Enhanced Pre-Boot Security, One-Step Logon, security lock slot (cable lock sold separately), HP 3D DriveGuard, HP Disk Sanitizer, HP DisplaySafe, HP DuraCase, HP DuraFinish, HP File Sanitizer, HP ProtectTools Embedded Security, HP SpareKey
A Blaze of Colors. This 17-inch HP workstation has some interesting components: the DreamColor display being the most interesting of all. First-class values paired with great color space coverage – a rare combination. We extensively tested the laptop to see if the other hardware components met high standards set by the display.
The workstation portfolio of Hewlett Packard is extensive. The offering ranges from 15- to 17-inch models (even a few mobile 14-inch models are included). The two smaller workstations, HP EliteBook 8470w and HP EliteBook 8570w, have proven their worth in past reviews. Now, we take a look at the HP EliteBook 8770w. The large top model offers a few unique features: the strongest hardware and most extensive configuration options. The large case offers a lot of space and good cooling. Our test model will have to compete with models from HP and other manufacturers. For example, the Dell Precision M6700, the Fujitsu Celsius H920and Bullman’s E-class are very powerful, 17-inch workstations with many appealing features.
The HP EliteBook 8770W offers 12 different configurations. The prices start at 1,650 Euros (~$2,202) and end at 5,000 Euros (~$6,674). The variety of available components is as large as the price span. A multitude of Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors cover the CPU section. Four different professional graphic cards and three different displays make up the graphics section. Next, the configuration lists a variety of RAM modules and storage devices. The OS is Windows 7 Professional, as Windows 8 is currently only available here and there.
The heavy case is made of different shades of metal which creates an intriguing green-grey color scheme. The tapered sides give the model a slimmer look. The test model weighs 3.92 kg (according to HP – minimum is 3.47 kg with SSD and empty modules). Combined with the 1 kg power adapter, bag and accessories, the set will weigh up to 6 kg.
The high weight translates to high stability, as the various tests of the MIL-STD810G standard will attest. The entire work area, including the hand-rest regions and the keyboard, is sturdy. Only the area around the “Enter” key is prone to bend a little. The hinges do a good job of keeping the screen in position, while allowing the user to open the laptop with a single hand. The laptop base does not rise when it is opened. The display border can be bent a little, but in comparison to the competition, it is very sturdy.
The bottom of the laptop is a mix of synthetic material and metal. The battery is placed at the rear, secured by a slide mechanism. A second slider unlocks the large bottom flap which hides most of the hardware. Thankfully, the user will not have to remove any screws. The rubber feet are placed directly onto the case.
The connectivity lives up to the high workstation standard: the model includes almost everything a professional user would wish for. Just exotic interfaces, such as Thunderbolt or a 6-pin FireWire interface, are not included. However, the latter can be added by using the ExpressCard slot. External displays can be connected using the DisplayPort or analogue VGA. The rear boasts an opening for an analogue modem and the card reader is accessible at the front.
The number and variety of interfaces is impressive, but their positioning and distribution is not optimal. At the front left side, the most important ports are grouped tightly together. The network, DisplayPort, eSATA, 2 x USB 3.0 and FireWire interfaces will inconvenience users when occupied. On the right side, the VGA is placed in the back, but the standard USB 2.0 port is too far in front. Users who require a lot of peripheral devices in stationary use should consider purchasing a docking port.
The EliteBook 8770w is equipped with everything the heart desires. Sadly, the selection is slightly limited for the test model with the DreamColor display – no HSPA or LTE modem can be combined with our model. The WLAN connectivity is provided by Intel’s Centrino Advanced-N 6205 module. This module has two antennas and operates at the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies (theoretically up to 300 Mbit/s). Although this module supports Intel’s Wireless Display technology, HP does not seem to have activated this function. Bluetooth 4.0, a 720p webcam and Gigabit LAN round off the interesting package.
