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Hands on: HP Elitebook Pro 800 series review

Kat Orphanides
1 Oct 2013
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Powerful, easy to upgrade and feature-packed, this range of ultrabooks includes 12in, 14in and 15.6in models

Laptops, even most business models, are notoriously difficult to open if you want to upgrade or clean the fluff out of them. The HP Elitebook Pro 800 range of ultraportables departs from this traditionally fiddly school of design with an easy to open chassis.

HP Elitebook 800 interior gubbins

Hard disk, RAM slots, wireless adaptor and more are a breeze to access

There's plenty inside all three models in the range, with a massive selection of optional components you can specify for each. There are three basic models, each with a different screen size and chassis configuration: the 12in 820, the 14in 840 and the 15.6in 850. Apart from screen size, the other major difference is the number of USB3 ports each has. The 820 has three, the 840 four and the 850 has a whopping five USB3 ports. You also get a Gigabit Ethernet port and headset jack.

The 840 is also available in a touchscreen version with a 1,600x900 resolution screen that has a gloss finish as opposed to the matt displays of other models in the range, while both the 840 and 850 are available in non-touchscreen versions with resolutions of up to 1,920x1,080. All models have both VGA and DisplayPort outputs for connecting the laptop to an external monitor or projector.

The entire range can be bought with an Intel Core i7, i5 or i3 processor and you've also got massive choice when it comes to hard disk configurations, including a 1TB hard disk, 256GB SSD or a combination of an HDD and a 32GB flash cache. Wireless and mobile connection options are also varied, with the maximum specification supporting the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard and 4G mobile internet.

The ultrabooks' chassis are made from aluminium with a magnesium lid base for strength and durability - they've passed drop-tests from a height of 60cm as well being splash-proof to ward against unfortunate coffee spillage related incidents.

None of these models has a numeric keypad, a move that helps to keep their size down and also means that their touchpads are fairly centrally located. They've got separate, raised buttons rather than integrating them into the pad itself and this design makes it incredibly easy to click and drag. For those who aren't comfortable with touchpads, there's also a touchstick in the centre of the keyboard with a second set of buttons that are positioned to work perfectly in concert with it.

The Elitebook Pro 800 has both touchstick and touchpad

The Elitebook Pro 800 has both touchstick and touchpad

Other optional extras include desktop docks from HP's current range and a secondary battery that brings its battery life up to a quoted maximum of 33 hours, while further standard features on all models include a backup BIOS in case of malware and two memory slots capable of each holding an 8GB stick of DDR3 RAM.

Despite this huge range of feature options, the 12in 820 has a minimum weight of just 1.33kg, while even the large 850 starts at 1.88kg, so your laptop bag won't be weighed down too heavily by any of these. Prices start at €699 (£584).

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