine the color space, and the result is just as bad as the contrast. sRGB is covered by just 74%, which will not be sufficient for professional graphic artists, because the panel just cannot display some colors. Other colors suffer from a distinct blue cast. This is the situation ex-works, but the effect can be reduced significantly with the linked color profile. This will not help much though, because the panel has DeltaE deviations of 10 and 11.5 (ColorChecker and Grayscale), respectively. The target area should be a value less than 3. The IPS based rivals do not manage this either, but they are much closer with results between 3 to 5. This means that the colors on the panel do not really represent defined colors of the sRGB reference. The differences are easy to see with the naked eye, which is supported by the high DeltaE and you can see it in the CalMAN saturation screenshot under Target and Actual.

CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
HP EliteBook 840 G3 vs. AdobeRGB
HP EliteBook 840 G3 vs. AdobeRGB
HP EliteBook 840 G3 vs. sRGB
HP EliteBook 840 G3 vs. sRGB

High luminance and anti-reflective surface ensure good outdoor capabilities, especially since there is no brightness sensor interfering, where the luminance is adjusted to the ambient light, for example. You can see a comparison between the matte IPS panel of the Toshiba Z30-C and the matte TN panel of the review unit on the last screenshot. The paler colors of the review unit are quite easy to see. HP uses matte IPS panels, such as the one in the Folio 1040 G3. It would be a real advancement if this WQHD panel was inside the 840 G3. The contrast is much better and sRGB is covered almost completely.

Chi Mei CMN14C0 in the sun
Chi Mei CMN14C0 in the sun
high luminance, hardly any limitations
high luminance, hardly any limitations
HP 840 G3 (TN) vs. Toshiba Z30-C (IPS, top)
HP 840 G3 (TN) vs. Toshiba Z30-C (IPS, top)
HP 840 G3 (TN) vs. Toshiba Z30-C (IPS, top)
HP 840 G3 (TN) vs. Toshiba Z30-C (IPS, top)

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
25 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 9 ms rise
↘ 16 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 36 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.7 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
43 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 20 ms rise
↘ 23 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. » 58 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (42.8 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 204 Hz90 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 204 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 90 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 204 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 57 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 6262 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The picture with contours, colors and the luminance is pretty good when you look from the side, but only up to a 45 degree angle, where colors will start to invert. The situation is really bad with vertical shifts, where colors will invert even with small movements and the result does not look very good anymore. It will be tricky to watch a movie or show colleagues a presentation, because not everyone will have an ideal viewing position.

Viewing angles 840 G3 with FHD 1920x1080 TN
Viewing angles 840 G3 with FHD 1920x1080 TN
EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 with WQHD IPS
EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 with WQHD IPS

Update 04/18/2016: Measurements of the WQHD panel

The display of the model T9X23ET#ABD for 1,700 Euros has 2560 x 1440 pixels and an anti-reflective surface. It is the IPS model without a touchscreen. The luminance is similar to the TN model, just like the matte surface. But that is all, all the other aspects like contrast, DeltaE, PWM (not determined), sRGB coverage and brightness distribution are better on the WQHD model. This results in a display rating of 82 % for TN-HD vs. 87.6 % for the WQHD IPS.

