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HP EliteBook x360 1030 G7 review: Not quite the business

Tim Danton
8 Nov 2021
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

This flexible business laptop benefits from rock-solid construction, but you certainly pay a premium

Capable speakers
Solid battery life
Excellent screen when viewed head-on
Privacy screen limits viewing angles
Too heavy to work as a tablet
Weak front-facing camera

Update: The HP EliteBook x360 1030 G7 isn't currently available at any UK retailers. As soon as this situation changes, we will update this review with the best places to find it.

While the HP EliteBook x360 1030 G7 doesn’t aim for style in the same way as some of its competitors, it has an understated chic. An aggressive bezelled edge at the front makes it look slimmer than even a 16.1mm measurement would suggest, while the grilles on either side of the keyboard break up the monotony of silver.

The “sacrifice” for this aesthetic is a 13.3in screen rather than 14in, with thicker bezels around its 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Does this matter? In practice, no. It means the dot pitch is 0.1534mm rather than 0.1614mm, but I challenge anyone to notice this in general use.

HP EliteBook x360 1030 G7 review: Display

What does affect readability is HP’s Sure View technology. This is a clever way to stop people snooping on your screen – press F2 and it effectively becomes unreadable from the side – but it comes with a sacrifice to general viewing angles too. You have to look at the screen perfectly head-on to enjoy a clear image.

One way to counter this is to push the screen to full brightness, in this case a spectacular 607cd/m² if you switch off the ambient light sensor. I found the most practical choice was to keep it at 100% brightness (using the Windows setting) but let the sensor take control. It proved to be a sound judge, keeping the screen at roughly 400cd/m² in my well-lit office.

Technically, it’s an excellent screen, covering 95% of the sRGB gamut. With an average Delta E of 0.56 and 2,216:1 contrast ratio, it’s punchy and accurate – but with that proviso of looking at it head-on.

The screen’s other notable feature is its support for touch, and HP sent an Active Pen G3 (currently £73) for testing. This magnetically clamps to the side of the chassis with the same ferocity as a toddler to his mum on the first day of nursery, which means you can shove the x360 into a bag, with a pen attached, and not worry about it disconnecting.

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HP EliteBook x360 1030 G7 review: Performance

While the stylus works well, in tablet mode the x360 won’t give Apple any cause for concern. Not only is 1.2kg heavy for anything you hold in one hand, but there’s always the presence of the keys under fingers, while a 16:9 aspect ratio feels unnatural in tablet mode. It’s too tall and narrow. Instead, the x360 works best in “tent” mode, either for displaying a presentation (the pen doubles as a remote control) or watching a film and enjoying the power from the speakers. These are capable enough to set music going in the background too.

The mics built into the chassis pick up the spoken voice well (albeit with some reverb). What I fail to understand is why HP doesn’t supply a better front-facing camera for video calls, with noise and a lack of detail both obvious when compared to a half-decent phone or tablet. HP has hinted that the next generation of its business laptops will include a far superior 5MP webcam, so this might be worth waiting for.

The processor is also likely to be improved, with the 1030 G7 featuring tenth-generation Core processors. My review unit included a four-core Core i7-10610U, 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD, but this configuration isn’t currently available for sale in the UK. Instead, there’s a Core i5-10310U version with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for £1,389 exc VAT. It will be a smidgen slower than the Core i7 machine I tested, but I’m more concerned by the smaller SSD.

3D acceleration comes from the same built-in graphics chip whether you buy the Core i5 or Core i7, so you can expect similar performance here: a 33fps average in GFXBench’s onscreen Car Chase test, with 29fps in Dirt: Showdown and 16fps in Metro: Last Light. A gaming system this is not.

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HP EliteBook x360 1030 G7 review: Verdict

In fairness, that’s what you should expect from a business laptop, and with a battery life of 9hrs 53mins in our video rundown test, support for Intel’s vPro and an excellent three-year warranty for parts and labour – upgradeable to on-site for £79 exc VAT – it will fit neatly into any fleet of managed laptops. Before you buy, though, make sure the intended users will make use of the privacy screen on their travels or you’ll be wasting money on a feature that in day-to-day use is a negative.

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