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

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

In raw performance terms, the 8730w delivers on pretty much every front. In PCMark Vantage it performed admirably, showing itself capable of chomping through even intensive tasks with ease. We would add, though, that the single RAM module does hold it back in places, particularly in the memory test, as does the use of DDR2 RAM instead of faster DDR3. Given this is an expensive high-performance system it is surprising HP has gone down this route.

Setting aside that small disappointment for a moment, however, the 8730w delivers some very impressive battery life figures for a notebook of its size and specification. In the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test it easily exceeded two hours and 30 minutes, while the idle Reader test produced a result in excess of three hours. Even the DVD test, where we look for a worst case scenario, returned a decent one hour and 55 minutes runtime. Enough time to watch most films.

Moreover, HP offers a couple of useful ways to supplement the standard eight-cell 73 Watt-hour battery, via a secondary connection on the bottom of the machine just below the docking station connection. First is the HP Extended Life Battery, a 52 Watt-hour pack, which attaches to the bottom and charges the primary battery pack up to 90 per cent in 90 minutes. Then there's a 12-cell Ultra Capacity battery that, when combined with the primary battery, could offer in the region of four hours use. Of course, such advantages are tempered by the reduced portability, but if you need as much battery life as possible then these options will be very welcome.


HP packs most of the ingredients of an excellent mobile workstation into the 8730w. It has a fantastic screen, is powerful and well featured, and if you do need to take it out there are plenty of options for extending the battery life. However, it is very expensive and despite the massive price tag it does lack a few small but obvious things, like a DisplayPort or DVI video output. As such we won't recommend it outright, but if it fulfils your needs it shouldn't disappoint.

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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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