349
cd/m²
364
cd/m²
335
cd/m²
348
cd/m²
355
cd/m²
323
cd/m²
318
cd/m²
321
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 364 cd/m² Average: 334.7 cd/m² Minimum: 29 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 355 cd/m²
Contrast: 1268:1 (Black: 0.28 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.75 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 4.84 | - Ø
98% sRGB (Argyll) 63% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.33
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
FHD 1920x1080 TN
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X23ET
WQHD 2560x1440 IPS
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
WQHD 2560x1440 IPS Touch
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20F9003SGE
FHD 1920x1080 IPS
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
WQHD 2560x1440 IPS
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
WQHD 2560x1440 IPS
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
FHD 1920x1080 IPS
Response Times
-15%
-10%
-8%
3%
-7%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
43 (20, 23)
45 (15, 30)
-5%
48 (15, 33)
-12%
42 (19.6, 22.4)
2%
35.6 (17.2, 18.4)
17%
46.4 (16.4, 30)
-8%
Response Time Black / White *
25 (9, 16)
31 (8, 23)
-24%
27 (7, 20)
-8%
29.2 (16, 13.2)
-17%
29.2 (14.4, 14.8)
-17%
26.4 (6.8, 19.6)
-6%
PWM Frequency
204 (90)
220 (90)
8%
Screen
45%
52%
21%
36%
36%
30%
Brightness
336
335
0%
354
5%
211
-37%
248
-26%
316
-6%
309
-8%
Brightness Distribution
87
82
-6%
81
-7%
89
2%
94
8%
87
0%
82
-6%
Black Level *
0.65
0.28
57%
0.26
60%
0.22
66%
0.26
60%
0.35
46%
0.4
38%
Contrast
563
1268
125%
1462
160%
1027
82%
988
75%
934
66%
828
47%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
10.26
3.75
63%
3.11
70%
6.44
37%
4.59
55%
4.39
57%
4.07
60%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
11.51
4.84
58%
4.35
62%
5.87
49%
6.38
45%
4.69
59%
4.86
58%
Gamma
2.4 100%
2.33 103%
2.37 101%
2.37 101%
2.51 96%
2.15 112%
2.49 96%
CCT
12725 51%
7536 86%
6771 96%
6856 95%
6238 104%
7101 92%
6109 106%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
47
63
34%
62
32%
39.58
-16%
65
38%
62.52
33%
59
26%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
74
98
32%
96
30%
61.15
-17%
98
32%
96.71
31%
90.6
22%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
15% / 33%
21% / 39%
7% / 15%
20% / 27%
15% / 27%
30% / 30%

* ... smaller is better

AdobeRGB1998 63 %
AdobeRGB1998 63 %
sRGB 98 %
sRGB 98 %

The response time black to white is slightly slower compared to the TN version, but the 50 % grey to 80% grey response time is very similar.

Response time black to white
Response time black to white
Response time 50% grey to 80% grey
Response time 50% grey to 80% grey

We would describe the surface as semi-matte, so not completely matte. This is also visible in our outdoor screenshots. The TN panel was a bit better in this respect. The luminance is not reduced on battery power, so there is no artificial limitation to save power. The viewing angles are excellent, which can be expected from an IPS panel.

Viewing angles 840 G3 with WQHD matte IPS
Viewing angles 840 G3 with WQHD matte IPS
Overcast sky (WQHD)
Overcast sky (WQHD)
Sunny – reflections from the panel (WQHD)
Sunny – reflections from the panel (WQHD)
Overcast sky (WQHD)
Overcast sky (WQHD)

Performance

EliteBooks from the 840 G3 series start at 1260 Euros (~$1432). Entry-level configurations are equipped with a conventional hard drive, Core i5-6200U as well as 4 GB of RAM. You get a free M.2-slot, a second memory slot and a slot for the LTE modem, so upgrades are no problem. The current top model is equipped with a Core i7-6500U, 256 GB SSD, 8 GB of RAM and a matte high-resolution panel with 2560x1440 pixels. Our review unit has only the FHD screen and no LTE modem (but is WWAN-ready).

GPU-Z HD Graphics 520
CPU-Z CPU
CPU-Z Caches
CPU-Z Mainboard
CPU-Z Memory
CPU-Z SPD
Latency Checker
 

Processor

The 6500U is currently the second-fastest 15-watt mobile processor, so users are well-equipped for demanding standard applications. The performance is not on a workstation level, which would require a 45-watt Skylake or Broadwell processor. Those are available in HP's workstations such as the HP ZBook 15 G2, which is currently ranked third in our Workstation Top 10.

Looking at the performance of the 6500U, it will be interesting to see if the SoC can utilize the performance. The Turbo Boost is often limited, depending on the cooling solution or cautious temperature limits, so the performance of the 6500U can vary depending on the device. Such a thermal throttling can drop the clock below the nominal value in the worst case, which would be a significant performance limitation compared to the specifications.

