HP describes its third-generation EliteBook x360 as the world’s smallest business convertible. As such, it squeezes an impressive 13-inch touch- and smartpen-compatible display into a 12-inch body and weighs just 2.76 pounds.
If you’re familiar with HP’s recently updated consumer-focused Spectre x360, you know that the firm often makes daring choices, especially in its design. For the business-class EliteBook line, however, the firm takes a more pragmatic approach. You can see this in the design, of course. But also in other areas, like its port selection.
And this approach works: EliteBook has long measured up well against its competition, both on the PC side of the equation—primarily Lenovo and Dell—and against Apple, whose overpriced MacBook Pro lineup is correctly criticized for its terrible keyboard, gimmicky Touch Bar, and poor port selection.
So when it came time to chart this new generation of EliteBook x360s, HP changes things according to both its customers’ needs and what the competition was doing (right or wrong). The first and most striking change, I think, is that the 12-inch EliteBook x360 1020 is no longer offered. Now, the EliteBook x360 1030—which, again, couples a 13-inch display with a 12-inch body—is expected to pull double duty and attract customers from both of the previous-generation products.
I think this was the right decision. South of 13-inches, PCs become an exercise in compromise. And those smaller devices tend to incorporate inferior parts, like Y-series processors (or, in the glaring and embarrassing case of Surface Go, a Pentium Gold processor). But I see no compromises in the EliteBook x360 1030.
As a business-class solution, the 1030 is designed to be durable, and thanks to its MIL-810G compliance, you’ll never have to worry if you drop it off a desk. It also offers HP’s Sure View screen protection technologies. And a variety of security enhancements that businesses will appreciate, including HP Sure Start for rootkit protection, HP Device Access Manager for protecting USB ports, HP Sure Run to extend the self-healing capabilities in Windows, and HP Sure Click, which protects against email, web, and web video attacks. And HP Sure Recover ensures that customers can always install the latest HP software image with or without IT’s help.
HP offers three different 13.3-inch IPS displays on the 1030: A Full HD unit which offers 400 nits of light and provides almost 15 hours of battery life, a Full HD unit with HP Sure View which offers an amazing 700 nits of brightness and 12.5 hours of battery life, and a 500 nit UHD/4K version with 10.4 hours of battery life. The first two can be optionally outfitted with anti-glare capabilities as well. (The review unit is the middle version.)
The components are entirely modern, of course. The 1030 is powered by 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8250U, i5-8350U, or i7-8650U processors, depending on model, 8 to 16 GB of RAM, and 128 to 512 GB of speedy SSD storage. And it can be had with CAT9 4G/LTE capabilities.
The port selection is excellent: HP gives you a full-sized USB 3 port on the left, and then a full-sized HDMI port and 2 USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the right.
Battery life is reportedly epic: 10.4 to 14.8 hours, depending on the configuration. The model I’m testing is rated at 12.5 hours, but I’ll be testing that to see what it looks like in real-world terms.
I’ll also point out that the EliteBook line has long provided one of the very best keyboard and touchpad experiences, and that the 1030 looks to follow suit. The keyboard is also dramatically quieter than that of the MacBook Pro. But then, that’s not all that unusual, is it?
Pricing runs from $1450 for the Full HD model with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage to $1950 for Full HD, 700 nits, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of storage, to $2150 for a Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage, and 512 GB of storage.