*HP Elitebook 800 Series Owners Lounge*

Discussion in 'HP Business Class Notebooks' started by JayWalker7, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. picolino

    picolino Notebook Consultant

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    I was given a brand new HP EliteBook 820 G3 yesterday by my employer.

    All in all, I like the little beast. However, I have found the following nuisances:
    -the TN display with the HD resolution (1366x768) looks ridiculous; it is not very bright and has a weird blue cast
    -the keyboard is flexing in the middle/right part
    -pointer buttons are very soft/spongy
    -sometimes the fan starts making noise over nothing

    So apparently this laptop costs around 1600 euros in Europe, that feels too much to be honest. I would not recommend it for that price.
  2. Ra5k

    Ra5k Newbie

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    Hi, I just got the 840 g3 without the backlit keyboard from work. I have been contacting sellers of backlit keyboard part no 836308-001 but they all say that if the original is not backlit then the motherboard will not have the connector. I saw your post as a ray of light. I haven't opened my laptop yet to check if it's there or not. Can you confirm for sure? Also, HP made quite a bit of changes from the G1, G2 and the G3. If possible do you have the pic of the board and the connector on g3. Would all boards have it?
  3. Teraforce

    Teraforce Flying through life

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    I figured that since I got a new HP EliteBook 850 G3 this past January at work, I might as well post my experiences with it in the first 10 months of ownership. My company's current standard laptop is the EliteBook 850 (G1-G4), and the previous standard was the EliteBook 8560p/8570p.

    Intel Core i7 CPU (Standard work models have a Core i5)
    8GB RAM (We have models ranging from 4GB to 16GB in our environment, depending on the employee)
    256GB SSD (Most models have a 500GB HD)
    AMD Radeon R7 Graphics (most models have Intel integrated graphics)
    15.6" 1920x1080 LCD (most models have the 1366x768 display, while a few of them have the 1920x1080 touchscreen)
    OS: Windows 7 Enterprise

    This laptop is MUCH thinner and lighter than my old laptop, which was an EliteBook 8560p. A huge factor in this achievement was the elimination of the Optical Drive, which I rarely have the need for at my job. And on the few occasions where I have needed one, I just use a USB optical drive (or use my old laptop).

    The build quality is a definite step up from the 850 G1/G2, but still not quite to the level of the old 8560p/8570p. The laptop base is generally solid--slightly flimsy compared to the Abrams-M1-tank-like base of the 8560p/8570p, but it's definitely more solid and has a higher-quality feel than the 850 G1/G2. The lid has a silver metal finish, which hides dirt and ages much better than the black rubberized finish that the 850 G1/G2. The 850 G3 also doesn't suffer from the issue where the rear bottom left screw (the one underneath the power button) works its way out, something that I've seen numerous times with the 850 G1/G2 models at my office.

    The keyboard is good, with very little flex. The key travel and resistance, while good, is not quite as good as the 8560p/8570. It's still better than most laptop keyboards, however (*cough* current MacBooks *cough*). The backlight is bright and has 2 levels of brightness (plus off).

    There are a couple of flaws with the keyboard backlight, however. The first is that when the backlight times out, the num lock and caps lock indicators also turn off. This has thrown me off a few times where I don't realize that num lock and/or caps lock are on. If you set the backlight brightness to OFF, then the lock indicators will stay on.

    The second flaw is that when the keyboard backlight is on, the num lock light appears to be on when it really isn't. Combined with the first flaw, it makes it especially difficult to tell the state of num lock. For these reasons, I typically keep the keyboard backlight OFF unless I'm working in a dark room. At least there's a numpad, something that was sorely lacking on the 850 G1/G2.

    The touchpad works very well, and while the pointstick works decently, it still can't compare to the TrackPoint found on a ThinkPad. The mouse buttons have good travel and feedback, but feel slightly cheaper than the the ones found on the 8560p/8570p. There are buttons for toggling the Wi-Fi and the Speakers; unfortunately, the web browser and calculator buttons found on the 8560p/8570p are gone. One nitpick with those buttons is that in my office, it's difficult to see the lights on the buttons--they aren't quite bright enough--and silver finish on the laptop only worsens the issue. It seems like the 850 G4 units have brighter buttons, though.