However, this is not the case for our HP 840 G3, so there should not be any issues here. Cinebench Multi is executed with 3.0 GHz and determines 322 points, which is almost on par with the high-end Core i7 inside the Latitude 14 or the T460s, respectively. This clock can be maintained for quite a while; our Cinebench Multi loop ran for 30 minutes and the processor was still running at 3.0 GHz with the activated fans.

The single-core performance, which is important in practice, is about 19% behind the 6600U, which seems to be acceptable. The iGPU runs with clocks between 998 and 1047 MHz, which is also the case when we stress the CPU simultaneously. No criticism here.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
119 Points ∼84%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
142 Points ∼100% +19%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
141 Points ∼99% +18%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
124 Points ∼87% +4%
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
91 Points ∼64% -24%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
322 Points ∼93%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
334 Points ∼96% +4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
347 Points ∼100% +8%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
303 Points ∼87% -6%
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
250 Points ∼72% -22%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
119 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
322 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
36.1 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.9 %
Help

System Performance

The application performance is first-rate, which is clearly shown by PCMark 8. The rivals (also with SSDs) are pretty much on par and the differences are in the single-digit range, which is negligible. Only the Broadwell based Acer TravelMate P645-S can fall behind by 10 to 13%, but even this difference is not that important in practice. The T460s with its i7-6600U and the PCIe 3.0 x3 NVMe-SSD from Samsung (SM951a) is really fast.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
4275 Points ∼94%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
4543 Points ∼100% +6%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
4442 Points ∼98% +4%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
4241 Points ∼93% -1%
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
3698 Points ∼81% -13%
Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
3231 Points ∼91%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
3344 Points ∼94% +3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
3542 Points ∼100% +10%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
3305 Points ∼93% +2%
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
2919 Points ∼82% -10%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3231 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4275 points
Help

Storage Devices

Samsung's SSD PM851 (256 GB, 164 GB free for the user) does not perform very well in the storage benchmarks. It usually falls behind the PM851 M.2 2280 and clearly behind the SM951 (T460s / Folio 1040 G3) in most sub-scores. The result is a general performance advantage for the rivals, which is – see PCMark 8 – also reflected in the measured application performance. HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 and the ThinkPad T460s manage much higher transfer rates thanks to their NVMe modules with Samsung's UBX controller, both for read and write operations.

HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
18%
285%
246%
10%
Write 4k
82.57
110.9
34%
139.3
69%
159.9
94%
66.38
-20%
Read 4k
27.02
36.32
34%
51.35
90%
53.26
97%
28.73
6%
Write 512
241.8
214
-11%
1506
523%
1244
414%
346.8
43%
Read 512
396
470.8
19%
1339
238%
1252
216%
336.8
-15%
Write Seq
241.4
300.7
25%
1530
534%
1265
424%
343.2
42%
Read Seq
497.8
518.2
4%
1778
257%
1649
231%
506.1
2%
AS SSD
7%
202%
223%
-2%
4K-64 Write
190.58
170
-11%
366.01
92%
344.34
81%
169.17
-11%
4K-64 Read
362.03
336.08
-7%
968.26
167%
1857.85
413%
194.66
-46%
4K Write
72.37
85.05
18%
114.4
58%
126.62
75%
58.01
-20%
4K Read
25.24
30.91
22%
45.41
80%
47.72
89%
31.82
26%
Seq Write
231.6
283.73
23%
1407.23
508%
1190.29
414%
324.56
40%
Seq Read
504.62
495.53
-2%
2039.37
304%
1839.05
264%
501.68
-1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
13% / 12%
244% / 243%
235% / 234%
4% / 4%
Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Sequential Read: 497.8 MB/s
Sequential Write: 241.4 MB/s
512K Read: 396 MB/s
512K Write: 241.8 MB/s
4K Read: 27.02 MB/s
4K Write: 82.57 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 388.5 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 242.8 MB/s

GPU Performance

The benchmark scores of the HD Graphics 520 are not overwhelming, but on the expected level. It runs with a core clock of up to 1047 MHz, also on battery. Because of the single-channel memory configuration (1 memory module) though, it cannot utilize its maximum performance, so the results are slightly worse in both the 3D benchmarks as well as the gaming tests. The disadvantage could be compensated by a secondary memory module, and you can expect about 10% more performance with a dual-channel system.

