HP EliteBook 8740w Review

by Reads (134,792)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 7
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 6.86
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


  • Pros

    • High performance
    • Durable chassis
    • Eyefinity multi-display option
  • Cons

    • Flexible keyboard
    • Weak battery life
    • Thick and heavy

Quick Take

The EliteBook 8740w offers high performance and fantastic options for graphic artists.

The HP EliteBook 8740w has been on the market for a while now, but it is still the largest and most powerful workstation in HP’s current lineup of business notebooks. This massive workhorse features Intel processors, your choice of Nvidia or ATI workstation graphics and is available with HP’s exclusive 17-inch “DreamColor” display. It’s been a long time coming, but we finally took a closer look at this desktop replacement to see if it really is a graphic artist’s best friend.

Our review unit of the EliteBook 8740w features the following configuration:

  • Intel Core i7-820QM Quad-core Processor (1.73GHz, 8MB cache, 3.06GHz Turbo Frequency)
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
  • 17.0-inch WUXGA+ anti-glare DreamColor display (1920 x 1200)
  • 1GB (GDDR5) ATI FirePro M7820 Workstation GPU
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 320GB 7200RPM HDD
  • DVD+/-RW Optical Drive
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Modem, and Bluetooth Connectivity
  • 8-Cell 73WHr Battery
  • 3-Year on-site Warranty
  • Dimensions: 1.3″ x 15.5″ x 11.1″
  • Weight: 7.9lbs
  • MSRP: $3,552 as configured (starting price: $1,999)

Build and Design
The HP EliteBook 8740w is a “mobile workstation” designed to meet very specific requirements for performance, durability, power consumption and a host of other features. In each case the EliteBook line meets or exceeds those standards, so before you even try to life this almost eight-pound notebook you know it’s built to be tough.

The main body of the laptop is covered in the “HP DuraCase” and “HP DuraFinish” which is essentially a hard plastic and strong magnesium alloy inner shell much like its predecessor strengthened by a brushed aluminum outer shell that is scratch resistant. HP uses a darker color on the outside of the mobile workstations and a lighter silver finish on the standard EliteBook series. The outer shell of the screen casing is made of metal, but the inner screen bezel is plastic. The entire chassis from the base to the screen lid feels exceptionally strong and resistant to flex. The keyboard is the only exception to that rule since it has a tendency to “bounce” under your fingertips when you type with heavy pressure.

HP says that this mobile workstation “has been tested and meets the military standard MIL-STD 810F tests” and we’ve seen HP demonstrations where this EliteBook was exposed to excessive heat, vibration and water and kept running. Additionally, the 8740w also features hard drive shock protection in the form of HP 3D DriveGuard which helps protect your hard drive in the event the laptop gets dropped or violently bumped. You can also configure the 8730w with a solid state drive (SSD) if you need extreme speed and resistance to vibration.

In terms of expansion, the EliteBook 8740w uses two simple plastic covers on the bottom of the notebook (each held in place with standard Phillips head screws) so that you or your IT department can easily access the hard drive, wireless cards or RAM for fast upgrades. The optical drive can also be removed and replaced with a second hard drive or SSD if you need more storage. The bottom of the notebook also features a dedicated docking station port, external battery port, and a convenient place to store your business card.

Ports and Features

The 8740w features a good number of ports on all sides, so let us take a brief tour …

Left side: Security lock slot, heat exhaust, power jack, DisplayPort, VGA port, USB 2.0, FireWire, an ExpressCard/54 slot and a smart card slot

Right side: eSATA port, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, optical drive, Ethernet and modem port

Rear side: The battery and heat exhaust

Front side: Headphone jack, microphone jack and multi-card reader



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