The HP EliteBook 8440w earned a very respectable PCMark score of 6666 using the Futuremark PCMark Vantage benchmark. I tested the 8440w as shipped from HP, running Windows 7 Professional and on wall power. Test runs generally lasted 26 minutes, during which the system was consistently quiet, with very little fan noise.
During test runs and routine office work on the EliteBook 8440w, the wrist rest area stayed reasonable cool, a personal consideration that I count quite high when looking at notebook systems. The underside of the system did warm up quickly, and at 5.3 pounds, including the DVD optical drive, using the EliteBook 8440w on my lap only lasted for about 30 minutes.
The EliteBook comes with host of included software and nice-to-have convenience features, including HP Power Assistant, a simple-to-use power management dashboard. Compared with power management tools included in Windows 7, I was quickly able to use HP Power Assistant to see current power usage, including remaining battery life, and also set preferences for how the 8440w used power. Nearly every component that consumes power on the 8440w can be controlled from the HP Power Assistant, including the wireless LAN radios and screen brightness. Wireless LAN radios and screen brightness can also be controlled using touch-sensitive keys placed above the keyboard.
The slightly recessed touchpad is well-designed, and I had almost no trouble with stray gestures caused by palm touches. The touchpad is also capable of using gestures, although this feature is turned off by default. I turned on the gestures function through the mouse properties and was able to use (what should be by now for most users) familiar gestures to swipe, pinch and rotate objects on the screen by using my fingers on the touchpad.
Continuing a trend in professional-class notebook systems, the EliteBook 8440w provides HP QuickWeb and HP QuickLook in the form of one-touch buttons at the top of the keyboard. Both functions bypass the installed OS to provide quick (under 20 seconds) access to the Web and the Microsoft Outlook e-mail client. QuickWeb is a Linux-based browser that I used to get fast access to the Internet without waiting for the EliteBook 8440w to boot up. HP QuickLook works as I've seen in other notebook systems by connecting to an already installed Outlook client and then providing fast access to a snapshot of the messages. It's possible to read and send e-mail that is then processed the next time the 8440w is fully booted and the full Outlook client gains network connectivity.
Construction and Ports
As is customary in this class of business notebook, a magnesium alloy chassis and other durable materials have been used throughout the EliteBook 8440w to ensure a long operational life. The display enclosure warrants that it will withstand up to 300 pounds of pressure. The redesigned keyboard provided good key press action and a smooth typing experience while also adding a spill-resistant tray that diverts small spills to drain holes and away from sensitive internal parts.
The EliteBook 8440w is generously equipped with external I/O ports, including three USB 2.0, an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo, an external VGA monitor, a DisplayPort, 1394a Firewire, RJ-11 network and RJ-45 telephone ports. The system also provides an ExpressCard/54, Smart Card reader and a Secure Digital slot.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the 8440w screen resolution.