The HD Graphics 5500 GPU of the Broadwell based TravelMate P645-S is just beaten (19 and 6 %, respectively), if the latter runs in a dual-channel memory configuration. One new feature of the Skylake GPUs is the integrated H.265 decoder. The H.265 format is the successor to the familiar H.264 format. The decoder relieves the CPU during the playback of corresponding videos. We can also see the single-channel disadvantage in our gaming tests, because the T460s and the XPS 13 have dual-channel memory. The T450s with the dedicated Nvidia GPU is obviously the fastest device in this comparison.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
1468 Points ∼62%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
1418 Points ∼60% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
1600 Points ∼67% +9%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
2380 Points ∼100% +62%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
1539 Points ∼65% +5%
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
1183 Points ∼50% -19%
3DMark - 1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
5346 Points ∼87%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
5173 Points ∼84% -3%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
6097 Points ∼99% +14%
Lenovo ThinkPad T450s-20BWS1UT00
GeForce 940M, 5200U, Samsung SSD PM871 MZ7LN256HCHP
6134 Points ∼100% +15%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
5471 Points ∼89% +2%
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
5000 Points ∼82% -6%
3DMark 11 Performance
1468 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5346 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
751 points
Help
BioShock Infinite - 1280x720 Very Low Preset (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
44 fps ∼79%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
47.6 fps ∼85% +8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
55.7 fps ∼100% +27%
Dell XPS 13 2016 i7 256GB QHD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung PM951 NVMe MZ-VLV256D
51.4 fps ∼92% +17%
Dell Latitude 14 E5470
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
36.4 fps ∼65% -17%
The Witcher 3 - 1024x768 Low Graphics & Postprocessing (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
8.3 fps ∼86%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
9.7 fps ∼100% +17%
Rise of the Tomb Raider - 1024x768 Lowest Preset (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
10.9 fps ∼77%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
14.1 fps ∼100% +29%
Dell Latitude 14 E5470
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Liteon L8H-256V2G
13 fps ∼92% +19%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 4422.618.5fps
The Witcher 3 (2015) 8.36.1fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 10.98fps

Emissions

System Noise

Speaker characteristics
Speaker characteristics

The noise development of the HP 840 G3 is restrained; the fans will often be completely deactivated while idling, but sometimes also with the High-Performance power profile. Thanks to the SSD, the system will be silent in these cases. The BIOS option "Fan always on while on AC Power" was deactivated for our review device. The cooling solution is pretty busy under load and the noise with CPU load only (no throttling) will be higher compared to the stress test. We can determine 37.8 dB(A) with a loop of Prime95, while the stress test results in only 35.3 dB(A).

HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Noise
6%
6%
8%
6%
off / environment *
31.2
31.2
-0%
29.2
6%
29.1
7%
Idle Minimum *
31.2
31.2
-0%
29.2
6%
29.1
7%
29.6
5%
Idle Average *
32.1
31.2
3%
29.2
9%
29.1
9%
29.6
8%
Idle Maximum *
33.1
31.2
6%
29.2
12%
29.1
12%
30.2
9%
Load Average *
36.2
31.9
12%
33.7
7%
32.6
10%
35.6
2%
Load Maximum *
37.8
31.9
16%
38.5
-2%
37.8
-0%
35.9
5%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
31.2 / 32.1 / 33.1 dB(A)
DVD
0 / dB(A)
Load
36.2 / 37.8 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1 Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 31.2 dB(A)

Temperature

Stress test: Prime95 & FurMark simultaneously @2.4 GHz
Stress test: Prime95 & FurMark simultaneously @2.4 GHz

The higher noise under normal load (3DMark or Prime95) has the following reason: The SoC drops to 2.4 GHz within seconds in the stress test, which is 100 MHz below the nominal clock. Many laptops in the 15-watt class show a similar behavior, simultaneous maximum load for the graphics card (IGP) and the processor creates too much heat, so the system will throttle. We do not think this is a problem unless the load will also drop when we only stress one of the components, but this is not the case here. As soon as we turn off the FurMark part of the stress test, the CPU clock will return to the Turbo range of 3.0 GHz. The integrated GPU runs at 998 to 1047 MHz when we stress the CPU at the same time, so there is no criticism here.

HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Heat
1%
-9%
-21%
-12%
Maximum Upper Side *
37
38.2
-3%
40.8
-10%
43.2
-17%
41.6
-12%
Maximum Bottom *
37.1
36.5
2%
40.3
-9%
47.1
-27%
41.7
-12%
Idle Upper Side *
25.3
25.1
1%
27.6
-9%
30.5
-21%
30.6
-21%
Idle Bottom *
26.6
25.8
3%
28.7
-8%
31.5
-18%
27.5
-3%

* ... smaller is better

 24 °C24.7 °C25.3 °C 
 23.7 °C24.8 °C25.2 °C 
 23.5 °C23.6 °C24.7 °C 
Maximum: 25.3 °C
Average: 24.4 °C
26.6 °C26 °C25.1 °C
26.1 °C26 °C24.8 °C
25.2 °C24.9 °C24.2 °C
Maximum: 26.6 °C
Average: 25.4 °C
Power Supply (max.)  30.2 °C | Room Temperature 21.4 °C | FIRT 550-Pocket

Speakers

Pink Noise
Pink Noise

The clear, but only sufficiently loud stereo speakers perform well for common office tasks, and the sound for videos is also okay. However, you should not expect powerful bass or differentiated high tones from the sound system. The stereo jack for external speakers delivers a clear and noise-free signal.

Voice recordings with the dual array microphone are loud and clear, even when the speaker is 2 meters (~6.5 ft) away with their back towards the laptop. The only criticism is a slight echo. We have not experienced better microphone recordings for a laptop so far, which would require a high-quality headset or a directional microphone.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The good runtimes already indicate a frugal power consumption. And the measured values are actually very low with about 4 up to 7 watts while idling. 28 watts under maximum load is the result of throttling and the 3DMark 2006 scene consumes up to 34 watts. We had already noticed this behavior in the review of the Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470, where the SoC of the 14-inch device would throttle as well. This is not the case for the T460s, which is evident when you look at the maximum consumption. Its 6600U runs at the nominal clock of 2.6 GHz, while the GPU fluctuates between 300 and 1050 MHz and the consumption will vary between 20 and 25 watts. The 6600 can increase the TDP to 25 watts (configurable TDP, cTDP) for short periods.

HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
HD Graphics 520, 6600U, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6300U, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
HD Graphics 5500, 5200U, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Power Consumption
-26%
-19%
-47%
-1%
Idle Minimum *
3.8
5.1
-34%
3.8
-0%
6.3
-66%
3.2
16%
Idle Average *
6.3
8.5
-35%
7.1
-13%
9.4
-49%
6.3
-0%
Idle Maximum *
6.8
10.1
-49%
7.8
-15%
10.1
-49%
8.6
-26%
Load Average *
34.4
35.2
-2%
36.3
-6%
33.3
3%
30.3
12%
Load Maximum *
28.3
31
-10%
46
-63%
49.5
-75%
30.4
-7%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.36 / 0.6 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.8 / 6.3 / 6.8 Watt
Load midlight 34.4 / 28.3 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

The battery runtime is quite good with 7:33 hours, especially when you consider the comparatively small battery capacity (46 Wh): Latitude E7470 and ThinkPad T460s have 55 and 49 Wh modules, but both fall behind by around 25% in the Wi-Fi test. The Folio G3 also has a 46 Wh battery, but also falls behind. Acer (54 Wh) shows that an inexpensive system can manage extreme battery runtimes as well, because it runs almost 1.5 hours longer.

Update 04/18/2016: The Wi-Fi runtime with the WQHD panel is 6:06 hours, which is about 1.5 hours shorter than the TN-FHD version with the same settings.

