Notebookcheck

HP EliteBook 850 G3 Notebook Review

Sascha Mölck (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 04/30/2016

Unsatisfactory screen. HP again delivers a decent, upper-range business laptop with its new EliteBook 850 G3. Unfortunately, the company has made a big mistake with the choice of the installed screen, which ruins the otherwise good impression that the device makes.

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For the original German review, see here.

HP's EliteBook lineup stands for premium-range business laptops. The price level is correspondingly high. A 15.6-inch member of the 3rd generation faces us in the form of the EliteBook 850 G3. Compared with its predecessor, it has been reworked to quite some extent. The new laptop is now slimmer and lighter. It also sports a new CPU generation with the Skylake processors. Our report uncovers whether these innovations are worthwhile. Laptops, such as Lenovo's ThinkPad T560, Toshiba's Tecra Z50-C and Dell's Latitude E5550 are some rivals of the EliteBook.

HP EliteBook 850 G3 (EliteBook 850 Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 520, Core: 300-1000 MHz, single-channel, 20.19.15.4331
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR4-2133, single-channel, two memory banks (one bank filled)
Display
15.6 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel 141 PPI, AU Optronics, TN LED, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006, 256 GB 
, 190 GB free
Soundcard
Conexant @ Intel Skylake PCH - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 0 USB 3.1 Gen2, 1 VGA, 1 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: combo audio, Card Reader: SD, 1 SmartCard, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: GNSS, TPM 1.2
Networking
Intel Ethernet Connection I219-V (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, HP lt4120 Snapdragon X5, LTE
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 19.4 x 383.3 x 257.7 ( = 0.76 x 15.09 x 10.15 in)
Battery
46 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: HD webcam
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, Cyberlink PowerDVD 12, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.88 kg ( = 66.32 oz / 4.14 pounds), Power Supply: 336 g ( = 11.85 oz / 0.74 pounds)
Price
1699 Euro

 

Case

The EliteBook 850 G3 is the direct successor of the EliteBook 850 G2. However, the devices do not feature an identical build. HP again relies on a metal casing composed of aluminum and magnesium for its G3. The base unit's upper side and back of the lid are silver-colored. The base tray and display bezel are black. The G3 is visibly slimmer than its successor. Its weight has also been reduced and now weighs less than 2 kg (4.4 lb). This diet has affected maintenance friendliness though. The G3 no longer features the big maintenance hatch of its predecessor. The base tray has to be removed to access the innards - but more about that later. The laptop is set up like its predecessor inside. Furthermore, the G3 model no longer offers the option of strapping an additional battery on the device's underside.

The EliteBook does not exhibit any shortcoming in build. The device presents decent manufacturing; the gaps are even. The used materials make a quality impression. The stiffness does not give reason for complaint, either. The lid can be warped to a degree, but that does not lead to image distortions. These only become visible when pressing the lid's back, but then only in a few spots. The hinges keep the lid firmly in position and only rock marginally. Opening the lid with one hand is possible.

Connectivity

The laptop's connectivity is not very surprising. HP delivers the diversity of interfaces expected in the business sector. Good: A USB Type C port is installed. HP does not mention the terms USB 3.1 or Thunderbolt in relation with this port, and thus we assume that it is a conventional USB 3.0 port. The number of interfaces can be expanded considerably via the optionally available docking station. The interface positioning is favorable. The areas beside the wrist rest remain free of cables.

Left: Cable lock slot, VGA-out, USB 3.0, SmartCard reader
Left: Cable lock slot, VGA-out, USB 3.0, SmartCard reader
Right: USB Type C, DisplayPort, combo audio, USB 3.0, Gigabit-Ethernet, docking port, SIM card slot, power-in. The SD memory card reader is situated under the display port.
Right: USB Type C, DisplayPort, combo audio, USB 3.0, Gigabit-Ethernet, docking port, SIM card slot, power-in. The SD memory card reader is situated under the display port.

Communication

The EliteBook carries a Wi-Fi module by Intel (Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260). In addition to the 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi standards, it also supports the high-speed ac standard. Furthermore, the module adds Bluetooth 4.2 functionality to the laptop. The connection between laptop and router was always stable. Interruptions did not occur in a 15 meter (49 ft) radius around our router. Intel's Gigabit Ethernet chip (I219-V) takes care of cabled connections. Beyond that, our review sample sports an LTE modem - that is not the case in every EliteBook model. Thus, it is possible to access the Internet via mobile networks. The corresponding SIM card slot supports micro-SIM cards.

