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HP Elitebook 8730w Mobile Workstation - HP Elitebook 8730w Mobile Workstation

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Being a business machine the 8730w sports a demure but classy appearance. Brushed aluminium inside and out certainly lends it a premium feel and contrasts nicely with the matte black plastic used inside. Everything about the machine looks and feels like quality, which is just as well given the price.

Being a substantial piece of kit it's no surprise to see a full-size keyboard, with numeric number pad, dominating proceedings. It's a very good effort, too. Keys have a firm and positive feel to them and the basic layout of the keyboard can't really be faulted. It's still not quite up to ThinkPad levels of refinement, but HP is certainly among the best of the rest in this regard.

Another staple of the business notebook is a combination of touchpad and trackpoint and the 8730w doesn't disappoint here, either. Nestled in the middle of the keyboard is the trackpoint, which is slightly concave to aid control, while the touchpad below is large and accompanied by a trio of satisfyingly chunky, hinged buttons. As is the trackpoint for that matter, ensuring you don't have to move your hands from the keyboard just to perform basic tasks.

Above the keyboard are a set of touch-sensitive controls. These comprise all sorts of things, including a toggle switch for the wireless radios, a shortcut to HP's Protect Tools software and volume controls. They all work well enough, proving to be responsive and accurate, while adding some useful and convenient functionality.

Important as the keyboard and cursor inputs are to any notebook, though, as far as the 8730w goes it will live and die on the quality of its screen. Besting the other LED RGB equipped notebook we've seen, the Dell Studio XPS 16, the 17in 8730w has a 16:10 ratio display that offers a productivity enhancing 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. As you would rightly expect it also has an anti-glare finish, making it more at home in brightly lit offices than consumer focussed machines.

In use we found the display nothing short of stunning. It's bright, sharp and has wide viewing angles, so even a large group of colleagues can view what you're working on without impediment. Most vital, however, is the bundled software that allows you to control the display's colour settings. You can choose between three colour spaces, sRGB, Adobe RGB or Full (unrestricted), as well as set your desired white point (colour temperature). This sort of flexibility makes the 8730w ideal for someone working with images, where they can switch between sRGB for viewing and editing photos for web pages, then go to Adobe RGB when dealing with CMYK print-based, post-production imagery.


May 1, 2009, 3:30 pm

I'm currently typing this on an Elitebook 8710W- pretty much the same spec as the reviewed machine but with a Quadro FX 3600 graphics card and a run of the mill screen. It runs Pro/E and SolidWorks 2009 beautifully and 2D work sketching in Illustrator, Sketch Book Pro (my favouritist 2D package evah!) and Photoshop are an absolute breeze. I would say that the build quality of the chassis and keyboard is better than my colleagues' Dell Precision M6400 machines, I can't compare performance as they're running Quad Core machines with FX3700 graphics and each of their laptops costs over �- their machines are certainly faster I just don't know if they're �+VAT quicker and the frankly ludicrous power supply that the Dells need has been responsible for more hernias than the London Marathon.

One thing I will say is that HP's business support is dreadful compared to Dell's- something breaks on the Dell and there will be an engineer onsite, the very next day. When the HDD on the HP failed (on day three) their useless shower offered to send a replacement drive and system builder discs in ten days time, the IT managed ended up fitting a spare disc himself and spent two days rebuilding it.

Since then the machine has performed faultlessly but I'd be wary of relying on HP support for a machine I was going to buy with my own cash.

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