HP EliteBook 830 G6 Laptop Review
HP has updated the EliteBook 830 G6 with new hardware features including Whiskey Lake-U vPro, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5. The most interesting new refresh is a tasty 1000 nit display with SureView Gen3 and a plethora of security tools. Is it enough to keep the EliteBook 830 G6 on top of the competition? Let’s find out.
The design of the 830 G6 is typical EliteBook. HP combines aluminium on the lid & palm rest with Magnesium on the bottom cover. The workmanship of the laptop is perfect and the stability is on a very high level. It tips the scales at a lightweight 1.33 kg allowing you to move the 830 easily around with one hand.
Another typical EliteBook design characteristic is the simple maintenance cover at the bottom. 8 screws to reveal the internals of the 830 G6 allowing easy upgrades to the two memory slots compared to the nonsense with soldered RAM aka ThinkPad X280 or a single slot in the Latitude 7390. The M.2 SSD is upgradeable along with the keyboard and battery.
One of the biggest updates in the 830 G6 is the new 13.3 inch 1080P matte SureView Gen3 panel with a claimed 1000 nits brightness level. In reality the brightness level hits a very respectable 692 nits in testing, still ahead of the competition from Dell and Lenovo.
SureView Gen 3 allows users to restrict the viewing angles by pressing a button, this happens by making the screen darker. Especially useful if you are working on sensitive material on a crowded train or airport lounge.
Colour space coverage of 93.6% sRGB is not bad and opens up photo editing work on this laptop.
Outdoors, the high brightness level and matte screen surface on paper should be a recipe for success, however it is difficult to make out the screen content due to the variation in brightness depending on the viewing angle.
On the right we have a SIM slot, a headphone/microphone combo, one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A port, HDMI 1.4, RJ45 Ethernet, docking connector, Thunderbolt USB Type-C connector and AC power.
On the left we have a smart card slot, USB 3.1 Gen 1 with charging, ventilation slot and Kensington lock.
Communication is provided with the newest Wi-Fi standard 6 or 802.11ax using the Intel AX200 card. MU-MIMO 2×2 is supported and Bluetooth 5. Wireless performance was excellent throughout testing, unfortunately, we couldn’t push the card to its full potential due to the lack of Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The spill-resistant keyboard hasn’t changed much from the G5 series. Typing is pretty decent with a long travel distance and pinpoint pressure with each key. The solid chassis keeps the backlit keyboard absolutely stable thus avoiding keyboard flex and making a very comfortable typing experience.
The 830 G6 keeps the incredibly smooth glass clickpad with multi-touch gesture support. The buttons are integrated in the surface of the clickpad offering a sizable surface area to work on.
In addition to the clickpad, HP have a rubber PointStick pointing device with two dedicated buttons sitting atop of the touchpad. This accommodates tight environments such as airplanes or trains where space is a premium. Compared to the brilliant ThinkPad TrackPoint, the PointStick lacks precision and the middle scrolling mouse button.
Audio & Webcam
Audio in the 830 G6 features Bang & Olufsen, dual stereo speakers with 3 multi array microphones. The speakers are loud and sound quality is above average helped by the positioning above the keyboard.
The HD webcam, surrounded by IR cameras for Windows Hello takes very grainy, low quality pictures. Together with the microphones (which at least manage to record voices clearly), it is only fit for simple video telephony. New in the G6 is a webcam privacy shutter to keep out NSA or GCHQ prying eyes.
Our test model is equipped with an Intel Whiskey Lake U four core i7-8565U with Intel® UHD Graphics 620, 16 GB DDR4 memory and a 512 GB PCIe NVMe™ M.2 SSD for storage.
The processor has a typical power consumption of 15W with few second bursts to 4.6Ghz consuming 45W in the process. To make use of turbo boost, the 830 must be connected to the mains. Performance is limited when on battery mode only.
Day to day, the CPU handles most tasks thrown at it. By day it breezes through office tasks and a spot of Adobe Photoshop or even light Premiere Pro. By night you can sit back and listen to a playlist on Spotify or stream Stranger Things on Netflix.