Webcam

The installed webcam shoots photos and video at a maximum resolution of 1280x720 pixels.

The camera's pictures are not convincing
The camera's pictures are not convincing

Memory Card Reader

The memory card reader is quite fast. Copying large data blocks was performed at a maximum transfer rate of 84 MB/s. 250 JPG image files (approx. 5 MB each) were transferred at a speed of 67.2 MB/s. We test the memory card reader with our Toshiba Exceria Pro SDXC 64 GB UHS-II reference card.

Security

The laptop allows setting up biometric authentication via fingerprint, as well as via SmartCard reader. Beyond that, a TPM 1.2 is onboard.

Accessories

In addition to the usual documents, such as a quick start poster and warranty conditions, the laptop is shipped with a Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) installation DVD alongside the corresponding applications and drivers DVD. HP offers a multitude of optional accessories for the laptop; the matching docking station (HP 2013 UltraSlim) is available for around 150 Euros (~$172), for example.

HP 2013 UltraSlim
HP 2013 UltraSlim

Operating System

Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) is installed on our review sample. However, it is also possible to use Windows version 7 and 8.1. Hewlett Packard provides the needed drivers for downloading.

Maintenance

As said, the EliteBook 850 G3 does not have a maintenance hatch. The base tray has to be removed to access the hardware. First the dummy has to be removed from the memory card reader. It conceals a screw that has to be released. Then, all rubber flaps (not the stoppers) on the laptop's underside have to be removed and the screws behind them released. Finally, the base tray can be levered off with a thin spatula or putty knife. This must be done carefully because plastic hooks that could break easily fix the tray.

Two memory banks, one of which is filled, are inside the laptop. Replacing the SSD (M.2 2280) would be possible. The same is true for the battery that is fixed by two screws. Cleaning the fan is also possible.

Warranty

The EliteBook comes with a three-year warranty. The period and scope can be extended. HP offers multiple options here. A five-year international on-site warranty can be purchased for approximately 440 Euros (~$505), for example.

Input Devices

Keyboard

Unlike both former models, the chiclet keyboard in the EliteBook 850 G3 again features a full-sized numpad. Consequently, the keyboard requires more space than the ones in the predecessors. The enter, backspace and right shift key are a bit smaller. The new keyboard is backlit and can be controlled via a function key. Two brightness levels are available. The flat, sleek keys have a medium drop and clear pressure point. We generally like the keys' resistance. The keyboard does not rock when typing on it. In total, the keyboard provides a good typing feel. HP maintains the high-quality standard known from the predecessors with this keyboard.

Touchpad/TrackPoint

The multi-touchpad in the EliteBook has a surface area of approximately 10.4 x 6.5 cm (~4.1 x 2.6 in). Thus, there is enough room for gesture control. The pad's sleek surface does not stop the fingers from gliding. The pad's entire surface can be used; inputs are identified reliably even in the corners. Two smooth-running mouse keys are situated above and below the pad. The upper two keys are primarily made for use with the TrackPoint. It allows controlling the mouse cursor considerably more accurately than it would be possible with the touchpad.

Input devices
Input devices

Display

Pixel grid
Pixel grid

The device we have been provided with features a matte, 15.6-inch panel that has a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. HP relies on the same screen as used in the EliteBook 850 G2 model that we tested. The measured rates deviate slightly, which is normal. Two identically built screens will never correspond to one-hundred percent. Cheaper EliteBook models are furnished with HD panels (1366x768 pixels).

The Full HD screen's brightness of 287.3 cd/m² is acceptable. Nevertheless, we expect more from a laptop from this price range. It should be a rate beyond 300 cd/m². The contrast of 537:1 is not awe-inspiring, either. The laptop's price level demands a contrast of at least 1000:1. Beyond that, the panel displays PWM flickering in brightness levels of 50 percent and lower at a frequency of 200 Hz. That could lead to headaches or eye problems in sensitive users.

305
cd/m²
302
cd/m²
306
cd/m²
272
cd/m²
290
cd/m²
282
cd/m²
261
cd/m²
274
cd/m²
294
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 306 cd/m² Average: 287.3 cd/m² Minimum: 15 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 294 cd/m²
Contrast: 537:1 (Black: 0.54 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 9.7 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 10.83 | - Ø
78.96% sRGB (Argyll) 51.15% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.91

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 Hz50 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 200 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 50 % 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.

