HP EliteBook 8440w MobileWorkstation

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Hewlett Packard
Price: $1,649 (starts at $1,399)
Durable; Solid performer; Good support; Great battery life
No DVI or HDMI output; small Touchpad; Touchpad buttons feel flimsy

The HP Elitebook 8440w should be calledwork-mobile not workstation. The word ‘workstation’ implies you are stationary at a big, powerful computer. Not if HP has something to say about it. They've successfully taken the workstation concept and combined it with what a mobile user expects from a notebook. This powerful, yet lightweight laptop computer packs a big punch in a 6 lbs. package. Let's take a closer look...

Specs & Config
Model: HP EliteBook 8440w MobileWorkstation
Processor: Intel Core i7 M620 @ 2.67GHz
Chipset: Mobile Intel QM57 Chipset
Memory: 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM in dual channel (16GB max)
Graphics: Nvidia Quadro FX 380M 512MB (dedicated)
Display: 14.0-inch diagonal LED-backlit HD+ anti-glare (1600x900)
Storage: WD 320 GB 7200 rpm 2.5-inch hard drive
Optical: LightScribe DVD+/-RW SuperMulti DL Drive
Battery: 9-Cell 100 Wh Li-Ion Battery
Wireless: Bluetooth 2.1 and 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and HP Mobile Broadband powered by Gobi
Webcam: 2-megapixel
Dimensions: 13.21 x 9.30 x 1.23 inches
Weight: 5.81 lbs. (starts at 4.9 lbs.)
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 32-bit version (installed in ours)
Warranty: Limited 3 year standard parts and labor warranty (3/3/3)
Tech Support: 1-800-334-5144

Design & Features Designed to meet tough military standards for vibration, humidity, dust, high temperature, altitude and even spills, this notebook certainly looks like a business tool. The lid and palm rest are a dark, anodized, brushed aluminum and the rest is a dark, charcoal plastic. It feels solid both with the lid open or closed. The hinges swing smoothly and freely yet the screen stays put exactly where you leave it, and the screen has very little flex. The latching mechanism is terrific, robust, not some cheap plastic hook and latch like many other notebooks. The chassis overall is semi-rugged with the corners of the lower-half rounded and edged outward, presumably to protect the upper-half with the screen from a drop. The keyboard sits firmly on the chassis, with hardly any flexion and good keystroke feedback. The keys are island style and they do not pop off easily. The touchpad is a bit small and the buttons feel a bit light and flimsy but the upside is you also get a ThinkPad-style pointer. For those times that you might be working in the dark HP included a small, white LED light at the top of the display frame.

The 14-inch LED-backlit matte display draws a 1600x900 image (that’s great for a 14-incher) that looks clean and crisp at almost any light. The graphics are driven by an Nvidia Quadro FX 380M 512MB GPU. That is plenty of power and resolution for playing 720p high-definition content. Unfortunately you will not be able to connect it to most TV screens as there is no HDMI port. Connections via DisplayPort will allow for a resolution up to 2560x1600.

At the heart of this workstation you will find an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. The model we tested had an Intel Core i7 M620 running at 2.67GHz. You also get 4GB of DDR3 memory but in the model we tested only 3GB is useable by Windows 7 because for some strange reason we had the 32-bit version of the OS pre-installed in our unit. That said, HP seems to only offer the 64-bit Windows 7 Pro OS at the time this article was published.

Considering its size and power this machine runs pretty cool, with the hottest area being smack in the middle of the underside reaching just under 100-degrees Fahrenheit (pretty comfortable for use on your lap).Instant Gratification
Thanks to QuickLook and QuickWeb (HP’s instant-on features) you can check and update your Outlook email as well as surf the web without booting your EliteBook. Just press a touch-sensitive button while you computer is off and within seconds you are in a world of productivity.

How Noisy is it?
It’s not. The fans are barely audible during normal use. They revved up a bit during benchmarking but still remained rather hushed.

The Other Noise
The speakers sound great but they are aimed down under the front lip of the palm rest so sound does not spread as good as it should, especially with the laptop on your lap.

Save Money, Save the World
The EnergyStar qualified EliteBook 8440w was constructed using no chemicals that compose BFRs and PVC so it’s safe for the environment. It also comes with HP Power Assistant, dedicated power measurement tools that gives the user advanced control of power settings as well as provides estimated CO2 and cost estimates for running your mobile workstation. Most I.T. pros don’t really care about their carbon footprint but it’s nice to know no penguins were harmed while building this laptop.

