HP 840 G1 vs. Dell E7440 vs. Dell E5450

HP Elitebook 840 G1 vs Dell Latitude E7440 vs. Dell Latitude E5450

A visual comparison between three 14″ business laptops that may be of interest to some of you. My Dell Latitude E5450, my Dell Latitude E7440 and an HP Elitebook 840 G1. These are the sort of laptops that are about two to three years old and are sold as used items on eBay. I received the E5450 as a new item though, otherwise it would probably be in a worse shape as the body is not as strong as the one on the e7440. 

Maximum opening angles

Also, this comparison is a bit unfair, as it should rather be the E5440 instead of the E5450 – but I don’t like the bulky and plastic E5440, and the prices for second hand items are about the same between these three (300-400 EUR in Germany in May 2017). The E5450 is similar to the E7450, the successor to the E7440. Too many numbers? Yes, they are a bit confusing.

The HP has more USB ports. Nice!

I recently bought the E7440 as a damaged item on eBay USA and I really, really love it already. It works as my 2nd laptop for events, experiments and outdoor activities (I am a radio ham and organize local web meetups) and it substitutes a fully equipped E6220 that has meanwhile become too small for me. After all these years of owning and using 8.9″, 10.1″, 11.6″, 12.1″, 12.5″, 14.0″, 15.4″, and 15.6″ laptops I’ve come to realize that a) 14″ are the perfect laptop size for me and b) that I am a tall person and that I, as a man, don’t carry a purse, so a smaller laptop doesn’t change my travel gear. So for me, 14″ is just right. Which is why this visual comparison is so interesting to me.

HP Elitebook 840 G1 (German QWERTZ layout). Top row left: power button. Top row right: wifi on/off, mute.

Dell Latitude E7440 (German QWERTZ layout). Top row left: volume, mute = dedicated keys for quick access. It should always be this way.

Dell Latitude E5450 (German QWERTZ layout. There is a keyboard frame on top of the keyboard that was made for the US layout and which I modified to fit the EU version – because by the time I got this laptop there were no spare parts available as opposed to now). No extra keys.

Performance wise, there are different configurations of the E5450 available (i.e. 4th and 5th gen. Intel CPUs), there are tests available online, and there are benchmark tests available on Geekbench. The displays also vary: the E7440 came shipped with a partly defective 1366×768 screen, the HP with a 1600×900 (“HD +”) screen, and the Dell E5450 with an IPS panel @ 1920×1080 pixels. As mentioned in previous posts, the IPS panel is a sweet, sexy baby. The screen and the keyboard are the main user interfaces, so they have to be flawless. I’ve already ordered a spare one for the E7440, but I guess it will be 1366×768 this time, because hey, I am getting old and one laptop with a tiny font is enough for me.

Oh look, another 14″ laptop!

As for the E7440: I prefer dedicated keys for the volume control, and the E7440 has those. The E5450 and E7450 (both similar) don’t have them anymore. The only things that I miss on the E7440 and that I had on the E6220 are a) a pc-card slot (for more usb ports) and b) a VGA port which the e5450 even has. I assume that the engineers thought about this and realized that in environments where E5450 are bought instead of E7450 (= cheaper, more plastic on the body), chances are higher that beamers in conference rooms are equipped with VGA. In the end I don’t know which parts are designed in the US and which parts are designed in China. That is, I don’t like the build quality of many current Ultrabooks that so remind me of the early Sony Vaios (i.e. a top cover with an integrated keyboard, and the mainboard and all other parts are screwed against it). The traditional setup used to be a middle frame, a bottom cover and a top cover and on top of that a keyboard. Lenovo started this shit with the T44x series for business laptops, and everyone else seems to have copied this style meanwhile. Oh, ranting about 14″ laptops, what’s that thing with missing e-ports (docking ports) on the current Dell Latitude line-up? Just because Apple reduces important ports to a minimum (“we believe this is better”), you don’t have to follow suit and kick infrastructure that matters to clients.