In comparison: 58 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 5083 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The color reproduction in delivery state is not compelling, either. The DeltaE 2000 color shift is 9.7. That would still be tolerable in a low-cost laptop, but not in a 1600 Euro (~$1837) device. A rate less than 3 would be desirable. Furthermore, the panel exhibits a visible bluish tint. Calibrating can improve this considerably. The color shift then sinks to a rate of 2.79 and the bluish tint is eliminated. Beyond that, the grayscale reproduction is more balanced. The screen cannot reproduce either the AdobeRGB or sRGB color space. The coverage rates are 51 percent (AdobeRGB) and 79 percent (sRGB).

Elitebook 850 G3 vs. sRGB
Elitebook 850 G3 vs. sRGB
Elitebook 850 G3 vs. AdobeRGB
Elitebook 850 G3 vs. AdobeRGB
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - ColorChecker
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Grayscale
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN - ColorChecker (post-calibration)
CalMAN - ColorChecker (post-calibration)
CalMAN - Grayscale (post-calibration)
CalMAN - Grayscale (post-calibration)
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps (post-calibration)
CalMAN - Saturation Sweeps (post-calibration)

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
27.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 9.2 ms rise
↘ 18 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. » 55 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (26.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
46.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 22.4 ms rise
↘ 24 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. » 72 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (43.4 ms).

HP furnishes the EliteBook with a viewing angle dependent TN panel. Thus, the screen is not legible from every position. The angle is relatively wide horizontally, and even several people can look at the screen simultaneously. Changing the vertical viewing angle leads to image distortions relatively soon. It is one of the better TN models. The vertical viewing angle is a bit bigger than we know from models from the low-cost sector. It naturally cannot compete with an IPS panel. We do not understand why HP does not offer an IPS model at least as an option. After all, Lenovo does this for its ThinkPad T560. It is quite possible to use the EliteBook outdoors. However, the sun should not shine too brightly then.

The Elitebook outdoors
The Elitebook outdoors
Viewing angles
Viewing angles
HP EliteBook 850 G3
TN LED, 1920x1080
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
TN-Panel, 1920x1080
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
IPS-Panel, 1920x1080
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
IPS-Panel, 1920x1080
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
IPS, 1920x1080
Response Times
-16%
-5%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
46.4 (22.4, 24)
58 (23, 35)
-25%
20 (9, 11)
57%
Response Time Black / White *
27.2 (9.2, 18)
36 (11, 25)
-32%
26 (13, 13)
4%
PWM Frequency
200 (50)
220 (50)
10%
50 (40)
-75%
Screen
2%
13%
38%
19%
Brightness
287
294
2%
220
-23%
277
-3%
295
3%
Brightness Distribution
85
88
4%
84
-1%
83
-2%
77
-9%
Black Level *
0.54
0.66
-22%
0.27
50%
0.27
50%
0.53
2%
Contrast
537
476
-11%
900
68%
1067
99%
589
10%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
9.7
7.43
23%
7.49
23%
4.7
52%
4.32
55%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
10.83
9.25
15%
7.5
31%
3.1
71%
5.34
51%
Gamma
2.91 82%
2.49 96%
2.35 102%
2.7 89%
2.71 89%
CCT
12761 51%
10786 60%
6115 106%
6603 98%
6998 93%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
51.15
52.3
2%
38.9
-24%
61.9
21%
62
21%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
78.96
60.9
-23%
90.3
14%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
2% / 2%
-2% / 5%
17% / 26%
19% / 19%

* ... smaller is better

Performance

The EliteBook 850 G3 is a member of the premium-range business laptops. It has enough computing power for all common application fields. It offers business-typical features, such as TPM 1.2, biometric authentication and a docking port. Furthermore, 3G/LTE modules are available optionally. Our review sample is equipped correspondingly. Approximately 1600 to 1700 Euros (~$1837 to $1952) are presently demanded for the model we have been provided with. Other configurations exist. The cheapest model at test time was priced at about 1200 Euros (~$1378).

CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
CPU-Z
GPU-Z
HWInfo
LatencyMon

Processor

We find Intel's Core i7-6500U (Skylake) processor inside the EliteBook. The CPU belongs to the strongest ULV processors (TDP: 15 watts) that Intel presently has in its lineup. It offers enough computing power for all common application fields. The processor cannot be replaced; it is soldered. The processor's base speed is 2.5 GHz, which can be boosted to 3 GHz (two cores) and 3.1 GHz (one core) via Turbo. Turbo is only fully utilized in AC mode. It is considerably more conservative in battery mode. The speeds are then 2.5 to 3.1 GHz (single thread) and 2.5 to 2.8 GHz.

The EliteBook's predecessor - the EliteBook 850 G2 - is furnished with the Broadwell predecessor (Core i5-5500U) of the CPU installed here. Thus, a comparison would seem logical. The Skylake model delivers up to 12 percent better score in the CPU tests we performed. The advantage is bigger in the multi-thread applications than in the single-thread applications. That is owed to the improved Skylake architecture and the somewhat higher clock speeds.

The CPU is soldered
The CPU is soldered
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8142
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
11072
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4902
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
35.56 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.6 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.49 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.8 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
38.21 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
322 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
130 Points
Help
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
130 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
122 Points ∼94% -6%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
116 Points ∼89% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
113 Points ∼87% -13%
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
105 Points ∼81% -19%
CPU Multi 64Bit
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
322 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
303 Points ∼94% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
290 Points ∼90% -10%
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
280 Points ∼87% -13%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
279 Points ∼87% -13%
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
1.49 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
1.41 Points ∼95% -5%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
1.37 Points ∼92% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1.29 Points ∼87% -13%
CPU Multi 64Bit
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
3.6 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
3.25 Points ∼90% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3.23 Points ∼90% -10%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
3.08 Points ∼86% -14%
Cinebench R10
Rendering Single 32Bit
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
4902 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
4654 Points ∼95% -5%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
4498 Points ∼92% -8%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
4304 Points ∼88% -12%
Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
11072 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
10102 Points ∼91% -9%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
9862 Points ∼89% -11%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
9355 Points ∼84% -16%
Geekbench 3
32 Bit Multi-Core Score
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
6389 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
5690 Points ∼89% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
5521 Points ∼86% -14%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
5390 Points ∼84% -16%
32 Bit Single-Core Score
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
2959 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
2725 Points ∼92% -8%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
2650 Points ∼90% -10%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2570 Points ∼87% -13%
Sunspider - 1.0 Total Score
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
101.2 ms * ∼100% -15%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
97.8 ms * ∼97% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
89.2 ms * ∼88% -2%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
87.8 ms * ∼87%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
219.38 Points ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
192.41 Points ∼88% -12%
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
105.62 Points ∼48% -52%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
2389.3 ms * ∼100% -113%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
2259.1 ms * ∼95% -102%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1245.7 ms * ∼52% -11%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
1121 ms * ∼47%
Octane V2 - Total Score
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
32616 Points ∼100%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
27824 Points ∼85% -15%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
15017 Points ∼46% -54%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
13570 Points ∼42% -58%
Peacekeeper - ---
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
2941 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
2780 Points ∼95% -5%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
2779 Points ∼94% -6%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
2566 Points ∼87% -13%

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

The combination of Core i7 processor and fast solid-state drive ensures a quick and smooth running system. We did not encounter problems. The PCMark benchmark scores are very good. The EliteBook 850 G2 obtained slightly higher scores since we tested a system with a dedicated Radeon graphics unit. Installing a second working memory module would increase the system performance of our present review sample. The working memory would then operate in dual-channel mode, which would utilize the GPU better and provide more performance.

Two working memory banks are installed
Two working memory banks are installed
PCMark 7 Score
5201 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3202 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3932 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
4232 points
Help
PCMark 8 - Work Score Accelerated v2
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
4491 Points ∼100% +6%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
4232 Points ∼94%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
4091 Points ∼91% -3%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
3874 Points ∼86% -8%
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
3842 Points ∼86% -9%
PCMark 7 - Score
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
5201 Points ∼100%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
4905 Points ∼94% -6%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
4638 Points ∼89% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
3609 Points ∼69% -31%

Storage Device

HP furnished our review sample with an M.2 SSD that has a capacity of 256 GB. The laptop's owner has 190 GB of that available for personal use. The rest of the storage is reserved by the recovery partition and Windows installation. The SSD's transfer rates are good. It is a SATA SSD. However, PCIe SSD can also be inserted in the M.2 slot. According to the EliteBook's service manual, HP offers an SSD for the device, which can be connected via PCI Express 3.0 x4 (NVMe support present). Corresponding SSDs achieve considerably higher transfer rates than SATA models.

