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HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 Laptop Review: An extremely bright convertible with a matte touchscreen and privacy features

Andreas Osthoff, 👁 Andreas Osthoff (translated by Alex Alderson), 09/17/2019

As bright as can be. HP is one of the few OEMs that sells business laptops with bright optional displays. The EliteBook x360 1030 G3 is one such device, which has an optional 700 cd/m² display. Read on to find out whether the display can live up to its billing and how it affects battery life. We shall be looking at the Sure View privacy filter that HP incorporates too.

The EliteBook x360 1030 G3 is a high-end business convertible that HP also sells with an extremely bright display, making it suitable for using outdoors. The optional 700 cd/m² display has a matte finish and supports HP Sure View too, so it should be the ideal companion for people on the go, right?

Having already reviewed the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 in two configurations, this review will focus on HP Sure View and the impact of the 700 cd/m² display on battery life. Please see our other EliteBook x360 1030 G3 reviews for our full thoughts on the series. We have included links to both reviews below:

Please note: Our photos of the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 are of the glossy FHD touchscreen variant, not the one with a matte panel.

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HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3-4QZ12ES (EliteBook x360 1030 Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
16384 MB 
, Dual-Channel, on-board, LPDDR3-2133
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 166 PPI, capacitive, M133NVF3 R1, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Kaby Lake-U iHDCP 2.2 Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ, 512 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Kaby Lake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 2 USB 3.1 Gen2, 2 Thunderbolt, 1 HDMI, 2 DisplayPort, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combined headphone and microphone jack, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor
Networking
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 4.2
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 15.8 x 305.8 x 205 ( = 0.62 x 12.04 x 8.07 in)
Battery
56.2 Wh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 720p
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo, Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, HP Active Pen, HP Tools, 36 Months Warranty
Weight
1.25 kg ( = 44.09 oz / 2.76 pounds), Power Supply: 261 g ( = 9.21 oz / 0.58 pounds)
Price
1799 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Display – The EliteBook suffers from grainy images

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array

Our review unit reveals that HP has equipped the device with an IVO panel. Some areas of the panel exceed 700 cd/m², but it is only 86% evenly lit and averages 685 cd/m² according to X-Rite i1Pro 2. 685 cd/m² is still impressively bright though, but its black value is comparatively high at 0.52 cd/m², which makes black surfaces look rather grey. Regardless, our review unit achieved an impressive 1,285:1 contrast ratio.

Nevertheless, the display could not convince us of its image quality. Images look grainy to our eyes, which the photo of the sub-pixel array reinforces. HP claims that the manufacturing process used to create the display is why the panel looks grainier than most other modern displays. Sure View compounds this too, apparently. Disappointingly, Sure View restricts viewing angles even when disabled when compared to a regular IPS screen.

Positively, the display does not suffer from screen bleeding like its EliteBook x360 1030 G3 siblings do, which surprised us considering how bright it gets. Even those who are PWM sensitive should have no issues with looking at the display for prolonged periods either. The screen flickers at 18,940 Hz at 99% brightness and below, which should not trouble anyone.

730
cd/m²
706
cd/m²
685
cd/m²
724
cd/m²
668
cd/m²
648
cd/m²
703
cd/m²
631
cd/m²
670
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
M133NVF3 R1
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 730 cd/m² Average: 685 cd/m² Minimum: 14.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 660 cd/m²
Contrast: 1285:1 (Black: 0.52 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 3.5 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6, calibrated: 2.2
ΔE Greyscale 4.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
92.5% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 60.9% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.21
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3-4QZ12ES
M133NVF3 R1, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3
Chi Mei CMN1380, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 45X96UT
Chi Mei CMN1380, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Average of class Convertible
 
Screen
6%
7%
-21%
Brightness middle
668
470.1
-30%
467.2
-30%
319 (114 - 1022, n=408)
-52%
Brightness
685
443
-35%
445
-35%
Brightness Distribution
86
88
2%
91
6%
Black Level *
0.52
0.38
27%
0.4
23%
0.3697 (0.15 - 1.98, n=414)
29%
Contrast
1285
1237
-4%
1168
-9%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
3.5
2.47
29%
2.41
31%
5.37 (1.2 - 22.7, n=351)
-53%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
8.3
5.73
31%
5.58
33%
10.5 (2.44 - 34.1, n=212)
-27%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
2.2
1.52
31%
1.33
40%
2.48 (0.67 - 5.93, n=52)
-13%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.2
3.7
12%
3.7
12%
5.3 (0.98 - 14.6, n=354)
-26%
Gamma
2.21 100%
2.35 94%
2.37 93%
2.39 92% (1.45 - 5.51, n=353)
CCT
6207 105%
7373 88%
7158 91%
7295 89% (5606 - 19149, n=351)
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
60.9
62
2%
62.5
3%
51.7 (33 - 98, n=296)
-15%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
92.5
98.2
6%
99.6
8%
79.7 (52 - 100, n=230)
-14%

* ... smaller is better

CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Grayscale
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: ColorChecker
CalMAN: Grayscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Grayscale - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: Colour Saturation - calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated
CalMAN: ColorChecker - calibrated

Unfortunately, the display is not optimally calibrated at the factory. Our review unit suffers from a slight tint, and it has high blue sRGB deviations. Calibrating the display reduced the colour cast and greyscale deviations, but the blue issues persist. The panel has high sRGB colour-space coverage, which would suggest that it could be suitable for colour-sensitive work like photo and video-editing. However, its AdobeRGB colour space and high DeltaE deviations put paid to that idea.

