HP's business-centric EliteBooks have been around since 2008 in name, but in reality, EliteBook is just a new name for the old HP Compaq business notebook line. With HP releasing a flood of popular entry level and mainstream consumer notebooks with both HP and Compaq labels, this understandably created a marketing issue for the costlier and higher end business and workstation class machines. Since the HP Compaq brand didn't have the name cachet of the iconic IBM/Lenovo ThinkPads or even Dell's Latitude business notebooks, HP's marketing team decided to scrap the confusing "HP Compaq" tag entirely and rebrand their business notebooks as EliteBooks.

We have one of the newest EliteBooks here today, the EliteBook 8440w mobile workstation. For a 14" notebook, it's quite the powerhouse, with a Core i7-620M processor and Nvidia's Quadro FX 380M discrete graphics chip to go along with 4GB of memory, a 320GB SATA hard drive, integrated DVD burner, and a high resolution 14" 1600x900 screen—it's even got a matte finish! But for the $1649 pricetag, the 8440w could have used a bit more power on either the CPU or GPU side, with a quad-core Core i7 (which is an optional extra) or faster Quadro graphics card at the top of our wishlist.

HP EliteBook 8440w Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-620M
(2.66GHz, 32nm, 4MB L3, 35W)
Chipset Intel QM57 Express
Memory 2x2048MB DDR3-1333
Max 2x4GB DDR3-1333
Graphics NVIDIA Quadro FX 380M (512MB GDDR3 VRAM)
Display 14.0" LED Backlit Matte WXGA+ (1600x900)
Hard Drive 2.5" 320GB 7200RPM SATA (Seagate ST9320423AS)
Networking Intel 82577LM PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet
Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 (3x3) 802.11a/b/g/n
Audio Realtek AL269 2-Channel HD Audio
(2.0 Speakers with headphone/microphone jacks)
Battery 9-cell Li-Ion, 100 Wh
Front Side SD/MMC card reader
Left Side 3 x USB 2.0
1 x Firewire 1394a
Right Side RJ-11
Gigabit Ethernet
eSATA/USB combination
Back Side VGA
DisplayPort
AC Power Connection
Kensington Lock
Operating System Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Dimensions 13.21" x 9.30" x 1.23" (WxDxH)
Weight Starting at 4.9 lbs (with 6-cell battery)
Extras Bluetooth 2.0
2.0MP Webcam
Integrated TrackPoint
Multitouch Touchpad
SD/MMC/MS Pro Flash reader
Warranty 3-year warranty, onsite repairs
1-year battery warranty
Pricing 8440w-FN093UT for $1649 from HP Business

But even without a quad-core or a high end GPU, the 8440w is a pretty formidable beast, boasting enough computing horsepower to acquit itself well for mobile CAD work and most reasonable tasks. Obviously, it won't replace the power of a workstation-class desktop or anything like that, but is it good enough for on-the-go design work? Let's find out.

HP EliteBook 8440w - In and Around
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  • ExodusC - Friday, August 13, 2010 - link

    Has AnandTech been able to get their hands on an Envy 14 to review it? I'm typing from mine now, and I absolutely love it. I'd like to see what AnandTech thinks about it, compared to the plethora of other laptops you guys get to review... Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, August 14, 2010 - link

    Not yet, but hopefully real soon (finally!) Reply
  • CurseTheSky - Saturday, August 14, 2010 - link

    I'll second the Envy 14 review recommendation. In a world where the Macbook Pro seems like the only option if you want a good, solid, "consumer-level" notebook, the Envy 14 is a breath of fresh air.

    Essentially it comes down to a trade-off between the two. OSX vs. Windows 7, and better battery life (MBP 13) vs. better processor / graphics card / screen (Envy 14).
    Reply
  • zoxo - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    I have 2 problems with the envy14. Although it supposedly has a great screen, it does not (yet) come in matte. The second problem is, that it's only really available in the us. Europe is out of luck there. (as usual with notebooks I might add) Reply
  • ExodusC - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    I agree the glossy screen can be annoying, but if it gets to where the reflections annoy me, I just crank up the brightness-- and HP didn't lie, this thing gets really bright. I have considered a matte screen protector that would help alleviate it, but as of now I'm okay with the glossy panel.

    I agree that the availability in Europe seems poor-- I've read around and it seems hard to find there, aside from maybe Germany.
    Reply
  • djjazzyjeff1965 - Monday, August 16, 2010 - link

    Envy 14 would be a lot more attractive if it had a matte screen, a non-underclocked GPU and ditched the gratuitous branding ("Beats" audio, the name "Envy") designed to appeal to 13 year-olds with small penises. Reply
  • djjazzyjeff1965 - Monday, August 16, 2010 - link

    Oh, and if they didn't hand off the design to somebody's daughter who thought that flowers would be pretty.

    Envy 14 - so close, yet so far.
    Reply
  • jasperjones - Friday, August 13, 2010 - link

    I was hoping for this review :) aorn, the one other business-class notebook I'd like to see reviewed is the E6410.

    Two minor things:

    "The other sweet touch is the retractable light above the screen that shines onto the keyboard, basically the same thing as the ThinkLight. I prefer backlit keyboards, but the keyboard light works just as well."

    I don't understand why people consider backlit keyboard/retractable light a useful feature. If you're serious about keyboard quality, you're probably touch typing anyway, right?

    "I don't really understand is why business notebooks have started using DisplayPort instead of the more common HDMI standard."

    So that you can attach a 2560x1600 resolution external display? I know that HDMI 1.3a and higher specifies (optional, afaik) support for resolutions greater than 1920x1200, but I've yet to see that higher-resolution support in a notebook.
    Reply
  • mino - Saturday, August 14, 2010 - link

    "I don't understand why people consider backlit keyboard/retractable light a useful feature. If you're serious about keyboard quality, you're probably touch typing anyway, right?"

    Wrong.

    ThinkLight (and copies) is VERY useful thing for 2 reasons:
    - it allows for built- in ability to operate without ANY external light, anywhere, anytime
    - notebook keyboard are very much "non-standard", so typing by memory is hard and special/custom key operation downright impossible without seeing the keyboard.
    Reply
  • jconan - Sunday, August 15, 2010 - link

    typing by memory is typically for hunt and seek typist. For people who have been typing without even looking at the keys, this not useful unless using non-standardized keys. I rarely look at the keys unless there are nuances like the mac keyboards because of the command key inclusion and missing keys ie prntscrn, scrnlock, pause and inclusion of more function keys, Reply

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