HP Elitebook X360 review

HP Elitebook X360 1040 G9 Review

HP’s top-tier business-oriented have impressed us in the past and now the company has several different ranges hitting the market. This is the HP Elitebook X360 1040 G9 – that’s quite a mouthful so let’s decipher the name.

Elitebook tells us that it’s a high-quality business-oriented ultraportable laptop with a metal subframe and sturdy, lightweight, plastic skin. It contains business-grade security features like fingerprint reader and TPM 2.0 module but it also has HP’s additional Wolf Security features. The X360 tells us that the screen folds around backwards which transforms it into a tablet. The 1040 means it’s a top-of-the-range ultraportable. The G9 means Gen 9 which syncs with Intel’s 12th Gen processors.

So, it’s a business ultraportable, but is this HP Elitebook X360 any good?

HP Elitebook X360 1040 G9 Specs

Screen14-inch, matte, 60Hz, 1,920 x 1,200, IPS display
Processor3.3 – 4.4GHz Intel Core i5-1235U CPU
Memory8GB DDR5-4800 RAM
GraphicsIntel Xe GPU
Hard drive1 x 256GB PCIe NVMe
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E Bluetooth 5.3
2 x Thunderbolt 4, USB4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x HDMI 2.0
3.5mm audio jack
SecurityCard reader
5G microSIM
SpeakersDual array
SecurityFingerprint Reader
TPM 2.0 module
SmartCard Reader
HP Wolf Security
WebcamUHD 1,440p
Battery51Wh
Dimensions397 x 330 x 232mm
Weight1.48 KG
SKU6G9M6PA
Specs.

Design and handling

The HP Elitebook X360 has a robust, silver, plastic chassis and lid. The glossy HP moniker helps keep it classy although it’s noticeably not made of metal so it’s not going to stop any C-suite colleagues in their tracks with its looks. It’s far from ugly though.

The magnesium-alloy subframe keeps it strong and rigid. The lid doesn’t flex at all when a twisting force is applied. This is part-helped by the glossy, glass touchscreen which feels very strong. Unlike its gaming-oriented brethren, the hinge is also solid and well-weighted.

Opening it up reveals the bright, glossy touchscreen. It is sharp and displays a crisp, 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, Windows Desktop. Multimedia performance is above average thanks to good colour gradients (with minimal stepping) and decent contrast. However, colours are a bit muted and monochromatic gradients can get blocky and display aberrations. While dark scenes can turn the screen into a black mirror, it still does a better job of banishing them compared to others.

HP Elitebook X360 review front
We like everything about interacting with this convertible laptop… except for the squished arrow key area.

The screen has a 60Hz refresh rate but the pixel response time is fast. As such you can use it for casual and (mildly) competitive gaming quite comfortably.

HP Elitebook X360 review backlight bleed
For those who care about backlight bleed… there’s not much of it.

Because it’s a convertible it’s got a touchscreen which is very responsive. It also comes with HP’s Stylus which can attach magnetically on the right side of the chassis. It turns into a decent-enough tablet that stays tablet-ified thanks to the strong hinge.

HP Elitebook X360 review tablet mode
The Elitebook X360 1040 G9 converts into a vey usable tablet.

Below the screen is a good, Scrabble-Tile keyboard which has three levels of white backlighting. The keys are very well weighted and it’s accurate to type upon for extended periods. Our only gripe is the squished arrow keys which are inter-squished with the Page Up and Page Down keys. Urgh! The trackpad is very smooth, accurate and has a pleasant clicking action.

Above the screen is the first 1,440p, UHD webcam we’ve seen and it’s impressive, even in low light. It doesn’t support Windows Hello face-recognition log-in and neither does the fingerprint reader but we suspect that HP feels they’re security risks.

The fingerprint is supported by a TPM 2.0 security module but there’s also extensive additional layers of additional security provided by HP’s Wolf Security technology which adds adds even more security (and some support) layers between the chipset and cloud.

HP describes it thusly, “From self-healing firmware and in-memory breach detection, to threat containment via isolation, HP Wolf Security reduces the addressable attack surface and enables remote recovery from firmware attacks.” If business-class security and support is paramount, this represents a first-class ‘solution.’