    The display is one of the bigger flaws with the 850 G3. On the 1920x1080 LCD that's on my laptop, the colors are somewhat washed-out compared with the 1600x900 display on my 8560p (the black level is too high), and the viewing angles are pretty mediocre for a 2016 laptop, with colors inverting when you look at the LCD from the wrong vertical angle. The colors shifted a bit on my 8560p's display from the wrong vertical angle, but nowhere near as much as on the 850 G3. The 1366x768 display, in addition to being washed out, has poor color (they're too "cold"-looking) and lacks definition. The only decent display on the 850 G3 I've seen is the touchscreen version, which has good colors. I have not seen the 4K display, unfortunately. The hinges do allow for a greater opening angle than the ones found on the 850 G1/G2, but nowhere close to the almost-180-degree angle that the 8560p/8570p allows.

    The speakers are decent--they are MUCH better than the ones on the 8560p. They are mounted above the keybaord, resulting in a much clearer sound than the bottom-front mounted speakers on the 860p. The sound card has a nifty feature that remembers separate volume levels for headphones vs the built-in speakers. For example, if you have built-in speakers at full volume, you can plug in headphones and the volume will drop to wherever the headphones were at last. When you unplug the headphones, the volume will go right back to the level that they were before the headphones were plugged in. Unfortunately, the headphone jack doesn't detect headphones 100% of the time, causing the sound to go to the external speakers, even when headphones are plugged in. Unplugging the headphones and plugging them back in fixes the issue. I will note that just like other HP business notebooks, I had to disable the audio enhancements to get music to sound acceptable--by default, the sound card applies auto volume leveling, which makes music unlistenable.

    The ports are pretty limited compared to the 850 G1/G2. There are only 2 USB-A 3.0 ports instead of 4. There is a USB-C port, but it is nowhere near as ubiquitous yet as the USB-A port is. There is a VGA port and a full-size DisplayPort, the latter I find unusual; I'd expect a Mini-USB port instead. There's also a SmartCard reader, an Ethernet Jack (VERY handy still where I work, especially when (re)imaging a PC or having to use a console cable on our networking equipment), an SD-card reader, and a SIM-card slot--even IF the laptop doesn't have a WWAN card (mine doesn't). The power jack is different from the 850 G1/G2 laptops--it is much smaller than before. Although limited compared to the 850 G1/G2, the port selection is still much better than most other ultrabooks out there.

    As with just about every HP business-class notebook made in the last 12 years, there are 4 LEDs on the left side of the front edge--wireless, power, charging, and HD activity. Unfortunately, the LEDs are very difficult to see unless they are look at head-on. They are dim and have poor viewing angles. Previous HP business notebooks had LEDs that were much easier to see.

    Upgrading the 850 G3 is MUCH more time-consuming than the 850 G1/G2, but still much better than most ultrabooks. Instead of simply sliding off a cover, you have to remove 12 screws from the bottom--11 of which are hidden by rubber plugs that are specific to their location, while the 12th screw is under the dummy SD filler card for the SD slot. Once the screws are removed, the entire bottom pops off, exposing essentially everything. Once the bottom is removed, the RAM, HD, SSD, WLAN module, WWAN module, and battery are all very easy to remove and upgrade. The battery is held in by 2 screws, but is still considered to be user-replaceable. Unfortunately, there secondary battery connector on the 850 G1/G2 is gone.

    The loss of that secondary battery connector isn't really a big deal, however, as the battery life is VERY impressive. I typically get 8 hours of usage with the Wi-Fi on, LCD at medium brightness, running Firefox with a half-dozen tabs open, and occasionally using RDP. This is absolutely stunning. The Core-i5 versions with integrated graphics should get even better battery life.

    The 850 G3 uses the HP 2013 UltraSlim docking station, which is not without its faults. It can be tricky to line up the laptop with the docking station, especially if the eject lever isn't all the way out (which can happen more easily than it should). It is also easy to accidentally not slide the eject lever all the way in to dock the laptop. I've also seen several docks in my office fail, either with faulty VGA ports, DisplayPorts that temporarily drop the signal, broken latch hooks, or complete failures of the dock itself. Interestingly, the docking station still uses the older, larger HP charger connector. For the record, my laptop came with a brand-new dock, and I have had no issues with it yet.

