CES 2021 has officially kicked off, and HP is here with a ton of new laptops, including the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8, which is one of the lightest business laptops around.
We managed to get some hands-on time with the machine, and it seems promising so far, offering a ridiculously light design, solid specs and strong speakers. However, we won’t really know how this machine will rock until we can put a production unit through its paces.
Here’s what we think of it so far.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 price and configuration options
The HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8’s price is unknown, but the laptop is slated to launch sometime in March 2021.
You can outfit the EliteBook 840 Aero with either an 11th Generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processor. There’s also an option to include Intel vPro as well. You can get up to 64GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD and a 14-inch, 1080p, 1000-nit panel.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 design
What the EliteBook 840 Aero has over its siblings is that it’s lighter, and therefore, much more portable. And while it is a standard clamshell laptop, the aluminum chassis still feels sturdy and sleek, with its silver lid home to nothing but an HP logo.
The interior features more of the same, with a silver deck packed in with a fingerprint reader on the right side, two top-firing speakers surrounding the black keyboard and a large touchpad at the bottom. As with most EliteBooks, the side bezels are pleasantly narrow, but the top bezel manages to take up a chunk of space.
At 2.5 pounds and 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches, the EliteBook 840 Aero not only has a small footprint, but it’s incredibly lightweight, and holding it in my hand felt like I was carrying a prop.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 ports
Despite its slim nature, the EliteBook 840 Aero has a decent number of ports.
The left side features a security lock slot, two USB Type-A ports, a headphone jack and an optional Smartcard reader, while the right side features the power jack, an HDMI port, two Thunderbolt 4 ports and an optional nano-SIM card slot.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 security and durability
We don’t have any information about the EliteBook 840 Aero’s durability testing, but we should find out more closer to launch.
As far as security goes, the EliteBook 840 Aero can be outfitted with Intel vPro for remote management, a fingerprint reader, a Smartcard reader, a privacy display, an IR camera for Windows Hello with a privacy shutter, and a TPM 2.0 security chip.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 display
The EliteBook 840 Aero’s 14-inch panel comes in three configurations, all of which feature a 1080p resolution. The panels come in 250 nits, 400 nits and 1,000 nits, with the latter being the privacy display.
Our pre-production unit didn’t look very bright, so I assume it’s the 250-nit model. In the opening shot of the Shadow in the Cloud trailer, it was difficult to make out what was on-screen because it was a night scene and, despite having a matte screen, the Aero couldn’t hold up against the glare.
However, the panel seemed decently colorful, as the grassy forest contrasted against Chloë Grace Moretz’s pale skin and brown overalls. The display was also sharp, highlighting the strands of hair on Moretz’s head.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 keyboard and touchpad
Like most EliteBook keyboards, the 840 Aero is incredibly comfortable and clicky to type on. It even has a pointing stick and discrete clickers for users who actually want those features.
I hit 67 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is well below my 78-wpm average. I mostly blame the pointing stick for being in the way, but if I had more time with the product, I would obviously get used to it and eventually type at my fastest. Regardless, the keys have decent travel and require a solid actuation force.
The touchpad is as smooth as glass and the click is oh, so satisfying. Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing worked rather well.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 audio
The EliteBook 840 Aero’s top-firing speakers are pretty powerful, encompassing my small office with sound.
I listened to Icon for Hire’s “Demons,” and the electronic beats that the song opens with were strong. The electric guitar was bright, but the percussion fell behind because there wasn’t enough bass to make it thump. However, the vocals were crisp and full, though, occasionally the guitar and drums would get muddled together.
HP includes the HP Audio Control app, which gives you access to a bunch of presets and equalizer settings in order to customize the sound to your liking.
HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 battery life
We don’t have any estimated battery life numbers so we don’t know long the EliteBook 840 Aero will last until we get a production unit to benchmark. However, we do know that the laptop features a 3-cell, 53 Wh Li-ion polymer battery.
I’ve enjoyed my time with the HP EliteBook 840 Aero G8 so far, but what’s really going to make or break this laptop for me is its battery life and price. EliteBooks can be ridiculously expensive, so I won’t be surprised if the Core i5 version costs more than a mainstream gaming laptop packing a mid-range GPU. Stay tuned for our full review of the EliteBook 840 Aero when it launches sometime in March 2021.