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An In-Depth Look at the HP EliteBook Laptop Series

For over 15 years, the HP EliteBook line of laptops has been a fixture in offices, boardrooms, and briefcases around the world. As HP‘s premium business laptop offering, the EliteBook blends productivity, performance, and durability into a capable workhorse able to keep up with life on the road.

But with over a dozen models spanning from ultralight ultrabooks to mobile workstations, it can be challenging to pick the right EliteBook for your needs. This comprehensive guide will explore the full history of the EliteBook lineup and help you decide if one of these business laptops should be your next PC.

A Brief History of the HP EliteBook Series

Let‘s start from the beginning and look at how the EliteBook has evolved over the years since its 2008 debut:

First Generation (2008)

The original EliteBook lineup launched with six models ranging from 12.1 to 17-inches. The focus was on performance, connectivity, and battery life. Early reviews praised their solid construction but criticized the plain aesthetics.

Model Screen Size CPU RAM Storage
EliteBook 2530p 12.1" Intel Core 2 Duo Up to 8GB 160GB HDD
EliteBook 2730p 12.1" Intel Core 2 Duo Up to 8GB 160GB HDD
EliteBook 6930p 14.1" Intel Core 2 Duo Up to 8GB 320GB HDD
EliteBook 8530p 15.4" Intel Core 2 Duo Up to 8GB 320GB HDD
EliteBook 8530w 15.4" Intel Core 2 Duo Up to 8GB 320GB HDD
EliteBook 8730w 17" Intel Core 2 Extreme Up to 8GB 320GB HDD

Second Generation (2010)

The second gen EliteBooks upgraded to Intel‘s Core i5 and i7 processors. Aesthetics and build quality improved while retaining the durable construction.

Model Screen Size CPU RAM Storage
EliteBook 2540p 12.1" Intel Core i5 Up to 16GB 500GB HDD
EliteBook 2740p 12.1" Intel Core i7 Up to 8GB 320GB HDD
EliteBook 8440p 14.1" Intel Core i5 Up to 16GB 500GB HDD
EliteBook 8540p 15.6" Intel Core i5 Up to 16GB 500GB HDD
EliteBook 8540w 15.4" Intel Core i7 Up to 32GB 7200RPM 500GB HDD
EliteBook 8740w 17.3" Intel Core i7 Up to 32GB 7200RPM 500GB HDD

Third Generation (2011)

The third generation brought a shift to 16:9 aspect ratio screens and focused on improving graphics performance with discrete GPU options. Battery life saw major improvements.

Model Screen Size CPU RAM Storage
EliteBook 2560p 12.5" Intel Core i5 Up to 16GB 320GB HDD
EliteBook 2760p 12.1" Intel Core i7 Up to 16GB 500GB HDD
EliteBook 8460p 14" Intel Core i5 Up to 16GB 500GB HDD
EliteBook 8460w 15.6" Intel Core i7 Up to 32GB 500GB HDD
EliteBook 8560p 15.6" Intel Core i7 Up to 16GB 500GB HDD
EliteBook 8560w 15.6" Intel Core i7 Up to 32GB 7200RPM 500GB HDD
EliteBook 8760w 17.3" Intel Core i7 Up to 32GB 7200RPM 500GB HDD

And so on through each generation, with a new generation roughly every 12-18 months. Some key developments along the way:

  • 4th Gen (2012) – First sub-12-inch model with 11.6" EliteBook 2170p
  • 5th Gen (2013) – Major redesign, premium materials. New Ultrabook models.
  • 6th Gen (2014) – Broadwell CPUs, improved battery life.
  • 8th Gen (2017) – Narrow bezels, backlit keyboard on all models.
  • 10th Gen (2019) – Focus on convertible 2-in-1 models with touch.
  • Latest Gen (2022) – 12th gen Intel processors, anti-glare displays, 5MP webcams.

You can glance the different sizes, specs, and designs to see how HP gradually refined the EliteBook over the years into the capable business laptop it is today.