92.5% sRGB colour-space coverage
92.5% sRGB colour-space coverage
60.9% AdobeRGB colour-space coverage
60.9% AdobeRGB colour-space coverage

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
23.2 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 12.4 ms rise
↘ 10.8 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 33 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (24.9 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
34.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15.6 ms rise
↘ 18.8 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. » 27 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (39.6 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 18940 Hz ≤ 99 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 18940 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 99 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 18940 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9266 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Using the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 outdoors
Using the EliteBook x360 1030 G3 outdoors
Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Viewing angles: Sure View enabled
Viewing angles: Sure View enabled

HP Sure View Gen. 2

PWM with Sure View activated at 100% brightness
PWM with Sure View activated at 100% brightness

HP has incorporated the second generation of its Sure View technology, as we mentioned earlier. Sure View is a privacy filter that restricts viewing angles, thereby minimising the possibility of someone nearby seeing your work. However, while it works well at blocking prying eyes, it also inhibits brightness and colour accuracy. According to our tests, our review unit can only reach 300 cd/m² with Sure View enabled. Its black value spiked to 1.98 cd/m², which caused its contrast ratio to drop to a miserable 158:1. Sure View adds a blue tint to the display too, which makes everything look overly cool.

One of the bigger problems with Sure View is PWM, which it reduces to 128 Hz. The screen also flickers at 100% brightness, meaning that there is no way for some people to escape what could cause eye strain and headaches. Overall, the worse PWM flicker combined with the poorer image quality makes the second generation of HP Sure View unsuitable for prolonged use.

Please note: We are currently testing several devices with third-generation Sure View displays. In short, HP has made several strides with its latest implementation of Sure View, but we will save our findings for our full reviews.

CalMAN: Greyscale – Sure View enabled
CalMAN: Greyscale – Sure View enabled
CalMAN saturation – Sure View enabled
CalMAN saturation – Sure View enabled
CalMAN ColorChecker – Sure View enabled
CalMAN ColorChecker – Sure View enabled

Battery Life

Battery life on Wi-Fi at maximum brightness
Battery life on Wi-Fi at maximum brightness

Battery life was one of our main concerns with having such a bright display, so we subjected our review unit to our practical Wi-Fi battery life test to see how it fared against the runtimes of its EliteBook x360 1030 G3 siblings. We conducted the test at 150 cd/m² as we always do and observed our review unit running out of charge around an hour earlier than its siblings. Our review unit also lasted for 6:17 hours in our Wi-Fi test at maximum brightness, which is around 3:30 hours less than at 150 cd/m².

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
8h 54min
Battery Runtime - WiFi v1.3
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3-4QZ12ES
534 min ∼91%
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3
602 min ∼102%
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 45X96UT
589 min ∼100%

Legend

 
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3-4QZ12ES Intel Core i7-8550U, Intel UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ
 
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 Intel Core i5-8250U, Intel UHD Graphics 620, Samsung PM871b MZNLN128HAHQ
 
HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 45X96UT Intel Core i7-8650U, Intel UHD Graphics 620, Samsung SSD PM981 MZVLB512HAJQ

Pros

+ amazingly bright
+ matte touchscreen
+ comparatively good speakers
+ proprietary and multi-level security features
+ compact
+ light
+ impressive keyboard
+ well-built
+ optional 4G LTE and NFC
+ good battery life
+ Thunderbolt 3
+ quiet fan noise

Cons

- grainy images
- Sure View worsens image quality
- cannot maintain peak Intel Turbo Boost
- poor performance on battery
- no SD card reader
- no smart card reader
- complicated maintenance
- expensive

Verdict – A mixed bag

The HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3-4QZ12ES review. Test device courtesy of CampusPoint
The HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3-4QZ12ES review. Test device courtesy of CampusPoint

A 700 cd/m² display with a matte touchscreen fits a niche use case, primarily those who work outdoors. However, the matte finish impacts on image quality, as does the display at maximum brightness with battery life. While the latter is an unsurprising consequence, a 30% reduction in runtimes is a high cost for a brighter display.

Another problem with the panel is its second-generation Sure View technology, which restricts viewing angles even when disabled compared to a conventional IPS panel. Moreover, enabling the privacy filter worsens image quality, the frequency at which the panel flickers and peak brightness. Overall, all these shortcomings make Sure View a viable option only for short periods, which is a shame.

The matte touchscreen of the HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3-4QZ12ES is undoubtedly a better choice for those who often work outside than the glossy alternatives that we previously reviewed. One must accept trade-offs on image fidelity though. The Sure View functionality is barely usable because of its compromises on image quality in favour of privacy.

HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3-4QZ12ES - 09/17/2019 v7
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
91 / 98 → 93%
Keyboard
92%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
64 / 75 → 85%
Weight
72 / 20-75 → 95%
Battery
85%
Display
87%
Games Performance
51 / 78 → 65%
Application Performance
87 / 85 → 100%
Temperature
91%
Noise
98%
Audio
60 / 91 → 66%
Camera
45 / 85 → 53%
Add Points
-2%
Average
72%
88%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > HP EliteBook x360 1030 G3 Laptop Review: An extremely bright convertible with a matte touchscreen and privacy features
Andreas Osthoff, 2019-09-17 (Update: 2019-09-18)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.