Hewlett Packard – EliteBook 8540p review

solid desktop replacement with some desirable features
Photo of Hewlett Packard – EliteBook 8540p
from £1,240 + VAT

Notebooks span a huge range of sizes and specifications, and choosing what is right for you can be tricky. For business users Hewlett Packard’s notebooks pack a real punch, and if you want something that is robust and solid, as well as offering some superb features, then the not inexpensive EliteBook 8540p might be worth a look.

This is a 15.6-inch screen notebook that offers the unusually high resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels in some models. That is great for viewing two – or even three – documents side by side, and makes this laptop ideal as a desktop replacement machine.

The weight of around 3kg, depending on the iteration you choose, is going to mean you won’t want to carry the notebook often, but when you do there is a solid metal shell to offer protection. A further useful extra for when you are on the move is a pop-out keyboard light above the screen, sitting next to the 2-megapixel webcam. You can even set up an ambient light sensor to automatically backlight the keyboard in darker conditions.

The Hewlett Packard EliteBook 8540p is large enough to have space for a separate number pad on the keyboard and there is a touchpad as well as a pointing stick for moving the cursor around; you can choose whichever is the most comfy to use.

There are a couple of instant-on services you can get to without booting into the full Windows 7 Professional. QuickWeb gives you access, not surprisingly, to the Web, while QuickLook lets you see email, calendar, contacts and tasks. To be honest we can take or leave these features. Windows 7 Professional boots quite quickly thanks to the Core i7 and Core i5 processors that are used and you just never know when you’ll need more than these cut-down services can offer.

You can choose between several configurations of this notebook, with hard drives ranging from 250GB to 350GB and with or without mobile broadband. They all have a couple of USB 3.0 connectors, though, so you are ready for high speed devices when they come along. There are five USB ports in all, two USB 3.0, the rest USB 2.0.

We got two and a half hours of video playback from the 8-cell battery. You probably won’t get a full working day from it, but ought to be able to expect a decent morning’s work.

Company: Hewlett Packard

Website: http://www.hp.co.uk

Contact: 0845 270 4215

The Hewlett Packard EliteBook 8540p is a nice notebook. The relatively high screen resolution is a real draw, and we found the keyboard to be well made and easy to use at full touch-typing speed. It is big and heavy and so not designed for portability, though. And it is expensive too.