HP EliteBook Lineup: Model Differences

HP offers a staggeringly wide array of EliteBook models spanning from super lightweight 2-in-1s to high-powered mobile workstations. Let‘s break down the key differences:

EliteBook 800 Series

The flagship EliteBook models designed for maximum productivity. Available in 13", 14" and 15" screen sizes.

Key Features:

  • Latest 12th gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors
  • Up to 64GB DDR4 RAM
  • PCIe solid state drives up to 2TB
  • Numerous ports including USB-C/Thunderbolt
  • Premium materials like aluminum or magnesium alloy

Models:

  • EliteBook 830 – 13.3" Ultrabook starting at 2.71 lbs
  • EliteBook 840 – 14" mainstream model
  • EliteBook 850 – 15.6" high performance

EliteBook 600 Series

Thinner and lighter EliteBooks still using 12th gen Intel processors. Excellent portability.

Key Features:

  • Starting weights around 2.5 lbs
  • 1080p and 4K display options
  • Aluminum chassis on higher end models
  • MIL-STD-810H military grade testing

Models:

  • EliteBook 635 – AMD-powered 13.3" model
  • EliteBook 640 – 13.3" entry level business Ultrabook
  • EliteBook 645 – 14" mid-range model
  • EliteBook 655 – 15.6" flagship for 600 series

ZBook Studio and ZBook Fury

High-powered mobile workstations with dedicated NVIDIA graphics, ECC memory, and Xeon CPUs for intensive workloads.

Key Features:

  • NVIDIA T500 or RTX professional graphics
  • 4K OLED touchscreen display options
  • Xeon processors on ZBook Fury models
  • Error correcting code (ECC) memory
  • Thunderbolt 4 connectivity

Models:

  • ZBook Studio – Slimline 15" and 16" models
  • ZBook Fury – Full-size 15" and 17" workstations

EliteBook x360

2-in-1 convertible EliteBooks with 360 degree hinges. Touchscreen and pen support.

Key Features:

  • 13.3" and 14" touchscreen options
  • Pen included for drawing and note taking
  • Convertible and tablet functionality
  • Aluminum chassis on high end models
  • Optional privacy filter screens

Models:

  • EliteBook x360 830 G9
  • EliteBook x360 1040 G9

Elite Dragonfly

The premium 2-in-1 convertible focused on ultimate portability. Weights around 2 lbs.

Key Features:

  • Starts at just 2.2 lbs
  • 13.3" touchscreen with pen support
  • Optional LTE mobile broadband
  • 4K OLED display option
  • All day 20+ hour battery life

This covers the key current EliteBook models and series. With such a wide range, you‘re bound to find one that fits your needs whether you need a desktop replacement or barely-there Ultrabook.

EliteBook Pricing: What Models Cost

EliteBooks range considerably in price from entry-level models around $999 to fully loaded configurations over $3,000. Here‘s a quick pricing overview:

Series Entry-Level Mid-Range High-End
EliteBook 800 $1,499 $1,799 $2,300+
EliteBook 600 $999 $1,299 $1,599
ZBook Studio $1,549 $2,099 $3,099+
ZBook Fury $1,939 $2,809 $4,199+
EliteBook x360 $1,629 $1,949 $2,479
Elite Dragonfly $1,799 $2,149 $2,760

Of course, you can pay more or less depending on factors like:

  • CPU – From dual-core i5 up to octa-core i7 or Xeon
  • RAM – 8GB base up to 64GB ECC RAM
  • Storage – 128GB SSD up to 2TB PCIe NVMe
  • Display – 1080p non-touch up to 4K OLED touchscreen
  • Graphics – Integrated UHD to NVIDIA RTX/Quadro
  • Materials – Plastic vs aluminum/magnesium alloy

But this table gives you a general idea of what to expect at various price points. The flagship models with all the bells and whistles can run upwards of $3,000 or even $4,000 when fully loaded.