The EliteBook also has room for a conventional 2.5-inch hard drive (7 mm height). Thus, the device's storage capacity can be expanded considerably. However, the corresponding cage was not included for our review sample. It has to be purchased separately. It can be found in HP's Parts Shop under the name "Hard drive hardware kit" (part number: 821665-01) for 13.71 Euros (~$16).

An M.2 SSD is present
An M.2 SSD is present
There is also room for a 2.5-inch hard drive
There is also room for a 2.5-inch hard drive
Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
Sequential Read: 466.3 MB/s
Sequential Write: 426.1 MB/s
512K Read: 295.3 MB/s
512K Write: 282.1 MB/s
4K Read: 30.42 MB/s
4K Write: 80.11 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 326.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 162.1 MB/s

Graphics Card

HP offers versions of the EliteBook that are furnished with dedicated Radeon R7 M365X graphics units. We were provided with a model that "only" features an integrated GPU. To be precise, Intel's HD Graphics 520 graphics unit is inside the laptop. The core supports DirectX 12 and clocks at speed of up to 1000 MHz. Thanks to the faster DDR4 memory, the EliteBook scores somewhat better in the 3DMark benchmark than DDR3 laptops. The performance can be increased. Installing a second working memory module would activate dual-channel mode. Consequently, the GPU would be utilized better and deliver higher outcomes than models that can only access a memory that operates in single-channel mode.

3DMark 06 Standard
8335 points
3DMark 11 Performance
1461 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
49073 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5265 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
743 points
Help
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
2114 Points ∼100% +45%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
1461 Points ∼69%
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
1260 Points ∼60% -14%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
1219 Points ∼58% -17%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
1028 Points ∼49% -30%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
1336 Points ∼100% +80%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
743 Points ∼56%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
618 Points ∼46% -17%
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
579 Points ∼43% -22%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
552 Points ∼41% -26%
1280x720 Sky Diver Score
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
3287 Points ∼100%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
2501 Points ∼76% -24%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Score
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
6619 Points ∼100% +26%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
5265 Points ∼80%
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
4807 Points ∼73% -9%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
4680 Points ∼71% -11%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
4304 Points ∼65% -18%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
49073 Points ∼100%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
45368 Points ∼92% -8%
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU
39250 Points ∼80% -20%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
35672 Points ∼73% -27%
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
35203 Points ∼72% -28%
3DMark 06 - 1280x1024 Standard AA:0x AF:0x
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
Radeon R7 M260X, 5500U, Samsung SSD PM851 256 GB MZ7TE256HMHP
11820 Points ∼100% +42%
HP EliteBook 850 G3
HD Graphics 520, 6500U, Sandisk X300 SD7SN6S-256G-1006
8335 Points ∼71%
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
HD Graphics 520, 6200U, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
6358 Points ∼54% -24%
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
HD Graphics 5500, 5300U, Samsung SSD PM851 128 GB MZ7TE128HMGR
6215 Points ∼53% -25%

Gaming Performance

The Skylake processor is strong enough to smoothly render many computer games. That means primarily games with moderate hardware requirements. Examples would be games like "FIFA 16" or "World of Warships". However, these games also achieve playable frame rates only in low resolutions and low to medium quality settings. Users who want to play an occasional game should install a second working memory module in the laptop. The then enabled dual-channel mode would evidently increase the frame rates. Buying an EliteBook model furnished with a Radeon R7 M365X graphics core would be an alternative.

low med. high ultra
Tomb Raider (2013) 572818.38.8fps
BioShock Infinite (2013) 37.421.718.25.5fps
Battlefield 4 (2013) 33.425.315.14.1fps

Emissions

System Noise

An office device like the EliteBook should produce as little noise as possible. HP's laptop meets this demand. The fan is normally inactive in idle mode, and silence prevails. The fan does not speed up excessively during load, either. We measured a noise level of just 34.6 dB(A) during the stress test (Prime95 and FurMark run for at least one hour) - a very good rate. The laptop does not produce other noises like well-known CPU whining.

