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HP EliteBook 840 G4 – What is the best display option?

Andreas Osthoff 👁, Tanja Hinum, 05/26/2017

Better with IPS! We already reviewed the new HP EliteBook 840 G4. One of the biggest issues of the 14-inch business laptop is the TN panel with its limited viewing angles. We now had the chance to check two optional IPS screens.

It is common for manufacturers to offer different display options for their business laptops. This is also the case for the HP EliteBook 840 G4. There is a total of eight panels to choose from, including some HD panels (1366x768 pixels) and several touchscreens. The laptop managed a good total score (87%) in our comprehensive review about two months ago, but one of the biggest issues was the TN panel. Brightness and resolution were okay, but it was tricky to find a good position in front of the system due to the very limited viewing angles.

We now had the chance to review two additional displays for the EliteBook 840 G4: the Full HD IPS panel as well as the high-resolution QHD model (or WQHD, respectively) with 2560x1440 pixels, which is also based on the IPS technology. We will only compare the display characteristics as well as the effect on the battery runtime in this article. Detailed information about the case, connectivity, input devices, and the performance is available in our full review.

We want to thank the online store Campuspoint, which provided the additional test models for this comparison. The following table shows the basic characteristics of the three reviewed panels.

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Overview tested displays
QHD Panel Full HD Panel Full HD Panel
Panel size 14-inch 14-inch 14-inch
Resolution 2560x1440 pixels 1920x1080 pixels 1920x1080 pixels
Technology IPS IPS TN
Surface matte matte matte

Measurement Results FHD TN

315
cd/m²
323
cd/m²
311
cd/m²
296
cd/m²
346
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
304
cd/m²
345
cd/m²
311
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
AUO123D
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 346 cd/m² Average: 317.2 cd/m² Minimum: 22.4 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 346 cd/m²
Contrast: 402:1 (Black: 0.86 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 8.64 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 11.24 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
80% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 52% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.62

Measurement Results FHD IPS

279
cd/m²
307
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
274
cd/m²
289
cd/m²
267
cd/m²
252
cd/m²
251
cd/m²
255
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
AUO133D
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 307 cd/m² Average: 273.7 cd/m² Minimum: 13.7 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 292 cd/m²
Contrast: 1700:1 (Black: 0.17 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.7 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 6.4 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
92.3% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 60.3% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.22

Measurement Results QHD

276
cd/m²
280
cd/m²
278
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
340
cd/m²
285
cd/m²
339
cd/m²
332
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
LGD04F3
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 340 cd/m² Average: 303.8 cd/m² Minimum: 15.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 81 %
Center on Battery: 340 cd/m²
Contrast: 1063:1 (Black: 0.32 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.3 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 5.3 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
94.2% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 60.9% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.18

Display

HP's spec sheet includes a lot of display options, but there is no word about TN or IPS. HP uses other names: SVA is short for Standard Viewing Angle and represents the TN technology, while UWVA (Ultra-Wide Viewing Angle) is synonymous for an IPS screen. Unfortunately, HP does not disclose any other specs like the luminance, contrast, or the color gamut.

Subpixel array Full HD TN
Subpixel array Full HD TN
Subpixel array Full HD IPS
Subpixel array Full HD IPS
Subpixel array QHD
Subpixel array QHD

Both the Full HD IPS display and the QHD panel are slightly darker than the TN model at 274 nits and 304 nits, respectively, but black values and contrast ratios are much better in return. This is also noticeable with the naked eye. While the picture of the TN laptop always looked washed-out, both IPS screens provide much more vivid content. No test model suffered from annoying backlight-bleeding or PWM.

HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
AUO123D, TN, 1920x1080
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V22ES ABD
AUO133D, IPS, 1920x1080
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V45ES ABD
LGD04F3, IPS, 2560x1440
Lenovo ThinkPad T470-20HD002HGE
N140HCA-EAB, IPS, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
B140QAN01.5, IPS, 2560x1440
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
LG LP140WF3, IPS LED, 1920x1080
Response Times
7%
3%
-28%
-22%
4%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
39 (20, 19, Plateau)
33.6 (15.6, 18)
14%
37.2 (23.6, 15.6)
5%
41.6 (20.4, 21.2)
-7%
46.4 (20.4, 26)
-19%
36 (16.4, 19.6)
8%
Response Time Black / White *
23 (6, 17, Plateau)
23.2 (13.2, 10)
-1%
22.8 (10.8, 12)
1%
34 (9.6, 24.4)
-48%
28.8 (16.4, 12.4)
-25%
23.2 (12.4, 10.8)
-1%
PWM Frequency
Screen
53%
40%
23%
39%
33%
Brightness middle
346
289
-16%
340
-2%
306
-12%
327
-5%
291
-16%
Brightness
317
274
-14%
304
-4%
287
-9%
311
-2%
296
-7%
Brightness Distribution
86
82
-5%
81
-6%
88
2%
88
2%
84
-2%
Black Level *
0.86
0.17
80%
0.32
63%
0.3
65%
0.25
71%
0.32
63%
Contrast
402
1700
323%
1063
164%
1020
154%
1308
225%
909
126%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
8.64
4.7
46%
4.3
50%
6.2
28%
6.1
29%
4.3
50%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
13.58
8.6
37%
7.5
45%
13.6
-0%
12.2
10%
7.5
45%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
11.24
6.4
43%
5.3
53%
5.8
48%
8.8
22%
4.3
62%
Gamma
2.62 84%
2.22 99%
2.18 101%
2.04 108%
2.18 101%
2.31 95%
CCT
12530 52%
6454 101%
7016 93%
6277 104%
6172 105%
6529 100%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
52
60.3
16%
60.9
17%
39.62
-24%
61.56
18%
55.46
7%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
80
92.3
15%
94.2
18%
61.44
-23%
94.88
19%
84.77
6%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
30% / 45%
22% / 34%
-3% / 15%
9% / 29%
19% / 28%

