Large IT departments need extensive remote management and security features, some of which (like vPro) are unique to Intel-powered laptops. If you’re in the market for a premium business laptop but don’t need these Intel-specific features, the HP EliteBook 845 G7 (starts at $999; $1,419 as tested) offers a sleek and sturdy chassis, excellent performance from its AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, and a significantly lower price than many of its Intel-powered competitors. It’s our new top pick among midpriced ultraportable business laptops.
The EliteBook 800 series laptops with AMD processors come in two screen sizes: the 13.3-inch EliteBook 835 and the subject of this review, the 14-inch EliteBook 845. Our review unit is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U, 16GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD. Both sizes of the EliteBook 800 series are also available with Intel CPUs and graphics processors; those versions are the EliteBook 830 and the recently-reviewed EliteBook 840.
While business-laptop users frequently on the road might once have preferred the 13-inch EliteBook models to save a bit of weight, that’s no longer as much of a concern, not only because many businesspeople aren’t traveling these days, but also because 14-inch laptops have become much smaller.
Case in point: The EliteBook 845 G7 model reviewed here weighs in at just 2.93 pounds, easily qualifying it as an ultraportable laptop. Our version, which lacks a touch screen, is lighter than the touch-screen model. The latter tips the scales at 3.22 pounds, with added heft brought on in part by the stronger materials and more complex construction used for the touch screen. Either version measures 0.7 by 12.74 by 8.45 inches (HWD). These dimensions render the EliteBook 845 plenty light enough to slip in and out of your handbag all day long, but note that you can get a smaller chassis in a machine with a 14-inch display. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, for instance, is slightly thinner at 0.59 inch.
In addition to being easy on your shoulders, the EliteBook 845 is also easy on the eyes. Its tapered edges evoke the design of classic ultraportables like the Apple MacBook Air. The shape of the laptop’s front lip also makes the display lid easy to open with one hand. The light silver aluminum finish will look great in a conference room, and it’s decidedly more modern than the staid but iconic black carbon-fiber finish of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which frequently commands our Editors’ Choice pick for best business ultraportable.
If you’re a business user or an IT manager with purchasing authority, you typically demand such advanced, attractive design features and are probably able to pay handsomely for them, but the EliteBook 845 shows that you needn’t always open your company’s wallet so wide. The laptop starts at just $1,000, and the sensible extra features of our review unit bring its total up to an equally reasonable $1,419. Compare that with two of the EliteBook 845’s closest competitors to see what a good deal it is: The Intel-powered EliteBook 840 rings up at more than $2,000 as tested (with comparable components), and so does the Dell Latitude 7410.
The EliteBook 845’s base configuration includes 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a Ryzen 5 Pro 4650U processor, and a full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) screen rated for a maximum brightness level of 250 nits. We recommend the more capable configuration of our review unit, which doubles the memory and storage amounts, boosts the display brightness greatly (to a peak of 400 nits), and features an upgraded Ryzen 7 Pro 4750U with eight cores and a base clock speed of 1.7GHz. Whichever configuration you choose, you get a standard three-year warranty, up from the one year that is commonplace on consumer-focused laptops.
Whichever EliteBook 845 configuration you choose, the relatively low prices make it a no-brainer to choose the AMD version unless your IT department requires Intel processors. In return for giving up vPro access and a few other Intel-specific management and security features, you’re getting nearly an identical laptop for hundreds of dollars less. As an added bonus, the EliteBook 845 even performs better in many cases than its Intel-powered EliteBook 840 sibling.
Note that while the EliteBook 845 lacks the option for vPro, it does include many of HP’s own security and manageability protections, including an embedded security chip that protects the the boot drive against BIOS-level hacking, and even the industry-standard DriveLock encryption that guards against physical tampering with the boot drive. Accessing the drive and other internal components for legitimate purposes like upgrades is easy enough, thanks to five easily accessible screws that hold the bottom cover in place.
The EliteBook 845 isn’t HP’s flagship business laptop (that honor arguably belongs to the Elite Dragonfly), so it is missing a few premium features, including the option for a 4K display. The display it does offer is well-suited to business use, though. It sports full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) resolution, and I find the 400-nit rated maximum brightness to be perfectly viewable even in a sunlit room. I also appreciate the anti-glare finish, which reduces distracting reflections in brightly lit conditions. Both the 250-nit and 400-nit versions offer this matte finish.
You can also select an optional integrated screen privacy filter, which combines increased 1,000-nit brightness with reduced viewing angles to prevent people from snooping over your shoulder. Similar filters are available on Lenovo and Dell laptops, as well, but they typically reduce image quality, so we don’t recommend them unless you frequently view sensitive information.
Above the display, there’s a 720p webcam that produces average video quality. I noticed a bit of noise and artifacts when using the camera in a room with plenty of natural light filtering in through the windows. This is to be expected from most laptop cameras, however. I do appreciate the EliteBook 845’s privacy shutter, which easily slides over the camera lens. I also frequently used the laptop’s IR sensors during my testing, which automatically logs you in to Windows using face recognition. Automatic logins are also possible using the fingerprint reader mounted near the lower right corner of the keyboard.
The EliteBook 845’s backlit keyboard and touchpad are remarkably comfortable. HP frustratingly continues to place the cursor arrow keys in a row rather than a more intuitive inverted T, but otherwise I find the keyboard’s switches to be quite stable and the touchpad to offer a satisfyingly solid clicking experience. There’s an NFC sensor mounted beneath the touchpad, which allows speedy wireless data transfers with compatible Android devices.
