If Only Your HP Pavilion Looked This Good

Honestly, the more I play with enterprise hardware the more I wonder why we have to keep putting up with unattractive, kitschy designs in the consumer field, and the HP EliteBook 8760w really hammers it home. The 8760w isn't just a massive improvement on its predecessor (whose three-tone design wound up being a mess of clashing styles), it's a massive improvement on notebooks in general. Understanding the materials used in the construction of something like the 8760w are much more costly than the cheap plastic used for bargain basement notebooks, it's still tough to argue that it doesn't look better than the lion's share of Windows-based notebooks available.

If you read our review of the HP EliteBook 8460p or any of our continuing coverage of the 2011 HP refresh, nothing in the design of the 8760w is going to seem new to you. As a 17" notebook, it's sizable without being needlessly bulky; many of the gaming notebooks we've tested are both heavier and broader.

The gunmetal gray finish with silver accents is a constant throughout the entire design except for the bottom, though the lid enjoys a spiral brushed aluminum pattern and an HP logo that glows when the system is on. When you open it, you'll find a matte screen (much more on this later) with a clean black matte trim and fairly minimal flex owing to the reinforced frame.

Inside surfaces are largely the same gunmetal gray, of slightly varying shades, with the touch-based shortcut bar on the 8740w completely removed in place of four physical silver buttons: a wireless toggle, a mute button, HP's QuickWeb shortcut, and a calculator shortcut. Each of the buttons are lit with white LEDs, and the keyboard itself is backlit white with white LED toggles on the Caps Lock and Num Lock keys. Flex on the keyboard is minimal, and the touchpad surface is a joy to use, but undoubtedly some users will be bothered by the switch to the chiclet keyboard that's become the de facto standard across all of HP's notebooks, consumer or business. Personally I'm fine with it, but the arrow keys remain a sore spot for me: while the double-sized left and right keys aesthetically fill out the design, from a practical sense they feel strange compared to a garden variety directional key set.

Everything else about the feel of the 8760w is absolutely stellar, though. The keyboard is easy and pleasant to use, the touchpad has exactly the right amount of traction, and the three mouse buttons (take that, Apple!) have just the right amount of travel and resistance while making virtually no noise.

When you flip the 8760w over, you find the same fantastic single service panel that HP has deployed across their entire business line, making the notebook incredibly easy to service or upgrade. Honestly this is a development I wouldn't mind seeing carried over to consumer notebooks, although the difference there is that while a business notebook is designed to be serviced by an IT department, I can just see some hapless end user mangling their shiny new $500 laptop by popping off the bottom and messing with the insides. Maybe it's for the best that this stays in the market it's in.

As a whole, the HP EliteBook 8760w's design is much more minimalist and functional than its predecessor, owing at least lip service to the Jonathan Ive school of form and function intertwined. HP's mentality with their 2011 business notebooks is that "business" doesn't have to mean "stodgy," and they've hit a near perfect compromise with their new EliteBooks.

Introducing the HP EliteBook 8760w Application and Futuremark Performance
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  • prophet001 - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link


    Clevo is like a laptop pressure cooker. They basically build out a desktop into a laptop and the one that you see toping the charts has Cross Fire GPUs.

    Make sure you carry a generator with you if you get one.
  • Stuka87 - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    That no mention was made of HP exiting the PC business? Its a very nice machine (if not cheap exactly), but why buy a machine from a company that is no longer going to be in the business?
  • mbetter - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    Why not?
  • Tuffrabbit - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    Way to go HP, by going to a 16:9 aspect ratio vs. 16:10, you've just lost another customer...
  • prophet001 - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    I don't know why 1920 x 1200 is going by the wayside. That's a phenomenal resolution. I'm not a graphic artist but I do take advantage of that resolution by being able to have 2 windows side by side as well as being able to run games at that resolution.
  • teng029 - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    possibly cost? i remember when i was working for an OEM, we were told that LCD sizes depended largely on how much can be cut out of a single sheet of glass. something to the effect of you can get more by cutting a piece for a 17 inch panel compared to an 18 inch panel. don't know how true any of that is though.
  • Jedi2155 - Saturday, August 27, 2011 - link

    It is cheaper to manufacture just like teng029 said. You get less wasted glass, because the glass is usually circular meaning the bigger rectangle from 16:10, you'll get more wasted material and fewer panels from a single piece.
  • jecs - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    I think, these high-end laptops are the best option only if you really need to travel or move too frequently and even a dedicated carry on would be a pain. I understand the need for this machines but they offer a reduced performance or some critical size compromises. I would go with the HP if the Dreamcolor and a decent performance are required. But the Clevo is the monster option on specific apps.

    A consideration I would do is having a SFF PC as it would be "easy" to transport on a carry on and it will cost you 2 or 3K less. I builded one Shuttle PC with a Quad-core and a single slot Quadro a few years ago. Today there are more options and very powerful too as the same 990x and a dual slot Quadro are real options on SFF PCs. I know the monitor needs to fit inside the carry on and in my case a Wacom tablet too. But I did it and it is a good choice if you need to move for maybe a few days or more on one location. Also I included a Mac Book Pro.

    Finally, if I ever do need a laptop in this class I guess I would also consider a tablet to read the internet.
  • sjprg2 - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    On May 13th I ordered the 8760W with all the goodies and specified dual Intel 510 240GB SSDs installed in raid 0. (Note these are 6GB sata). Delivery estimate was approx three weeks. About 3 months later I finally get delivery (August 10 th) and on inspection I find that Instead of the Intel 510 SSDs I ordered it had obselete Micron (no longer in Microns database) 3 GB SSDs.
    After severel days of going round and around the support chain from the Philipines to Mexico and talking to at least 6 Managers the bottom line from HP is TOUGH. You can send it back to us and we will evaluate it or live with it. After a three month delay in shipping with new shipping dates every other day which really screwed up my client scheduling they wanted it back. They flatout refused to send me the correct drives and accept the wrong ones in return. They all quoted "policy", and not one of them would move me up the chain of command to authorise any change.
    Bottom line is that while the 8760W is a beautiful piece of machinery and does Panoramics as fast as my I920 OC desktop I still feel that they did a bait and switch on the SSDs.
    After the dozens of HP laptops I have recommend to my clients this is the last. NO MORE!
  • HMTK - Thursday, August 25, 2011 - link

    Where did you buy that laptop? If our dealers deliver something wrong we just send it back and do not pay. If there is no delivery date we look somewhere else. We have several dealers and they know we have the option of switching so they do their best if something goes wrong.

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