* ... smaller is better

The distinct blue cast was another problem of the TN display. This is not the case for the IPS models and the results for the color accuracy as well as the color temperatures in general are better ex-works. Both IPS screens are on par in terms of color gamut. The smaller sRGB reference is almost covered completely; AdobeRGB at least by 60%. The TN panel once again falls behind.

CalMAN measurements 840 G4 FHD TN (calibrated)
CalMAN measurements 840 G4 FHD TN (calibrated)
CalMAN measurements 840 G4 FHD IPS (calibrated)
CalMAN measurements 840 G4 FHD IPS (calibrated)
CalMAN measurements 840 G4 QHD (calibrated)
CalMAN measurements 840 G4 QHD (calibrated)

Calibration improves the performance significantly on all three models, and the grayscale deviation in particular is very low as a result. This is also the case for the colors except for some outliers. We definitely recommend using our icc-profiles (available for download in the corresponding boxes on the right). The two IPS screens are actually decent enough for some picture-editing thanks to the good sRGB coverage.

Viewing angles FHD TN
Viewing angles FHD TN
Viewing angles FHD IPS
Viewing angles FHD IPS
Viewing angles QHD
Viewing angles QHD

Probably the biggest advantage of the IPS technology is visible when we compare the viewing-angle stability of the three models. While even small changes from the perfect viewing position in front of the TN screen result in color deviations or lower contrasts, respectively, the IPS screens allow for much more movement. This is an important advantage in practice and definitely a reason to avoid the TN screen if possible.

Thanks to the better measurements, the two IPS displays would also get better scores in the Display sub-rating. The FHD TN panel scores 76%; the Full HD IPS panel scores 85% and the QHD screen scores 88.1%.

Battery Runtime

All three test models of the HP EliteBook 840 G4 are equipped with the same 51-Wh battery. The two Full HD models (both TN as well as IPS) manage almost identical runtimes with a small advantage for the IPS model. They clearly beat the rivals at more than 9.5 hours – including the QHD model of the EliteBook 840 G4. Almost 8 hours is still a very good result, but the difference is pretty substantial at 1.5 hours.

HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V49ET ABD
51 Wh, TN, 1920x1080
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V22ES ABD
51 Wh, IPS, 1920x1080
HP EliteBook 840 G4-Z2V45ES ABD
51 Wh, IPS, 2560x1440
Lenovo ThinkPad T470-20HD002HGE
48 Wh, IPS, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad T470s-20HGS00V00
51 Wh, IPS, 2560x1440
Fujitsu LifeBook U747
50 Wh, IPS LED, 1920x1080
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3
571
578
1%
478
-16%
438
-23%
417
-27%
430
-25%

Verdict

In review: HP EliteBook 840 G4. Full HD TN test model courtesy of Notebook.de; Full HD IPS and QHD test models courtesy of Campuspoint.de
In review: HP EliteBook 840 G4. Full HD TN test model courtesy of Notebook.de; Full HD IPS and QHD test models courtesy of Campuspoint.de

One thing is certain after we tested three different panels: You should definitely select an IPS screen if you are interested in the HP EliteBook 840 G4. The TN panel is a bit brighter, but the IPS models are superior in terms of black value and contrast in return. Our subjective impression confirms this. You can also move around much more freely and do not have to live with the limited viewing angles of the TN panel.

The QHD model is a bit brighter than the Full HD panel, but the two IPS screens are otherwise pretty much on par. Both offer accurate colors (after calibration) and cover the smaller sRGB gamut almost completely. The disadvantage of the higher resolution is the shorter battery runtime – almost 1:40 hours in the realistic WiFi test can be important depending on the planned usage scenario. SKUs with the QHD panel are also a bit more expensive. The addition of an IPS screen makes the EliteBook a very good business laptop.

The EliteBook 840 G4 should be equipped with an IPS screen. Whether it is the Full HD panel or the high-resolution screen mainly depends on your requirements for the battery runtime and if you are willing to pay the higher price.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP EliteBook 840 G4 – What is the best display option?
Andreas Osthoff, 2017-05-26 (Update: 2017-05-27)
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.