Hardware Laptops Reviews

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review: the perfect laptop for power-hungry executives?

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review
HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review

Product Name: HP EliteBook 1050 G1

Product Description: A good-looking and powerful laptop for executives who want it all

Price: £2,267

Availability: InStock

  • Power
  • Design
  • Battery life

Summary

A good-looking and powerful laptop for executives who want it all

Overall
4.7

Pros

  • Amazingly fast for a business laptop
  • Superb, sturdy build quality
  • Not lacking for ports or connectivity

Cons

  • Hefty
  • Have you seen the price?

HP knows how to make damn fine business laptops, but this EliteBook may be its best yet. It’s got power, it’s got style, it’s got stamina. There’s really nothing it can’t do. Read our full HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review to find out if it should be your top choice.

BTQ: Brief Tech Questions

Why’s it so powerful?Two reasons. First, it uses Intel’s most heavyweight laptop processors, and second it includes a pretty damn quick Nvidia graphics chip.
Who’s it aimed at?This is an executive’s laptop. It’s expensive but comes with top-quality components and all the software a business needs to manage it easily.
Is it secure?Yep. HP packs it to the gills with security features. Much more on that in the main body of the review.
And when you say it’s expensive…I mean it. The cheapest version costs £1,751. The one I test costs £2,267.
How big is it?There’s a 15.6in screen here, so it’s no shrinking violet. I weighed it at just over 2kg and it’s 36cm wide too.

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review: how secure is it?

While this is difficult to measure in any decisive fashion, the EliteBook 1050 G1 is one of the most secure laptops you can buy. While I could provide a long list of reasons, here are the key two.

First, there’s HP’s Sure View mode. Press F2 and a virtual shield appears that cuts the screen’s viewing angles so that only the person sitting directly in front of it can see it. This dims the screen as well, but means you can work in public places without the worry of your neighbours seeing sensitive information. You can see this in action below, using the video I took of the HP EliteBook 840 G5 earlier this year.

IT managers will also be fans of HP’s Sure Start technology, which essentially checks for viruses attacking the areas of a computer normally hidden from view – essentially the foundation on which Windows runs – and “heals” them by reloading the genuine items if it detects a successful attack.

Another more minor put still useful touch is the HP Privacy Camera, which is a posh way of saying that you can move a shutter to cover the lens and make sure no one has hacked into the webcam.

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review: how fast is it?

The 1050 G1 is almost certainly faster than both your current laptop and, if you still have one, the desktop PC you’re using too. The simplest measure of this is the Geekbench 4 benchmark. It scored 5,407 in the single-core test and 20,955 in the multicore test. That’s off the charts in terms of most laptops and puts it close to enthusiast desktop systems. 

This turn of pace even extends to gaming. All the 1050 G1 models on sale in the UK include a fast GeForce 1050 Max-Q design, which effectively means it can cope with 90% of games at the screen’s native resolution. For example, I tested it with Metro: Last Light, which is a demanding game, and it scored an average 41 frames per second at Very High settings. 

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review: is it a looker?

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I can’t imagine many people will be disappointed when they take the 1050 G1 out of the box. If it has any fault it’s that it’s too similar to the MacBook Pro in style, except that it’s bigger: there’s a 15.6in screen in this machine, don’t forget.

What photos can’t convey is that it feels just as high quality as it looks. HP chooses magnesium alloy for the chassis, and it’s suitably sturdy in the hand. HP claims it’s “designed to pass MIL-STD 810G” too, which means it reckons it will pass theses harsh tests but “testing is pending”.

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review: well connected?

Being a business-targeted laptop, HP makes sure all the major ports are covered. You’ll find two old-style USB-A 3 ports on the left of the chassis, along with a Kensington lock slot, but it’s the right-hand side that’s more interesting.

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review: ports
HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review

Here, as the pictures show, you’ll find two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, an SD card slot, a headphone jack and the power socket.

A fast Intel wireless card sits inside too (it supports 2×2 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) along with the latest Bluetooth 5 standard.

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review: what else do I need to know?

The screen is great quality, with an anti-glare finish that makes it easy to use in an office that’s cursed with strip lighting. Colours look vivid on-screen and, while my testing showed it wasn’t the most colour-accurate of displays, in general it’s a pleasure to view.

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review

I only had one irritation, which may be a knock-on effect of integrating the Sure View technology: if you move away from a head-on view, you notice a drop-off in contrast on white backgrounds. It isn’t a big issue, but if you’re sensitive to such things then take note.

There’s nothing remarkably good or bad about the keyboard or the speakers – these are loud but lack depth – while the trackpad is large and responsive. All good, but not exciting.

What is exciting, to me at least, is its battery life. This laptop lasted just shy of ten hours in our looping-video battery test. Considering all the power it offers, that’s truly exceptional.

HP EliteBook 1050 G1 review: who should buy it?

This isn’t a laptop for everyone, as the prices indicate. £1,751 for the Core i5 version is hardly a bargain, while £2,267 for the Core i7 version – albeit with a stunning 1TB of storage – will be even further beyond people’s budgets.

So it’s a laptop that’s for top executives or the well-heeled. In fact, it’s overkill for those operating on their own; much of the money you’re spending is going on features that make it easy to manage within a big business.

For most consumers, then, the Dell XPS 15 is a better bet.

But if you sit within the target market, or have the luxury of specifying your own machine, then this is a top-end machine that justifies its price.

Read next: Why have my Windows 10 desktop icons disappeared?

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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