Fan
Fan
Frequency response fan noise (idle/off, full load)
Frequency response fan noise (idle/off, full load)

Noise Level

Idle
29 / 29 / 29 dB(A)
Load
32.6 / 34.6 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   ECM8000 + Voltcraft SL-451 (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 29 dB(A)
HP EliteBook 850 G3
6500U, HD Graphics 520
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
5500U, Radeon R7 M260X
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
6200U, HD Graphics 520
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
6200U, HD Graphics 520
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
5300U, HD Graphics 5500
Noise
-9%
-3%
-7%
-11%
off / environment *
29
29
-0%
31.2
-8%
Idle Minimum *
29
28.9
-0%
30.8
-6%
32.4
-12%
29.6
-2%
Idle Average *
29
28.9
-0%
30.8
-6%
32.4
-12%
29.6
-2%
Idle Maximum *
29
28.9
-0%
30.8
-6%
32.4
-12%
29.6
-2%
Load Average *
32.6
40.7
-25%
33.1
-2%
33.5
-3%
38.1
-17%
Load Maximum *
34.6
41.3
-19%
34.4
1%
33.5
3%
46.4
-34%

* ... smaller is better

Temperature

The Elitebook in the stress test
The Elitebook in the stress test

The EliteBook performed our stress test (Prime95 and FurMark run for at least one hour) differently in AC and battery mode. The processor clocked at 1.4 GHz in AC mode, and the graphics unit ran at 850 to 900 MHz. The CPU operated at 2.4 GHz and the graphics unit at 250 MHz in battery mode. A positive outcome of the low speeds: The EliteBook hardly heats up. The temperatures remained clearly below 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) on all measuring points during the stress test.

Max. Load
 33.4 °C31 °C32.1 °C 
 28.9 °C29.2 °C28.8 °C 
 25.2 °C25.5 °C26.7 °C 
Maximum: 33.4 °C
Average: 29 °C
36.4 °C33.9 °C30.6 °C
34.8 °C36.4 °C32 °C
28.4 °C28.8 °C26.4 °C
Maximum: 36.4 °C
Average: 32 °C
Power Supply (max.)  37 °C | Room Temperature 20.4 °C | Fluke 62 Max
HP EliteBook 850 G3
6500U, HD Graphics 520
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
5500U, Radeon R7 M260X
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
6200U, HD Graphics 520
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
6200U, HD Graphics 520
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
5300U, HD Graphics 5500
Heat
-17%
1%
0%
-19%
Maximum Upper Side *
33.4
43.8
-31%
33.3
-0%
36
-8%
42.3
-27%
Maximum Bottom *
36.4
46.5
-28%
40.1
-10%
50
-37%
48
-32%
Idle Upper Side *
31.4
31.7
-1%
27.4
13%
23.9
24%
33.5
-7%
Idle Bottom *
30.2
32.9
-9%
29.6
2%
23.8
21%
33.1
-10%

* ... smaller is better

Speakers

The stereo speakers are situated above the keyboard behind a perforated cover. The produce a decent sound that allows prolonged listening. Speech is clear. The sound output can be tweaked via the preloaded Bang & Olufsen software.

Frequency response speakers (off, medium volume, maximum volume)
Frequency response speakers (off, medium volume, maximum volume)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The EliteBook presented itself as quite moderate over the entire load range. We measured a maximum idle consumption of 8.4 watts. The energy requirement was 43 watts at the beginning of the stress test. Since the processor is throttled, the consumption drops to 31.6 watts after a few seconds. The power supply has a nominal output of 65 watts.

The power supply has a nominal output of 65 watts.
The power supply has a nominal output of 65 watts.
Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.3 / 0.51 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5 / 7.8 / 8.4 Watt
Load midlight 28.8 / 43 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
HP EliteBook 850 G3
6500U, HD Graphics 520
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
5500U, Radeon R7 M260X
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
6200U, HD Graphics 520
Toshiba Tecra Z50-C-10P
6200U, HD Graphics 520
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
5300U, HD Graphics 5500
Power Consumption
-5%
12%
1%
-12%
Idle Minimum *
5
3
40%
4.3
14%
4.7
6%
4.7
6%
Idle Average *
7.8
6.3
19%
7.3
6%
8
-3%
8
-3%
Idle Maximum *
8.4
7
17%
7.8
7%
9.8
-17%
10.3
-23%
Load Average *
28.8
43.7
-52%
26.3
9%
29.7
-3%
40.3
-40%
Load Maximum *
43
63.7
-48%
32
26%
32.6
24%
43.5
-1%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