HP EliteBook Pros and Cons

Before deciding if an EliteBook is right for you, let‘s examine some of the key pros and cons compared to alternatives like ThinkPad, Latitude, and Surface:

Pros

  • Military grade durability with MIL-STD-810H testing
  • Wide array of connectivity with USB-A, C/Thunderbolt, HDMI, etc
  • Excellent keyboard and mouse input for productivity
  • Enterprise deployment and management tools
  • Easily serviceable and upgradeable design
  • Top-notch security features like SmartCard readers
  • Highly configurable to customize specifications
  • 3 year limited warranty coverage

Cons

  • Conservative styling not as sleek as a MacBook
  • Mediocre 720p webcams on some entry models
  • No high refresh rate display options
  • Very expensive fully loaded configurations
  • Not ideal for casual use or entertainment
  • No discrete GPU options on some mainstream models
  • No OLED or touch on clamshell models

For business users, the pros like durability, security, and input quality are vital. But for general consumers wanting a sleek ultraportable, the EliteBook may fall short. It ultimately comes down to your needs and priorities.

Top 5 Best HP EliteBook Models to Buy

If you‘ve decided an EliteBook is right for you, which model should you choose? Here are 5 of the best options to consider:

1. HP EliteBook 860 G9 – The flagship 15" combines 12th gen i7 processors and 32GB RAM for top notch performance. Around $2,140 configured on HP‘s site.

2. HP ZBook Firefly G9 – Need serious power? This mobile workstation packs 12th gen Xeon CPUs and an RTX graphics card. Starts at $2,079.

3. HP EliteBook x360 1040 G9 – A premium 2-in-1 with 14" touchscreen, pen support, and solid specs for around $1,899 and up.

4. HP Elite Dragonfly G3 – Incredibly lightweight at just 2.2 lbs but still potent with a 12th gen Intel Core i7 processor and vPro support. Around $2,379.

5. HP EliteBook 845 G9 – A more affordable option still using the latest Ryzen 7 Pro processors and 16GB RAM for under $1,500.

Any of these will serve you well. I‘d recommend upgrading to 16GB RAM and at least a 512GB SSD on any model you choose for the best experience.

Should You Buy an HP EliteBook in 2022?

The EliteBook remains one of the best business laptop options for demanding users even in 2022. Key factors that make them stand out include:

  • Powerful 12th Gen Performance – With both Intel and AMD‘s latest processors, you‘ll blaze through tasks.
  • All Day Battery Life – Models like the Elite Dragonfly G3 last over 20+ hours on a charge.
  • Premium Build Quality – Magnesium, aluminum, and carbon fiber chassis are made to survive life on the road.
  • Enterprise Management Tools – Streamline large deployments with HP‘s management software and utilities.
  • Leading Security – SmartCard readers, IR cameras, fingerprint readers and more help keep data secure.

If you need sheer processing power, HP‘s ZBook workstations compete with the best. And the convertible options finally bring EliteBooks up to speed with versatile 2-in-1 designs.

For business owners, enterprise IT, and other professionals needing workstation-class capabilities, the EliteBook still delivers. Just be prepared to pay a premium over consumer models to get those business-ready features.

The Bottom Line

After over 15 years and 12 generations, the HP EliteBook series represents the pinnacle of premium business laptops. While they may not offer the flashiest designs or latest display tech, EliteBooks can dominate productivity thanks to their combination of performance, durability, and versatility.

If you‘re shopping for a new work laptop, definitely give the latest EliteBook 800 and 600 models strong consideration alongside Lenovo ThinkPad and Dell Latitude laptops. Going with an HP EliteBook means investing in a system that can keep up with the demands of life on the road while also keeping your data secure.

So there you have it! A complete guide to HP‘s EliteBook laptop lineup spanning over a decade of innovations. Let me know if you have any other questions about finding the right EliteBook for your needs. I‘m happy to provide any insight I can as an experienced tech analyst. Feel free to reach out anytime.

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