I initially underestimated the price of our review unit; it’s a custom configured model with pricey options including the i7-4600U processor (the fastest available in an Ultrabook; +$425); 180GB Intel SSD (+$295); and mobile broadband (+$229). Even taking into account other items which contribute to the EliteBook 850’s higher-than-expected price (Intel vPro technology, Window Professional, a biometric fingerprint reader and 3-year warranty), it still seems a lot of money. Note I used the 18% discount coupon advertised on the configuration page to produce the final price shown here.
Other choices for a 15.6-inch business-specific Ultrabook are slim; the EliteBook 850’s main competitor at the time of writing is the Toshiba Tecra Z50 which is $100-300 less comparably equipped though the HP has a few advantages (Smartcard reader, vPro technology, available mobile broadband, available dedicated graphics, pointing stick); and the Toshiba has its advantages (more powerful battery, keyboard w/ numeric keypad).
We saw excellent overall performance for our EliteBook 850 as configured; there’s essentially no task save for 3D gaming that it wouldn’t be suitable for. As we noted earlier in this review, the EliteBook 850’s memory and storage drive can be easily upgraded later on thanks to the large access panel on the bottom of the chassis.
Our review model of the HP EliteBook 850 has the following specifications:
- 15.6-inch display (1920×1080 display, anti-glare surface)
- Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
- Intel Core i7-4600U dual-core processor (2.1GHz, up to 3.3GHz Turbo Boost, 4MB cache, 15W TDP) w/ Intel vPro technology enabled
- Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400
- 8GB DDR3L-1600 RAM (1x 8GB; 16GB max. – 2x 8GB)
- Intel 520 Series 180GB SSD (SSDSC2BW180AH3)
- No internal optical drive
- Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 802.11ac (2×2) wireless LAN and Bluetooth 4.0 combo
- HP lt4111 LTE/EV-DO/HSPA+ Gobi 4G mobile broadband module
- Integrated HD webcam
- Integrated fingerprint reader
- 3-cell li-ion battery (50WHr)
- 3-year limited warranty
- Dimensions: 14.78″ x 9.98″ x 0.84″
- Weight: 4.15 lbs.
- Starting Price: $954
- Price as Configured: $2,292 (incl. 18% discount)
Heat and Noise
The single exhaust port on the left side of the chassis is responsible for expelling the warm air produced by the notebook’s internal components. The EliteBook 850 produces little heat to begin with; the fan turning on during general usage is a rare occurrence. The fan is quiet when it does come on without fan whine; it’s more like a concentrated rush of air.
The chassis itself remains nearly room temperature all over. The EliteBook 850 can be used on almost any surface provided the left side air vent remains unblocked.
We use our Powermark benchmark running in “Balanced” mode to test battery life; it uses a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. This test is far more strenuous than our previous test; the runtime numbers are understandably lower.
The EliteBook 850 lasted three hours, 31 minutes; this is right about what we’d expect for a 15.6″ thin-and-light notebook. This time translates to about five and a half to six hours under normal usage (web surfing and so on). When running our Powermark Productivity benchmark, we achieved four hours, 26 minutes which translates to between six and seven hours of usage.