How about saving some time, money and carbon impact by reducing your travel needs? This notebook comes pre-installed with HP SkyRoom, an professional collaboration tool that allow you to share your work while teleconferencing with other colleagues. According to HP it uses the built-in mic, speakers and webcam to provide “seamless hi-fi audio, hi-def video, and 3D application sharing” though we could not test it at this time because it requires another HP SkyRoom user on the other end.

For those of you with more of an I.T. mindset, yes it is Intel vPro enabled .

Battery Life
With the 9-cell 100 Wh Li-Ion Battery we got in our unit we were able to get around 4 hours of operation in the “HP Optimized” profile and about 6.25 hours while idling, with the profile set to maximum power saving.

Performance & Benchmarks Futuremark 3Dmark06 benchmark at default settings (1280x800, AA off): On battery power... 3740 3Dmarks SM2.0 Score: 1378 HDR/SM3.0 Score: 1368 CPU Score: 3035 On AC power... 3741 3Dmarks SM2.0 Score: 1378 HDR/SM3.0 Score: 1370 CPU Score: 3022 Futuremark PCMark Vantage at default settings: On battery power... Run time: 59 minutes PCMark: 6438

On AC power... Run time: 52 minutes PCMark: 6697 Windows Experience Rating: 5.1

Finally we did a small ZIP/RAR compression test. Using WinRAR 4.0 beta 2(32-bit) we compressed a mix of files of different sizes and types that totaled 1GB. Here are the results:1GB compress to RAR – 6:03
1GB uncompress RAR – 0:48

Ports & Other Features

On the left side... 3x USB 2.0 ports 1x 1394 mini port 1x ExpressCard slot Audio jacks - 1x headphone jack + 1x mic jack

On the right side...
1x USB / eSATA hybrid port
1x modem jack
1x Ethernet jack
1x SmartCard reader
1x LightScribe DVD+/-RW SuperMulti DL Drive

In the back...
Kensington security lock slot
Power Connector (side note: I wish all laptop manufacturers would make their power connector magnetic like Apple’s MacBooks)
Standard 15-pin VGA port (here’s where I ask where’s the HDMI or DVI output?)

In the front...
SD/MMC memory card slot

Around the display...
2.0 mega-pixel webcam
Dual-microphone array (for improved audio communication and recording)
LED pop-up work light (a handy feature)
Ambient light sensor (auto-adjusts screen brightness)

Keyboard & palm rest area...
Instant On touch buttons for QuickLook and QuickWeb
Wireless enable/disable touch button
Touch button to enable/disable touchpad
Touch buttons for volume controls
Condensed QWERTY keyboard with island-style keys
ThinkPad-style trackpoint with left/right click buttons
Small yet sensitive touchpad with left/right click button
Biometric fingerprint reader (excellent software and response)

Warranty & Support
With serious business in mind HP offers a limited 3-year onsite warranty. Onsite warranty is quite common in the world of business machines, especially when they are not portable. This, however, is a notebook and it is very nice to know that if my EliteBook fails I can have replacement parts and even a technician meet me anywhere in the country, the next business day.

I called their 24/7 toll-free number 3 times and each time I was greeted by a voice-activate system that put me in touch with a live person in India within 2 to 3 minutes. The support line confirmed that HP will overnight what they call "CSR" (Customer Self Replaceable) parts such as a keyboard, memory or hard drive anywhere in the USA, and if the problem is more serious than that, they will even send along a technician.


You can find business-class notebooks for less money but if you need a no-nonsense, capable, ISV certified, mobile-workstation the HP EliteBook 8440w just might be well worth the price. It is nicely configurable and is very well supported by HP. Considering its power and durability it comes in at a very comfortable weight. It is small enough to fit into any standard briefcase or laptop bag, yet it houses a nicely-sized display and many extra features. It will not burn your lap and it will last you at least 3 years. Again, we would have liked to see HDMI output and a more beefy touchpad but for $149 you can order a matched docking station that gives you plenty of extra ports including that missing DVI link. It's not a perfect 10 but this true mobile workstation comes very close by our standards.