Fan noise is kept to a minimum even at load hitting a max of 34.4dB. The cooling fans and throttle management keep the 830 G6 no more than warm to the touch under stress. Touching 43 celsius at most.
The Intel® UHD Graphics 620 is limited to everyday multimedia tasks and low setting games. If you want to play newer more demanding PC games look at getting a model with a discrete GPU.
As the 830 G6 is aimed at business employees who often handle sensitive data, HP have loaded this laptop with the latest security tools in its arsenal. For starters on the hardware front we have a smartcard reader, TPM chip and embedded fingerprint sensor. There’s a Kensington lock slot as well as IR cameras for Windows Hello authentication. If you are really paranoid, the mechanical privacy webcam shutter provides peace of mind.
On the software side, HP has stuffed the 830 G6 with tools like Sure Start, offering enhanced encryption and event logging and Sure Run, which monitors the key processes of the device and alerts if any changes happen within key applications such as the antivirus software, restarting if it feels it’s necessary.
The newest security tool is HP Sure Sense, working alongside your existing antivirus application to detect and protect against malware using AI.
Battery life with the 3-cell, 50 Wh Li-ion battery is excellent with general use. Scoring nearly 10 hours. Under load, this falls down to two and a half hours, battery life.
The power charger is a 65 W USB Type-C™ adapter. It’s fairly portable and fits easily into a laptop bag without too much hassle.
3 Pros and Cons before buying the HP EliteBook 830 G6
Comfortable Keyboard – The EliteBook’s keyboard is definitely suitable for prolific writers and meeting report deadlines. OK it doesn’t quite match ThinkPad standards but it’s pretty close. Keys and spacing is near perfect while keys are responsive and decisive.
Swiss Army Knife of Security – You know when you buy an EliteBook, security is going to be well covered. Old favorites like HP Client Manager Gen5 with a variety of tools like a password manager, Sure Recover reimaging and BIOSphere Gen5. Sure View keeps your neighbours out from looking at your work and smart card reader for login authentication.
Battery Life – One noticeable difference between the G5 and G6 is battery life. The 830 squeezes slightly longer run time in general wifi use and playing videos. In other words, you won’t need to worry about charging it until you get home at the end of the day.
Display Doubts – Regrettably, this LCD panel suffers from a rather pronounced brightness-loss when it is not viewed directly from dead centre caused by the anti glare coating. This is especially apparent on white display content. There are much better IPS panels when it comes to viewing angles. Activating the Sure View feature reduces the viewing angles even further making it uncomfortable to stare at the screen for long periods.
Solo USB-C Port – Only one USB-C port stops you from charging with the supplied USB-C adapter and using say an USB-C external hard drive at the same time. Crazy when the 830 H6 has a dedicated power connector. The HP reasoning for this setup is the optional HP Thunderbolt Dock G2 with combo cable that connects the power and USB-C ports together.
Limited CPU – The CPU can reach 4.5GHz for a few seconds, once it hits 98c the power consumption is throttled back to 15W and 2.3GHz clock rate. Temporarily, HP power management drops this down to 2.1GHz and a power consumption of 13W. It’s definitely limited compared to the competition who reach a higher CPU performance.
HP have sprinkled some magic dust in the EliteBook 830 G6 business laptop. The 830 is superbly well made. There’s a good choice of input devices and the keyboard is comfortable to type long hours on. The G6 has plenty of ports, upgrade options and security features to keep the IT admin guys happy. Battery life is easily all day and backed by a 3-year warranty.
The big let down in the EliteBook 830 G6 is the screen. The viewing angle is disappointing and should be better when Sure View gen3 is disabled. Brightness loss is very apparent as you start using the screen and can be annoying if you move the laptop around as you find yourself adjusting the optimum viewing angle.
Having said that, the HP EliteBook 830 G6 is an excellent choice for business users looking for a reliable, feature-rich, quality workhorse.
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