The HP EliteBook 8440w is one of the best 14-inch business laptops you'll come across. It is strongly built, comes with high-end processing power and performance (courtesy an Intel Core i7-620M processor and an Nvidia Quadro FX GPU), and is a great option for a mobile workstation-class laptop.
Design The HP EliteBook 8440w is a tank of a machine. It has a strong magnesium clad exterior that gives the EliteBook 8440w strength, rigidity, and overall excellent build quality -- one that gives the Lenovo Thinkpad T series a stiff challenge. The HP ElliteBook 8440w's gray screen lid has a brushed gunmetal finish and it is strongly anchored down to the rest of the laptop's chassis by two solid metallic hinges. The HP EliteBook 8440w's body is made up of dense, unyielding plastic which feels very rugged and strong compared to other mainstream laptops -- the EliteBook 8440w laptop's thicker compared to recently reviewed business laptops like the Lenovo Thinkpad T400s, HP ProBook 4520s and Dell Vostro 3300.
It has a strong magnesium clad exterior that gives the EliteBook 8440w strength, rigidity, and overall excellent build quality
The EliteBook 8440w business laptop has a screen latch to fasten the screen lid down to the chassis when the laptop's closed. The 14-inch HP business laptop weighs 2.4-kg, with a six-cell battery pack included and definitely isn't for frequent flyers. Overall, the HP EliteBook 8440w is a fine laptop, one which looks and feels premium, a cut above the rest. A business laptop with understated elegance which holds its own in a boardroom meeting or a cafeteria.
Usability The HP EliteBook 8440w business laptop comes with a 14-inch LED-backlit widescreen display capable of supporting 1366x768 pixel resolution. Like the Thinkpad T400s, the HP EliteBook 8440w also has a matte screen but it comes with an anti glare coating to help display better visuals both in an indoor-outdoor environment and under direct light -- the EliteBook 8440w's screen is slightly more brighter compared to the Thinkpad T400s. The laptop's screen has good viewing angles and is nice for reading text as well as watching movie videos. A decent 2MP webcam -- similar to the one we saw on the HP ProBook 4520s -- is placed on the EliteBook 8440w's top screen bezel. The onboard webcam is decent for video conferencing over the Web, providing good image quality.
In terms of its keyboard and touchpad, the HP EliteBook 8440w business laptop gives the traditional Thinkpad a very close run for its money. If the HP ProBook 4520s' keyboard's nice, wait till you get your hands on the EliteBook 8440w -- its keyboard is plain magnificent and spill resistant. Like the Thinkpad T400s, the HP EliteBook 8440w's keyboard is very well laid out and offers no flex whatsoever while typing. Key design differs a bit amongst the two -- the HP EliteBook 8440w has leveled, rubberized keys while the Thinkpad has a slightly raised key design; both exceptionally good at typing. The full-sized keys on the HP EliteBook 8440w's keyboard require relatively little pressure and provide excellent tactile feedback -- great for typing, to say the least. There's a row of touch-sensitive buttons between the EliteBook 8440w's keyboard and hinge which lets you launch your email client, toggle Wi-Fi and touchpad on or off, and volume control buttons.
The EliteBook 8440w's trackpad is slightly smaller compared to the Thinkpad T400s' but works well. Its accompanying mouse buttons are nice and thick and have a good rubberized feel. What's more, HP also throws in a pointing stick (re: trackpoint on Thinkpads) with its own set of mouse buttons on the HP EliteBook 8440w. The pointing stick works very well -- in fact, I feel, HP has refined the art of trackpoint navigation on the EliteBook 8440w compared to my previous pointing stick navigation experience on the HP EliteBook 2530p.
Between the Thinkpad T400s and the HP EliteBook 8440w business laptop, I prefer the EliteBook's keyboard marginally over the Thinkpad's but still think -- despite HP's improvement in trackpoint navigation -- that the Thinkpad T400s offers slightly better trackpad and trackpoint navigation. But there's very little to separate -- both laptops are exceptionally good in terms of keyboard and touchpad.