    My particular 850 G3 performs very well except when first starting up, where it takes 1-2 minutes to either load the logon screen or to load my profile after I've logged on (stuck on the "Welcome" screen). After I'm logged on, however, the PC runs very, very fast.

    There are 3 glitches with it, though. The first is the headphone jack glitch that I mentioned earlier. The second occurs when I attempt to put the laptop on standby mode. It tends to wake itself back up the second after I put it to sleep. Putting it back to sleep will cause it to stay asleep. The problem used to be much worse--it had a tendency to turn itself back on after shutting it down--but updating the sound driver has greatly mitigated the issue. The sound driver is still responsible for waking the PC back up after I put it to sleep, however. The third glitch is the most serious one--there were a couple of occasions where I left the laptop running overnight, with the power options set to never sleep, only to have the laptop go black and completely freeze up on my when I returned the next morning. I'm not sure what causes this, as I've only done this a few times, so I'm not going to list it as a con yet, as it could be a software issue for all I know.

    Overall, I am very pleased with it, though I still use my old 8560p quite often alongside it, since it still works so well (and I have a dock for it at my house).

    --Very lightweight
    --Outstanding battery life
    --Wide range of configuration options
    --Great performance on the higher-end configurations
    --Good speakers
    --Good touchscreen display
    --Decent build quality, better than the 850 G1/G2
    --Good touchpad
    --Good keyboard with minimal flex

    --Mediocre non-touchscreen display
    --Limited number of USB-A ports
    --Upgrades are very time-consuming
    --Docking station reliability issues
    --Difficult to tell the state of caps-lock and especially num-lock when the keyboard backlight is on
    --Front LEDs are very difficult to see
    --Keyboard, while good, isn't quite as good as the 8560p/8570p keyboard
    --Laptop likes to wake up immediately after being put on standby mode (sound driver issue)
    --(Laptop crashes if left on continuously for too long)
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  4. mil2

    mil2 Notebook Consultant

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    I got two 820 G4 laptops earlier this year (one for work, one for home). I can confirm the fan problem you have -- it sometimes kicks up for no reason on power up or resume, and it just blows cold air. A quick suspend/resume cycle reliably cures it though.

    I haven't noticed the keyboard or pointer buttons problems you mention. The keyboard's great on both copies that I have.

    As to the screen, I ordered models with FHD (1920x1080) IPS screens (non-touch) and those are OK. Color gamut is limited, but the viewing angles and contrast are fine.

    I'm amazed by the battery life on these notebooks. I can easily go for 10 hours of light web browsing and such; I could probably stretch it to 12 without too much trouble if needed.

    One thing that was a disappointment to me though was the limited capability of the USB-C port. Sure, I knew from the get-go that it doesn't support Thunderbolt, but it was still a rude surprise when I found out that you can't even output video through it! Yep, it doesn't support the DisplayPort alternate mode of USB Type-C. That port is basically just like a regular Type-A, only with a different socket. It does support USB Power Delivery, but only in the outgoing direction -- you can't charge the laptop through it. I was hoping when I was buying it that that single USB-C port would "future-proof" my laptop but, alas, no. So when taking it on travel, don't forget its proprietary power brick or whatever else you need because none of the regular USB-C HDMI dongles or USB-PD power supplies will work.
  5. wiivile

    wiivile Notebook Consultant

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    I just got my EliteBook 820 G4 with 1920x1080 FHD IPS... the screen is horrible! Colors are washed out and whites are yellowish.

    My 4-year-old 2570p with a TN screen is brighter and clearer. I don't get it. I was expecting a big upgrade from the 1368x768 TN screen.
  6. mil2

    mil2 Notebook Consultant

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    I would describe the 820 G4 FHD IPS screens as OK, but just OK. The color gamut is not very high (<70% sRGB) and I'm guessing that's why the screen is not very vivid, lacking the "pop", especially if comparing to a screen with a glossy finish. I remember from my before-purchase research that pretty much all laptops with 12.5" FHD screens currently on the market seem to be like that, irrespective of the manufacturer.

    As to the color cast, curiously, the two 820 G4s that I have exhibit distinctly different casts even though the screens appear to be otherwise identical. Could there be so much copy-to-copy variation? Anyway, the cast should not be hard to eliminate in software. I used a hardware colorimeter to calibrate mine and they came out looking decent.

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