Military build quality
Limited 3D power
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HP's EliteBook 8440p is aimed at corporate professionals and while it lacks the entertainment features of its rivals, its resilient build quality, great usability and stunning power make it ideal for higher education studies.
Finished in brushed aluminium, this is one of the toughest machines around, after the Apple MacBook Pro.
Its 247-minute battery life is excellent for such a powerful laptop, although its bulky design and thick dimensions make it far less comfortable to carry than the slim and smooth MacBook Pro.
Where it betters its rivals is its semi-rugged build quality. Designed to meet military standards for resilience, the chassis is built to withstand vibrations, dust, humidity and extreme temperatures, making it ideal to handle anything a university student can throw at it.
The keyboard is equally resilient with a spill-resistant layer and drainage holes safely keeping spilt liquids away from internal components. The keyboard is a pleasure to use, with large keys that respond well and move near-silently, making it easy to work for long periods.
The 14-inch TFT screen uses a matt finish, eliminating reflections entirely and making the screen easy to view in even the brightest conditions. The trade-off is slightly reduced colour and contrast, but image quality is more than adequate.
Built around the same high-powered Intel Core i7 620M processor as the Apple MacBook Pro, performance is outstanding. Even the most demanding software opens and runs quickly and easily, so you needn't worry about any drops in performance.
However, while graphics are more than powerful enough for university studies and photo and video editing, performance is nearly doubled by most rivals. Bear this in mind if maximum 3D performance is a key requirement.
This is also one of the only laptops in recent months not to feature an HDMI port. A DisplayPort is in place for connecting to compatible digital monitors, but you cannot easily connect to your HDTV for the biggest possible picture back at home. The only way of doing so is by buying an additional adapter.
Storage also falls below most rivals. While the 320GB hard drive is sure to be more than capacious enough for most students, all other laptops here provide at least 180GB more storage. This could be crucial if you want to avoid running out of space during your studies.
Offering a mixed level of features and abilities, the EliteBook 8440p is a tough sell compared to its rivals. Its fantastic build quality and usability make it a great choice for university, but this is machine built strictly for work with little time for play.
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