HP includes an extensive security packet for the EliteBook. Trusted Platform Module 1.2, fingerprint sensor, BIOS password, facial recognition, Smart Card reader and Computrace Anti Theft secure the laptop. These various features are controlled using HP’s Security Manager ProtectTools, which can be found in the Control Panel. Additional information about notebook security can be found in our FAQ.
As is typical, HP does not include accessories for the EliteBook 8770w. However, the manufacturer does offer a multitude of accessories for the workstation. Various optical drives, hard drives, SSDs and an empty module are offered for the Upgrade Bay. The HP Upgrade module includes a 750 GB hard drive (H2P66AA – 224 Euros, ~$299). A battery can not be installed in the slot like in the Dell Latitude E6530. HP’s docking solution is also interesting. The HP Advanced docking station (2 x DVI and 2 x DisplayPort) can run up to 5 displays (AMD Eyefinity). Our test model can control up to 4 displays thanks to the Nvidia Quadro K4000M.
The large maintenance flap uses no screws. Thanks to the slide mechanism, it can easily and quickly be removed. This grants the user access to the most important hardware components. Although the cooler fan is half-covered, it is possible to clean it. The two RAM slots on the bottom are empty and offer room for upgrades. Two additional slots under the keyboard require more effort to find, but are important if the user plans to install more than 16 GB of RAM. Two regular slots and the Upgrade Bay are available for the storage devices. Although the second slot is empty in our test model, we did not receive a disk frame or screws in the delivery.
The HP EliteBook 8770w has a 3 year warranty. Various extensions are available: for example, a 3 year “On-Site” service on the next workday worldwide will cost 180 Euros (~$240) in the HP Store.
The keyboard has normal-sized 19 mm keys and offers an additional numeric pad. Four different keys for WLAN, Mute, Browser and Calculator are also included. The cursor keys and the Enter key are a little small and are placed close to each other, leading to mistakes during a heated typing session. The key caption is clearly legible and the keyboard has backlighting.
The key lighting only has two brightness levels. The entire keyboard is seated securely and only gives way around the Enter key. The medium stroke distance combined with the soft, yet precise impact is pleasant. The noise is very conservative and does not distract the user.
The Synaptics touchpad measures 111 x 51 mm – quite large. It offers sufficient space for the large multi-touch gestures. The standard settings include switching on/off of different gestures. The input surface has great slide properties, but only recognizes taps on the left two-thirds of the touchpad. We could not change this in the settings. The touchpad has the standard 3 keys and the pointstick adds to these with its own. All keys are well-accessible, responsive and offer a nice grip thanks to the rubber coating. The pointstick presents a good alternative to a mouse or touchpad. The orange “stub” is slightly taller than the surrounding keys and the user will not have any trouble using it. The pointstick cannot be used to tap, but it does include keys, which offer similar quality to those of the touchpad.
The HP EliteBook 8770w is available with 3 different matte displays. The standard screen has a resolution of 1600×900 pixels (106 dpi) and wide viewing angles. The “normal” Full HD display has 1920×1080 pixels (127 dpi) and also offers wide viewing angles. Both TN panels use backlight, which is made up of white LEDs. The DreamColor display of our test model has the Full HD resolution, an IPS panel and is lit up by RGB LEDs. This ensures great viewing angles and great color spectrum coverage.
The available resolutions are not limited. Standard resolutions, such as 1366×768 or 1600×900 pixels are supported as well as exotic variations like 1152×864 or 1600×1024 pixels.
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 333 cd/m² Average: 312.4 cd/m² Brightness Distribution: 86 % Center on Battery: 333 cd/m² Contrast: 856:1 (Black: 0.389 cd/m²)
We measured a maximum brightness of 286 cd/m² (top right) – 333 cd/m² (center) at our nine measurement points. This results in an average of 312 cd/m². The brightness distribution is good: 86%. Single-color content will allow the user to recognize some brightness differences but this hardly affects use. The brightness can be regulated (20 levels). At level 15, the user has 159 cd/m², which will suffice for indoors.
Outdoors, the matte panel, high contrast, high brightness and great viewing angles ensure great legibility. On battery, the entire brightness is available.