Battery Runtime
Reader / Idle (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
1020 min ∼38%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
min ∼0%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
833 min ∼31%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
530 min ∼20%
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
1143 min ∼42%
WiFi v1.3 (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
453 min ∼17%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
346 min ∼13%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
340 min ∼13%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
309 min ∼11%
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
535 min ∼20%
Load (sort by value)
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD
146 min ∼5%
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470
112 min ∼4%
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE
62 min ∼2%
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3
131 min ∼5%
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK
113 min ∼4%

Legend

 
HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZNTE256HMHP
 
Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470 Intel Core i7-6600U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD PM851 M.2 2280 256GB
 
Lenovo ThinkPad T460s-20FA003GGE Intel Core i7-6600U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512)
 
HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G3 Intel Core i5-6300U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SM951 MZVPV256HDGL m.2 PCI-e
 
Acer TravelMate P645-S-58HK Intel Core i5-5200U, Intel HD Graphics 5500, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
17h 00min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
7h 33min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 26min

Pros

+ sturdy chassis
+ good build quality
+ excellent input devices
+ good application performance
+ long battery runtimes
+ free M.2 slot
+ prepared for an LTE/3G modem
+ 3 years warranty

Cons

- low-contrast display with limited viewing angles

Verdict

In review: HP EliteBook 840 G3. Test model courtesy of HP Germany
In review: HP EliteBook 840 G3. Test model courtesy of HP Germany

Unfortunately, HP does not present a balanced configuration that would justify the high price tag. It is clearly an ambitious device, but in our opinion, the TN panel with its limited viewing angles, poor contrast and low color accuracy is not a good choice for this price range, which is also reflected by the rating. The Latitude E7470 managed a display rating of 86% despite the glossy touchscreen, and the HP 840 G3 scores "only" 82%. The webcam is also pretty bad and the connectivity is not that good, either. All these things are the reason why the 840 G3 business device misses a very good rating and has to live with the second place behind the Latitude E7470.

The EliteBook is definitely not a bad notebook, which is supported by the items on our pro-list. Runtimes, docking options, upgradeability, best input devices and obviously a lot of performance – many positive aspects of the 14-inch notebook. The 3K version of the 840 G3 with 2560x1440 pixels might be a candidate for a very good rating, because the manufacturer uses an IPS panel without touchscreen (WQHD-UWVA).

The biggest rivals with a similar price tag are the Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470 (rating 89%) and the ThinkPad T460s (rating 91%). Both of these 14-inch notebooks can be configured comprehensively. Dell and Lenovo already use IPS panels for their FHD models, which is a big advantage over the 840 G3. Latitude E7470 and ThinkPad T460s do not have a 2.5-inch SATA slot, so the 840 G3 is the only device that can be equipped with a SATA HDD/SSD besides the M.2-SSD.

Update 04/18/2016: Excellent WQHD panel

HP offers an excellent semi-matte WQHD panel for the EliteBook 840 G3. It is superior to the Full-HD TN version in almost every respect. Only the outdoor capabilities of the TN model are slightly better at the same luminance, because the anti-reflective coating is more effective. The display rating would be higher with the WQHD panel, even though we did not even use the excellent calibrated values (DeltaE) for our database (but the factory results for comparability). The WQHD panel can be calibrated very well.

The battery runtime unfortunately drops by 1.5 hours in the Wi-Fi test with the WQHD panel. This does eat affect the advantage of the IPS panel a bit, but the display quality will probably be more important for the user. With these results, the HP 840 G3 WQHD would get a total score of 88.0 %.

HP EliteBook 840 G3 T9X59ET#ABD - 04/18/2016 v5.1
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
94 / 98 → 96%
Keyboard
89%
Pointing Device
88%
Connectivity
66 / 80 → 83%
Weight
68 / 67 → 100%
Battery
90%
Display
82%
Games Performance
55 / 68 → 81%
Application Performance
84 / 92 → 91%
Temperature
94%
Noise
89%
Audio
71%
Camera
27 / 85 → 32%
Average
77%
87%
Office - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP EliteBook 840 G3 Notebook Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2016-04-26 (Update: 2016-04-28)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.