Hands on: HP EliteBook 1040 G3 review

A Windows-based MacBook Pro rival

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The HP EliteBook 1040 G3 is a well-built business-class device. If it's capable of performing at the same level as laptops with a similar processor, it will be worthy of your consideration.


  • Super thin
  • Lightweight
  • Core i7


  • No 4K option
  • Only 512GB storage

If you're looking for a Windows laptop that mimics the style and performance of the MacBook Pro, the HP EliteBook 1040 G3 might be an excellent option for you. The EliteBook 1040 isn't the sexiest or lightest device on the market, but it features a solid aluminum and magnesium chassis that looks and feels like its Apple rival.

Starting at $1,199 (about £806, AU$1,690), the EliteBook features most of the performance hardware you'll need to tackle even the most rigorous tasks. At just 0.61 inches thick (15.7mm), this notebook is super thin for a business-class device packing heavy-duty specs.

At around 3 pounds, the EliteBook 1040 isn't the lightest laptop you can buy, but when its internals and durability are taken into account, its bulk is a fair tradeoff that should warrant your consideration.

HP EliteBook 1040 G3


The EliteBook 1040 G3 is powered by up to 16GB of RAM and sixth generation Intel Core i processors (i3, i5 and i7). Additionally, the EliteBook 1040 can store up to 512GB of data, which isn't ideal, but is certainly good enough for your primary computing device.

HP packed plenty of ports into this slim notebook. You'll be able to access two USB 3.0 ports, one microUSB port, an HDMI port, a smartcard reader and a microSD reader. Not bad for something that's just more than half an inch thick.

HP EliteBook 1040 G3

If you're a design freak who needs that highest screen resolution available, you're probably going to want to look elsewhere. The EliteBook 1040 only features a full HD-resolution touchscreen. This edition of the EliteBook can run on a single charge for 11 hours, according to HP. However, HP did not reveal how long the non-touch version of this laptop would stay charged, but it should improve performance by at least several hours.

Those of you who transport your laptops often, and without a soft touch, will appreciate the EliteBook 1040's Mil-STD 810G certification, which basically means it can withstand reasonable levels of drops, dust, shocks and moisture. You don't really need the US military to tell you this laptop is built with premium materials – one touch and you'll be confident you're not using a hunk of junk.

HP EliteBook 1040 G3

Unfortunately, HP opted to go with a magnesium base, rather than the aluminum base found on other EliteBook laptops. This shouldn't present a severe issue for those of you who use your laptops with reasonable caution. However, if you're prone to slamming your laptop down during heated meetings, you might want to avoid the EliteBook 1040.

If you're paranoid about privacy, the EliteBook 1040 features HP Sure Start, HP Client Security, HP BIOSphere and a fingerprint reader, all of which are added to ensure only you access your information, and that your information can be wiped instantly if you lose your laptop.

HP EliteBook 1040 G3

Early verdict

The HP EliteBook 1040 G3 is an attractive, durable and slim business-class device. It's got the interior hardware and exterior style to attract customers that care as much about performance as they do about design.

Once we've run the EliteBook 1040 through our full gauntlet of benchmarks, and once we know for sure how much the upgrades will cost, we'll be able to make a firm recommendation as to whether or not you should purchase this device.

But if the EliteBook 1040 performs well when we run it through our suite of tests, then HP will have created a workhorse laptops capable of competing with the best-in-class.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.