New BFF: Dell Latitude E7440 and E5450. They are so good, I’d buy them again anytime. These are my favourite laptops. And now I own them both. :-)

Anyways. Another reason to swap the E6220 for the E7440 was the overall positive experience with the Dell E5450 – which for the first time made me stick to one machine with great happiness. You know, this typical millenial Tinder syndrome where partners don’t last long? Well, the E5450 made me say “I will”, and the only imaginable alternative to the E5450 at the time of this writing would be an E7450. Yes, it’s that good (and I’ve already crashed the SD-card reader on my E5450 :-).

The HP Elitebook 8470p (right) is what the first Elitebook – the 6930p – should have been in the first place: A durable workhorse with an excellent build quality. The direct successor (!) of it is said to be this 840 G1 on the left side which – after three years of corporate use – doesn’t look as durable as the older Elitebook (which is why I’ve added this bulky 14″ to the review). The 8470p is a 3rd gen iCore laptop.

So, yes: I’d recommend these two Dells over the HP 840 G1. Being used to the marvelous build quality of an HP 8470p, the 840 G1 really disappoints. The quality of a laptop shows after a few years of use, and when it comes to this side, the Dells are better. Funny thing is: the linked tests on Notebookcheck rate the HP higher at 87%, while the Dell just score 82 and 85%. Rule of thumb, imo: anything above 80% is ok and depends on particular configurations. My criteria for a good laptop are the build quality, the user interfaces (touchpad, keyboard, screen), the thermal design and overall handling / location of ports (note: all ports at the back of all Dell Latitudes starting from the E72x/E74x and E52x/E54x series are deactivated when the laptop is inserted into a docking station).

 

HP Elitebook 840 G1 on top of the HP Elitebook 8470p. Both 14″ laptops, but the one on top is much slimmer.

Verdict

14″ are the perfect size in a laptop, and we had to wait for quite a few years to finally enjoy decent 14″ IPS LCD – when IPS was already available for 12.5″ and 15.x” sizes. Was there any IPS option for this older HP? Or only after-market (DIY) alternatives?

Going by the number of ports, the HP clearly is a winner over these two Dells, and also it doesn’t limit their usage while connected to a docking station (also as it has the docking port on the side). Now, I’ve seen a few 840 G1 were the labeling around the ports had come off – which is not that common with these Dells. Build quality wise, the 840 G1 is a disapointment on the outside. The inside and that bottom cover are good and very serviceable (unfortunately, the seller sealed the bottom cover on this one, so we’ll just have to trust the notebookcheck review). I just wish these used HP laptops would look the same as the used Dells. And the 8470p is a reminder that HP once got it more than right (the 8460p and 8470p are beasts and you could probably kill someone with your laptop). Also that limited opening angle on the 840 G1 isn’t too smart.

I had initially bought the 840 G1 for my niece, but now it has been returned and exchanged for another E7440. Both laptops still are the better option compared to new 350 EUR consumer laptops with limited CPUs and (too) flexible keyboards, so for all of you out there who are wondering if they should buy a used Dell or a used HP: 14″ HP up to 8470p, else a Dell.

In eigener Sache

Ich bin seit ca. 1999 bei alando/eBay und habe schon viele Produkte gekauft und auch einige selber verkauft. Oft auch Geräte für Freunde und Familie, weil gebrauchte Business-Laptops einfach so viel besser sind als diese 400 EUR Einsteigergeräte aus dem Consumerbereich. Die Leasingrückläufer aus den Firmen lohnen sich fast immer!