The twin speakers are tuned by Bang & Olufsen (no less) so we hoped for greatness but expected little from the thin chassis. However, we were pleasantly surprised with the punchy fidelity that rang out from the top end to the bottom. There’s not much bass but you can’t expect it to change the laws of physics.

Performance

Inside HP’s Elitebook X360 1040 G9 is a ‘low-power’ Intel 3.3–4.4GHz Intel Core i5-1235U CPU with two Performance cores and Eight Efficiency core. It’s flanked by (just) 8GB of DDR5-4800 RAM and a rather-miserly 256GB hard drive.

These combined to score 5,294 in the PCMark 10 test which measures general, all-round computing skills. That’s a decent score for any ultraportable and demonstrates that the HP Elitebook X360 will be able to handle all kinds of office work (and a few more-demanding tasks) very capably. It also scored 1,328 and 7,102 respectively in the Cinebench R15 and R23 CPU rendering tests. That’s also impressive for a notebook this size.

3D performance comes via the integrated Intel Xe graphics and we didn’t expect much. It wouldn’t run the complex, 3Dmark ray-tracing tests Speed Way and Port Royal. In Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme (which represent the performance of many AAA game titles) it scored just 1,189 (average 6.5fps) and 1,369 (average 6.2fps) respectively.

However, the HP Elitebook X360 did manage 11,196 in the lesser Night Raid test (which is an average of 59.4fps) which means it will be able to play most casual and competitive games. These will also look decent thanks to the screen’s fast pixel response time.

Connectivity

HP Elitebook X360 review left
On the left are two USB-C 4 ports that support Thunderbolt 4, an HDMI 2.0 port, a USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port and a SecurityCard reader.
HP Elitebook X360 review right
On the right is another USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 port, a 3.5mm audio jack plus a 5G microsSIM slot (this can be optional or downgraded to 4G if you want to save money).

Inside there’s Wi-Fi 6E and it’s the first laptop we’ve seen with Bluetooth 5.3. This provides some improved reliability, user experience and better encryption. It’s an impressive connectivity complement.

Portability

The HP Elitebook X360 is well built, and easily solid enough to withstand life on the road. It weighs just 1.48KG and the power brick adds just 320g to the bulk.

HP Elitebook X360 review underneath
The Elitebook X360 1040 G9 stays cool and quiet, even when pushed.

In the PCMark 10 Modern Office battery life test it managed 10 hours 54 minutes. That’s more than a full day out of the office and where we expect ultraportables of this type to be.

Price

The HP Elitebook X360 costs $2,581. That’s generally reasonable but, in a crowded market, it’s above average in terms of value. However, most ‘buyers’ will be procuring this through their business or its managed service provider where the price is negotiable and borderline irrelevant – coming, as it will, as part of leasing agreement with built-in support.

5 Alternatives to the HP Elitebook X360 1040 G9

The Elitebook sits in a crowded space. Here are some similar options.

MSI Prestige 14 Evo
More powerful | Cheaper | Less security | Fewer features | More portable | Not convertible

Acer Swift 5
More power | More expensive | More portable | Not convertible

Dynabook X40L-K
Also convertible | Business focused | Less security | but the Elitebook beats it on almost every measure.

Lenovo ThinkPad Z13
More powerful | Equally corporate | Less security | More portable

Asus Vivobook Pro 15 OLED
Much cheaper | OLED screen | More portable | Poor speakers

We’re looking forward to see some imminent new rival arrivals from Dell, Asus and HP. Watch this space for more portable laptops!

Conclusion

It’s a very crowded market but there’s lots to like about he HP Elitebook X360. For many buyers, there won’t be a choice – it will be the only option provided by your company. But that won’t mean you’ll be disappointed to receive it. It will keep you productive, it’s great for multimedia and conferencing and, if you’re allowed to install the odd game, you could even while away some hours owning n00bs. An impressive convertible.

Pros

Business-class security
Convertible tablet
Good speakers
Great webcam

Cons

Mediocre performance
Average portability

2 Comments

  1. Chidi

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