The keyboard’s function row includes plenty of handy controls besides the usual audio and brightness adjustments. There’s a microphone mute button, an Airplane Mode toggle, and even a wild-card key (F12) that you can customize to launch a specific file, app, or website.
Placed along either side of the keyboard, two speaker grilles offer plenty of volume for conference calls and Zoom sessions. You’ll easily be able to hear the person on the other end. I did notice that music and movies come through stripped of some bass, which is a shame since many businesspeople use their laptops to kick back with a movie on the road once their workday is over.
Business laptops need plenty of physical connectivity, and the EliteBook 845 does not disappoint. Around the sides of the laptop, you’ll find two USB-C ports, both of which can be used to charge the laptop. Note that unlike on the Intel-powered EliteBook 840, neither of these ports supports Thunderbolt 3 speeds. There are also two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a headphone/microphone combo jack, and a full-size HDMI port.
The right edge of the laptop also includes a nano SIM card tray for the optional LTE modem that works with either AT&T or Verizon. LTE-equipped versions of the EliteBook 845 also support eSIM. Standard wireless connectivity on all models includes 802.11ax Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 6) and Bluetooth 5. Our EliteBook 845 includes an optional reader for smart cards on the right edge, which some IT departments issue to their users.
With eight processor cores, the Ryzen 7 Pro in the EliteBook 845 makes short work of the basic productivity tasks that most business users are likely to perform frequently. While this Ryzen 7 Pro includes two more cores than the Intel Core i7 in the EliteBook 840 has, I didn’t experience lag or sluggishness while browsing the web or installing apps on either machine. (See more about how we test laptops.)
On our benchmark tests, which measure theoretical computing and graphics performance, I did notice a significant improvement with the EliteBook 845 over the EliteBook 840. Below you can see the specs of these two laptops, along with those of three key competitors aimed at business users. In addition to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, I’ve also included the AMD Ryzen-powered Lenovo ThinkPad T14s, as well as the 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro.
The only laptop priced at more than $2,000 in this group is the EliteBook 840. Typically, we do our best to judge benchmark performance between similarly priced competing laptops; this leaves out the recent Dell Latitude models we’ve tested, all of which cost $2,100 and up.
The superiority of the Ryzen 7 Pro is immediately apparent on our PCMark 10 test, which simulates different real-world productivity and content-creation workflows. The two Ryzen-equipped laptops scored nearly 1,000 points higher than their Intel competitors on this test, which we use to assess overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet jockeying, web browsing, and videoconferencing.
Meanwhile, all four of the Windows laptops performed roughly equally on the PCMark 8 storage test, which we use to assess the speed of a laptop’s storage subsystem. All of these laptops use speedy SSDs as their boot drives.
When it comes to more intensive workflows like multimedia content creation, the EliteBook 845’s performance is typically even more impressive, though not always. It’s most adept at CPU-crunching, multi-threaded tasks like rendering 3D images, which require maximum power and lots of cores and threads deployed for sustained periods. Its score on the Cinebench test, which approximates this type of workflow, is twice as high as that of the EliteBook 840.
Video encoding tells a similar story. The EliteBook 845 took just 8 minutes to transcode a clip of 4K video to 1080p using the Handbrake app, compared with 16 minutes for the EliteBook 840 and 19 for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon.
But when it comes to image editing, the EliteBook 845 is actually slower than some of its Intel-powered alternatives. Manipulating images in apps like Adobe Photoshop is a “bursty” workload, which requires full power for short periods of time while you’re cropping or applying filters, followed by idle periods. The EliteBook 845 actually performed the slowest of all the Windows laptops on our Photoshop editing test. (The MacBook Pro was slower, hindered in part by its M1 processor, which cannot yet run natively run Photoshop).
Since most businesspeople carry just a single laptop with them while they’re traveling, the EliteBook 845 must be able to handle occasional gaming sessions that provide respite from a long work day. Our 3DMark and Superposition tests indicate that it is up to the task if you dial back the resolution, the settings, and your expectations. In the Superposition test, which simulates a richly detailed video game scene filled with particles and lighting, the EliteBook 845 hit an average frame rate of 46 frames per second at a 720p resolution.
This suggests light gaming is within the realm of possibility for the Radeon Graphics-equipped EliteBook 845, though the laptop is not meaningfully more gaming-ready than the Intel-powered EliteBook 840.
Our final test measures battery life. After fully recharging the laptop, we set up the machine in power-save mode (as opposed to balanced or high-performance mode) and make a few other battery-conserving tweaks in preparation for our unplugged video rundown test. (We also turn Wi-Fi off, putting the laptop in Airplane mode.) In this test, we loop a video with screen brightness set at 50 percent and volume at 100 percent until the system conks out.
The EliteBook 845 manages to last for more than 18 hours in this scenario, an excellent result that’s similar to the EliteBook 840’s time and several hours longer than either of the ThinkPads. The upgraded display on our EliteBook 845 review unit is a specialized low-power panel, which likely plays a significant role in the excellent battery rundown result.
Larger organizations that may be able to negotiate volume discounts and need management and security features specific to Intel processors will want to skip over the EliteBook 845 and its AMD Ryzen processor. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon or perhaps the EliteBook 840 are good alternatives if your business runs on Intel.
But a go-anywhere business workhorse laptop that’s sleek, sturdy, and powerful doesn’t need to break the bank. The EliteBook 845 fits the bill for less than $1,500, which is at least $500 less than you’d expect to pay for an equivalent machine with an Intel processor. If you’re in the market for a single laptop or are replacing just a few for your small or medium business, the EliteBook 845 is a no-brainer.Source