Den o.g. HP Elitebook 840 G1 Laptop hatte ich bei einem Händler für meine Nichte gekauft und leider entsprach das Gerät nicht dem Zustand, wie ich ihn für das Geld meiner Nichte hätte vorsetzen wollen und dürfen. Auf dem Display waren Flecken, an den Außenkanten optische Mängel. Das Gerät war mit zwei Aufklebern versiegelt und kam in Kunststofffolie eingeschweißt gut verpackt an. Der Laptop wurde also wie oben sichtbar fotografiert, dann wieder verpackt und an den Händler zurückgeschickt, der – lt. den eBay-Vorgaben – innerhalb von 5 Werktagen den Kaufpreis zu erstatten hat (Widerruf). Diese zeitige Erstattung erfolgte aber nicht, wahrscheinlich weil der Händler über seine anderen Verkaufskanäle andere Erstattungsfristen gewohnt ist. Mir wurde dann vom Händler unterstellt, dass ich a) das Gerät geöffnet hätte, b) dass ich keine Ahnung von den Umtauschfristen hätte und c) dass ich das Gerät einzig für diesen Review gekauft hätte, um es dann zurück zu schicken. Ich finde diese Unterstellungen einfach nur noch lächerlich und gemein, weil sie nicht der Wahrheit entsprechen. Es mag sicherlich Kunden geben, die sie sich so verhalten, aber ich gehöre nicht dazu. Die Bilder in diesem Review sind unmittelbar nach dem Auspacken entstanden und als Kunde habe ich bei der bezahlten Ware durchaus das Recht, zumindest Bilder von den Artikeln zu machen. Der Stress hätte vermieden werden können, wenn die Mängel an diesem Gerät richtig dokumentiert gewesen wären. Nach der Zwangs-Rückerstattung durch eBay habe ich dann eine negative Bewertung abgegeben, weil mir das alles viel zu dumm wurde und ich dieses Verhalten absolut daneben empfinde. Der Händler hat dann im Gegenzug bei mir etwas gekauft. Den Kauf habe ich aber abgebrochen, daraufhin hat er mich auch negativ bewertet. Diese Methode der Rachebewertung haben Händler früher wohl öfter gemacht, bei mir ist es das erste Mal seit all den (fast 20?) Jahren, dass mir einer so blöde kommt und mir Vorsatz unterstellt. So etwas ärgert mich richtig und es ist so schade und überflüssig, weil das alles aus den ganz falschen Gründen geschehen ist und einfach irgendwas unterstellt wurde. Mir geht es schon gar nicht mehr um die Kosten oder die vergeudete Zeit, sondern dass hier einer einfach mal irgendwas unterstellt und daraus dann falsche Schlüsse zieht.

Und das alles nur, weil ich einen Laptop für meine Nichte kaufen wollte. Am Ende habe ich einen zweiten Dell E7440 bei einem Händler aus Österreich gekauft, der einfach viel besser verarbeitet ist und genau der Beschreibung entsprach. Der o.g. Händler des HP hat in seiner Bewertung auf diesen Review verlinkt.

3 comments » Write a comment

  1. Thanks for the comparison. I bought the Dell E7440 on ebay as well. Mainly because of the nice price I got. 320 € for the version with 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD and FHD display in mint condition.
    There was no OS installed, but it was very easy to install Win10 as the key is saved in the BIOS. It wasn’t necessary to put in any key at any point durimg the installation and afterwards.
    I also like the Dell power adapters with the flexible strap to bind all the cables together. And you get affordable Dell docking stations at ebay for around 15-20€.
    So I can fully recommend it.

  2. How do you know the person who owned the HP before you wasn’t extra rough with it? It seems kind of short sighted to base your opinion off of one experience. Anyways, thanks for doing the review. I’m looking at buying one of these laptops or a used zbook to replace my desktop that died.

    Btw, do you know how the build quality on these laptops compares to the dell e6420? I bought a refurbed e6420 a few months ago to replace my desktop and it was great. Unfortunately my house was struck by lightening less than 2 months later.

    • A valid argument! My opinion is based on some other used HP 840 G1 that – going by the pictures of eBay auctions – all seem to have an issue with the silver colour on their black plastic body that seems to come off after some time. So, yes, maybe they all handled their laptops extra rough. Shouldn’t happen though with a business laptop.

      Build quality: the E6420 is superb! I loved my E6430 which has an identical body and the build quality is just great. Of the laptops mentioned above, the HP 8470p (and 8640) are a bit better than the E6420/E6430, but also as bulky (but in a different way). The bottom cover next to the keyboard on those HPs is better and the top cover is pure metal (vs. plastic on the Dell).

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