HP’s new Elitebooks have AMD’s latest mobile processors. | Image: HP
HP has announced a redesign of its Elitebook 805 laptops, which will soon include AMD’s Ryzen Pro 6000 processors and screens with the taller-than-standard 16:10 aspect ratio appreciated by businesspeople who spend their days scrolling through documents. HP has also announced a new Elitebook 605 series, which comes equipped with more mundane processors and screens (though for IT departments buying dozens at a time, that’s probably not such a bad thing).
This year’s Elitebook 805 G9 laptops come in three variations: the 835, 845, and 865. The middle number refers to the laptop’s screen size: the 835 has a 13.3-inch screen, the 845 has a 14-inch screen, and the 865 has a 16-inch screen, which is a new option for the series. Specs-wise, the 805 G9s can be configured with similar options regardless of screen size, though there are two asterisks: one is that the 13-inch model can only be configured with a max of 16GB of DDR5 RAM, where the 845 and 865 top out at 64GB. HP’s spec sheets also note that the larger laptops have “customer-accessible / upgradable” memory slots, whereas the 835 does not.
Compared to the trackpad on the previous-gen 805s, the G9s’ mousing surface is centered and doesn’t have left/right-click buttons above it. It also matches the new 16:10 aspect ratio.
The second asterisk is about CPUs. While HP says that the laptops will be equipped with the “latest AMD Ryzen multi-core processors,” it doesn’t give specifics — only that they’ll be in the Ryzen Pro 6000 family. Those processors were just announced today, so it could be a little while before we find out which models will be options for the different 805 G9-series Elitebooks.
All the sizes support Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and PCIe Gen4x4 SSDs (though with a 2TB max listed in the spec sheet). The I/O also seems decent — two USB-A 3.1 G1 ports (which is the ridiculous and slightly outdated name to describe the original USB 3.0 spec that runs at 5Gbps), two USB4 Type-C ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a headphone / microphone combo jack, and a nano SIM slot for if you’ve added the optional LTE modem.
The 805 G9s’ I/O has most of the ports people are looking for. And while HDMI 2.0 isn’t the latest and greatest, it’s probably fine for a business-focused laptop.
The screens may be a bit of a bummer, though — while they do have the lovely 16:10 aspect ratio, there doesn’t seem to be any option to spec them higher than 1920×1200 (nor does HP make any mention of touch capabilities). While that resolution may be OK for the 13-inch version (if you haven’t been spoiled been by better screens in the past), that’s not a lot of pixels for a 16-inch screen being released in 2022.
Battery size will be either from 38, 51, or 76 watt-hours, depending on the laptop’s size and configuration, but HP says the new Ryzen chips offer “impressive battery life” along with “incredible performance.”
HP positions the Elitebook 655 G9 as “a cost-effective, powerful, and highly secure PC” for enterprise fleets.
HP also announced two other models: the Elitebook 645 and 655. The company doesn’t explicitly say it, but the 605 G9-series seems to be lower-end than the 805 series; the laptops use a barrel plug for power (though USB-C is an option if you’ve got an appropriate power brick), and you can only get them with 14 or 15.6-inch screens, both of which are 16:9 instead of 16:10. They’re also equipped with older Ryzen 5000 processors though those still aren’t anything to sneeze at.
The company says the 605s are “destined to be an IT and user favorite,” though users and IT departments don’t always see eye-to-eye. For example, if IT is buying a fleet of laptops, it may not want to shell out for upgraded screens — but with this laptop, that leaves users with a sub-1080p TN panel (the base screen is listed as an unspecified “HD” resolution, while the next step up is an IPS screen with “FHD,” or full HD, resolution). While that type of display still plagues business laptops, it really should have been left in the 2010s — and certainly has no place on computers that start at $1,149.
With an upgrade to a 1080p screen, though, the picture gets better for these laptops (pun intended). Like the 805 G9 series, there’s a decent selection of ports — one Thunderbolt 4/USB4, HDMI, ethernet, a combo headphone and microphone jack, and three USB-A 3.1 Gen1 ports. (The number of USB-A ports is according to the images provided by HP — the spec sheets for both the 645 and 655 say there are two ports, one on each side. The pictures disagree.) Both models also support up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM and can be configured with an additional Gen3 NVMe SSD to go alongside the up-to Gen4x4 main one.
Using a barrel plug as the default power source is less modern than USB-C, but it’s hard to complain about built-in ethernet.
HP’s press release says that the Elitebook G9 6-series will become available late this month and that the 805 G9s will be available sometime in April. Pricing for those will be announced closer to the release date.