The measured contrast of 856:1 grants the display satisfying colors and a deep black. This greatly benefits pictures, videos and games, which look more lifelike on our test model than on standard displays.
One of the strengths of the DreamColor display is the large color spectrum coverage. sRGB and AdobeRGB color spaces are completely covered. Only the Wide Gamut color space causes the RGB LED display problems and reveals gaps in all areas. At the moment, only RGB LED displays can offer such large coverage (Dell Precisions M6700 or M4700 – display no longer on sale). HP’s mobile Display Assistant allows the user to pick out pre-set color spaces as easily as with Dell’s Premiercolor tool. AdobeRGB and sRGB are also included in the selection field and will delight photographers and graphic editors. We tested the offered color spaces and detected minor deviations to the norm. Adobe RGB lacks a little of the Green-Blue region and sRGB has gaps in the Orange-Magenta region.
The display earns a great score in the viewing angle test. The user is greeted by very stable viewing angles which only permit minor color and brightness changes. HP keeps its promise and the viewing angles remain great both vertically and horizontally. However, with dark content, the user will be able to recognize (from directly above or below) a violet shade. This is not visible in everyday use and typical seating positions and is thus irrelevant to practical use.
A small flaw of the DreamColor display is found on the top right display edge. Here, a small, blue strip extends (5 mm wide). This is only visible when the display presents bright content. We did not detect any pixel errors or other issues.
The performance of the HP EliteBook 8770w is at the typical workstation level. The CPU is a quad-core Intel Core i7-3610QM, which offers enough performance for many different scenarios. The Intel HD Graphics 4000 IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) cannot be used. The manufacturer compensates by providing the Nvidia Quadro K4000M-GPU, which has good performance and scores well in all areas.
The RAM amounts to 2 x 4 GB (entry-level), but it can be quickly upgraded to 16 or 24 GB using the two empty slots. The models with the quad-core CPU can support up to 32 GB. The dual-core CPUs are limited to two slots (16 GB). The storage device is a combination of a 750 GB HDD in RAID 0 with an Intel 24 GB cache module. This hardware may appear to be quite meager given the price tag of 4,300 Euros (~$5,739), but as HP asks for an additional 955 Euros (~$1,274) just for the DreamColor display, the price seems to be appropriate.
System Information – HP EliteBook 8770w DreamColor
The Intel Core i7-3610QM-CPU is used in different notebook classes and can be described as the “bread and butter” CPU. Hyperthreading and TurboBoost technologies allow the CPU to offer the maximum possible performance at any time. In Cinebench R10 64 bit, the processor scores 5,559 (Single) and 21,357 (Multi) points. Additional numbers can be found in our CPU benchmark list.
In the practical test, the CPU achieves 47.1x speed in the iTunes audio conversion (typical single-thread task). Pure CPU video conversion using Cyberlink MediaEspresso places the Intel Core i7-3610QM near the top of the benchmark list. However, a few faster processors manage to beat it to the throne.
On battery, a 30% performance drop is to be expected. Cinebench R11.5 (Multi) was run by the CPU at 2.3 GHz instead of 3.1 GHz. Thus, the result drops from 6.2 to 4.5 points.
CPU throttling did not crop up even after multiple hours of high load on the CPU and GPU. The CPU ran at a constant 3.1 GHz (multi-core load).
The system performance takes all hardware into account. This section reveals that the workstation is very balanced. Only the storage devices, despite the Intel cache module, slow down the system slightly. The cache module enables quicker start of programs and the OS, thus making the daily work more fluid. Of course, this module cannot hope to reach the speeds of a full-sized SSD, but it serves as a slower alternative. PC Mark Vantage records 11,265 points on the HP EliteBook 8770w, while PC Mark 7 offers 4,360 points. These are very good results and indicate no limitations while using any program.
Windows 7 Experience Index
Calculations per second
Memory operations per second
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GENERAL Packaged Quantity 1 Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology Recommended Use corporate business, small business Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip Notebook type HD display, Desktop replacement Manufacturer HP P...