Business laptops have gotten sexier with each iteration, with designs that are increasingly similar to consumer models. This is particularly true of those at the higher-end of the segment, like HP's EliteBook series.
The latest EliteBook 830 G5 fits the bill with its sleek, silver aluminium body and relatively narrow screen bezels. It looks stylish, with a minimalist HP logo on the lid. This lid can be opened using one hand, which is uncommon nowadays.
It is evidently designed for business users because in the middle of its backlit keyboard is the pointing stick, a regular feature of business notebooks such as the IBM ThinkPad versions. Below the space bar are two mouse buttons for the pointing stick followed by a decently sized touchpad. This touchpad supports multi-touch gestures such as two-finger scrolling.
In addition, there is a fingerprint sensor on the right side of the palm rest, which works with the Windows 10 Hello feature to offer biometric authentication. The notebook's optional features include slots for a smartcard reader and a SIM card.
The bezels at the sides of the 13.3-inch screen are narrow, though the top and bottom bezels remain chunky. The screen is an in-plane switching display with wide viewing angles. Its 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution is appropriate for its size.
Privacy has become a hot-button issue in the tech industry in recent years and PC makers are responding with features for it.
In 2016, HP introduced Sure View, an integrated privacy filter that makes it near-impossible for people to see what is on the screen unless they are standing right behind you. It is available on the EliteBook, though my review set did not come with it. But based on my experience using it on another HP laptop, I would say it is useful for those with privacy concerns.
PRICE: $3,060 (With HP Sure View)
PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-8550U (1.8GHz)
GRAPHICS: Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 16GB DDR4
SCREEN SIZE: 13.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, Ethernet port, audio jack
BATTERY: 50 watt-hour
BATTERY LIFE: 5/5
A newer feature on the EliteBook is the physical shutter for the front-facing Web camera. This shutter blocks the view of the Web camera as an extra precaution against hackers who remotely take over the camera without your knowledge.
Audio is probably the last thing I would care about on a laptop, especially a business model. But the Bang & Olufsen speakers, located above the keyboard, surprise me with their volume. The sound from the speakers will easily fill the room and, more importantly, does not come across as strained or distorted even at maximum level.
Despite its slim profile, the EliteBook still retains useful connectors such as Ethernet, HDMI and USB Type-A ports. If you need more ports, HP sells a handy mini-USB hub ($169) that works with the EliteBook's USB Type-C port.
It has outstanding battery life, lasting around 71/2 hours in the video-loop test at maximum brightness and volume.
My review set has a non-standard configuration that is not available at the online HP store.
You can get a similar version with the HP Sure View privacy screen at $3,060. The base model, without this privacy feature, as well as a slower processor, less RAM and storage, starts at $1,899.
•Verdict: A stylish business laptop with useful privacy features and long battery life.