HP’s EliteBook lineup in India stands for premium-range business laptops and is the best laptop with DVD drive in India. The price level is correspondingly high. A 15.6-inch member of the 3rd generation faces us in the form of the EliteBook 850 G3. Compared with its predecessor, it has been reworked to quite some extent. The new laptop is now slimmer and lighter. It also sports a new CPU generation with the Skylake processors. Our report uncovers whether these innovations are worthwhile. Laptops, such as Lenovo’s ThinkPad T560, Toshiba’s Tecra Z50-C and Dell’s Latitude E5550 are some rivals of the EliteBook.
In addition to the usual documents, such as a quick start poster and warranty conditions, the laptop is shipped with a Windows 10 Pro (64-bit) installation DVD alongside the corresponding applications and drivers on its DVD. HP offers a multitude of optional accessories for the laptop; the matching docking station (HP 2013 UltraSlim) is available for around 15000 rupees in India, for example.
Unlike both former models, the chiclet keyboard in the EliteBook 850 G3 again features a full-sized numpad. Consequently, the keyboard requires more space than the ones in the predecessors. The enter, backspace and right shift key are a bit smaller. The new keyboard is backlit and can be controlled via a function key. Two brightness levels are available. The flat, sleek keys have a medium drop and clear pressure point. We generally like the keys’ resistance. The keyboard does not rock when typing on it. In total, the keyboard provides a good typing feel. HP maintains the high-quality standard known from the predecessors with this keyboard.
The EliteBook 850 G3 is the direct successor of the EliteBook 850 G2. However, the devices do not feature an identical build. HP again relies on a metal casing composed of aluminum and magnesium for its G3. Despite all that, both laptops are one of the best DVD drive laptops in India. The base unit’s upper side and back of the lid are silver-colored. The base tray and display bezel are black. The G3 is visibly slimmer than its successor. Its weight has also been reduced and now weighs less than 2 kg (4.4 lb). This diet has affected maintenance friendliness though. The G3 no longer features the big maintenance hatch of its predecessor. The base tray has to be removed to access the innards – but more about that later. The laptop is set up like its predecessor inside. Furthermore, the G3 model no longer offers the option of strapping an additional battery on the device’s underside.
The EliteBook carries a Wi-Fi module by Intel (Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260). In addition to the 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi standards, it also supports the high-speed ac standard. Furthermore, the module adds Bluetooth 4.2 functionality to the laptop. The connection between laptop and router was always stable. Interruptions did not occur in a 15 meter (49 ft) radius around our router. Intel’s Gigabit Ethernet chip (I219-V) takes care of cabled connections. Beyond that, our review sample sports an LTE modem – that is not the case in every EliteBook model. Thus, it is possible to access the Internet via mobile networks. The corresponding SIM card slot supports micro-SIM cards.
The device we have been provided with features a matte, 15.6-inch panel that has a native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. HP relies on the same screen as used in the EliteBook 850 G2 model that we tested. The measured rates deviate slightly, which is normal. Two identically built screens will never correspond to one-hundred percent. Cheaper EliteBook models come with DVD drive in India and are furnished with HD panels (1366×768 pixels).
The Full HD screen’s brightness of 287.3 cd/m² is acceptable. Nevertheless, we expect more from a laptop from this price range. It should be a rate beyond 300 cd/m². The contrast of 537:1 is not awe-inspiring, either. The laptop’s price level demands a contrast of at least 1000:1. Beyond that, the panel displays PWM flickering in brightness levels of 50 percent and lower at a frequency of 200 Hz. That could lead to headaches or eye problems in sensitive users.
The EliteBook 850 G3 is a member of the premium-range business laptops. It has enough computing power for all common application fields. It offers business-typical features, such as TPM 1.2, biometric authentication and a docking port. Furthermore, 3G/LTE modules are available optionally. Our review sample is equipped correspondingly. Approximately 70000 rupees in India is presently demanded for the model we have been provided with. Other configurations exist. The cheapest model at test time was priced at about 60000 rupees in India.
The EliteBook presented itself as quite moderate over the entire load range. We measured a maximum idle consumption of 8.4 watts. The energy requirement was 43 watts at the beginning of the stress test. Since the processor is throttled, the consumption drops to 31.6 watts after a few seconds. The power supply has a nominal output of 65 watts.
The EliteBook achieved a runtime of 6:57 hours in our practical Wi-Fi test. We simulate the load needed for opening websites via a script here. The “Balanced” profile is enabled, and the screen’s brightness is set to approximately 150 cd/m². HP’s laptop manages 7:10 hours in our video test on one battery charge. We loop the short movie “Big Buck Bunny” (H.265 encoding, 1920×1080 pixels) for this. The wireless modules are disabled, and the screen’s brightness is reduced to 150 cd/m².
HP again packs the technology of its new EliteBook 850 G3 in a high-quality metal casing. The device looks more elegant than its predecessor thanks to its slimmer appearance. However, the diet has its price: The maintenance hatch has been axed, making it necessary to open the casing for maintenance/upgrading. The EliteBook sports a powerful Skylake processor with enough computing power for all application fields. The laptop always runs quietly and barely heats up at the same time. It is possible to expand the laptop via an additional 2.5-inch hard drive. The input devices in the EliteBook G3 model are also very compelling. The laptop’s keyboard is suitable for prolific writers. The very good battery life complements that. However, it is no longer possible to strap an additional battery under the device – in contrast to the predecessor.
Unfortunately, HP also repeats an HP typical weakness in this laptop: the screen. Buyers who pay over 90000 rupees in India for a laptop can expect an excellent display. However, it is not found here. The screen’s most positive quality is its matte surface. The brightness can be called satisfactory, but not contrast and color reproduction. Furthermore, it is a viewing angle dependent screen.