The EliteBook achieved a runtime of 6:57 hours in our practical Wi-Fi test. We simulate the load needed for opening websites via a script here. The "Balanced" profile is enabled, and the screen's brightness is set to approximately 150 cd/m². HP's laptop manages 7:10 hours in our video test on one battery charge. We loop the short movie "Big Buck Bunny" (H.265 encoding, 1920x1080 pixels) for this. The wireless modules are disabled, and the screen's brightness is reduced to 150 cd/m².

The EliteBook does not display weaknesses in battery life. The laptop lasts longer in total than its predecessor despite slightly lower battery capacity. Increasing the runtime via an additional battery is no longer possible in the G3 model. Therefore, the G3 achieves a worse outcome than a rival like the Lenovo ThinkPad T560. It offers both an internal and external battery and thus achieves a considerably higher battery capacity (44 Wh internal + 23 Wh external).

The battery has a capacity of 46 Wh
The battery has a capacity of 46 Wh
The battery is plugged in
The battery is plugged in
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
15h 15min
WiFi Surfing v1.3 (Edge 25.10586.0.0)
6h 57min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
7h 10min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 22min
HP EliteBook 850 G3
46 Wh
HP EliteBook 850 G2 J8R68EA
50 Wh
Lenovo ThinkPad T560-20FH001FGE
67 Wh
Dell Latitude E5550 Broadwell
51 Wh
Battery Runtime
-13%
43%
-28%
Reader / Idle
915
877
-4%
1085
19%
721
-21%
H.264
430
330
-23%
571
33%
387
-10%
WiFi v1.3
417
393
-6%
661
59%
Load
142
116
-18%
226
59%
66
-54%
WiFi
381

Pros

+ matte screen
+ Full HD resolution
+ low temperature development
+ always runs quietly
+ fast SSD
+ good battery life
+ LTE modem
+ 3-year warranty

Cons

- viewing angle dependent screen
- low-contrast screen
- no maintenance hatch

Verdict

In review: HP Elitebook 850 G3. Test model courtesy of HP Germany.
In review: HP Elitebook 850 G3. Test model courtesy of HP Germany.

HP again packs the technology of its new EliteBook 850 G3 in a high-quality metal casing. The device looks more elegant than its predecessor thanks to its slimmer appearance. However, the diet has its price: The maintenance hatch has been axed, making it necessary to open the casing for maintenance/upgrading. The EliteBook sports a powerful Skylake processor with enough computing power for all application fields. The laptop always runs quietly and barely heats up at the same time. It is possible to expand the laptop via an additional 2.5-inch hard drive. The input devices in the EliteBook G3 model are also very compelling. The laptop's keyboard is suitable for prolific writers. The very good battery life complements that. However, it is no longer possible to strap an additional battery under the device - in contrast to the predecessor.

The EliteBook 850 G3 is a high-quality office device for users who do not have to pinch pennies. However, the laptop has shortcomings despite its high price level. Users who also value easy maintenance / upgrade options and do not want to waive a second battery will perhaps be happier with the EliteBook 850 G2.

Unfortunately, HP also repeats an HP typical weakness in this laptop: the screen. Buyers who pay over 1500 Euros (~$1724) for a laptop can expect an excellent display. However, it is not found here. The screen's most positive quality is its matte surface. The brightness can be called satisfactory, but not contrast and color reproduction. Furthermore, it is a viewing angle dependent screen.

HP EliteBook 850 G3 - 04/25/2016 v5.1
Sascha Mölck

Chassis
89 / 98 → 91%
Keyboard
90%
Pointing Device
90%
Connectivity
62 / 80 → 77%
Weight
64 / 67 → 94%
Battery
89%
Display
80%
Games Performance
54 / 68 → 79%
Application Performance
84 / 92 → 92%
Temperature
94%
Noise
96%
Audio
63%
Camera
52 / 85 → 61%
Average
77%
87%
Office - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP EliteBook 850 G3 Notebook Review
Sascha Mölck, 2016-04-30 (Update: 2016-05- 3)