With many major businesses making the transition into the newest editions of Windows and Office, they need the hardware and performance to match. As there are hundreds of options for different professional grade notebooks, it becomes a challenge to find the right one.

These notebooks need to withstand years of use, business traveling, and be ready to perform in any business environment; the last thing you need is a notebook failing before, or worse, during a meeting. It's unlikely that you’ve ever heard anybody dislike a magnesium-aluminum alloy notebook with MIL-STD-810G United States military standards to match.

Cue the HP Elitebook Folio 1040 business notebook. Being in the HP Folio 1000 lineup, this is HP’s high-end and premium grade notebook targeted at high-level management or on the road sales personnel. Throughout my in-depth review of the 1040, I will be covering the following topics: the unboxing, design, usage, features and specifications, and finally my overall thoughts. I would like to thank HP for providing me with the Elitebook 1040.

Figure 1 – The front of the 1040.

The Unboxing

Upon opening the standard notebook shipping box, you will find the 1040 surrounded by soft foam for protection, a charging adapter, a LAN and VGA dongle, setup instruction manual, HP Worldwide telephone numbers, your three year warranty pamphlet, and an HP UltraSlim docking station guide.

Whilst unboxing the 1040, I was glad to see that HP made the move to completely remove the LAN and VGA ports on the 1040. Not only does this provide an extremely thin design, but removes two ports that are rarely used, either in the consumer or business markets. What they have done instead is taken these ports and included them as an optional adapter that can be plugged into the laptop. Whilst I see this more of a positive feature, some IT departments may find users or themselves misplacing the adapter and having to replace it.

When using the charging cable, you will find the long length is great for conference rooms with outlets only on the wall. The power brick is also small and compact to allow for easy travel from room to room. When fully charging the battery from 20%, allow two to three hours. After a full charge you should expect around five to six hours usage.

Next, there is the worldwide telephone numbers sheet. The 1040 has something special and that is that HP has worldwide support for this model. In nearly any country you could name, up to 151 countries, HP has a support number so your IT department can get parts, or diagnose an issue. This is great for businesses who have had trouble receiving parts in their area.

Finally, we have the 1040 itself. At first glance you see the clean and crisp look of the 1040. Having a silver color scheme and magnesium-aluminum alloy body, the 1040 can wow anyone when they first see it. The unit is shipped with Windows 8.1, but a Windows 7 downgrade is optional for businesses. Then, we have the outstanding design of the 1040.

Figure 2 – The rear of the 1040.

The Design

Having a width of 13.31 inches, a height of 0.63 inches (when the lid is closed) and weighing 3.2 pounds, the 1040 is both a pleasure to carry and use. The 1040 is actually one of the thinnest notebooks that HP has ever made, this is assisted by the removal of the LAN and VGA ports.

Its 14 inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD display with anti-glare is yet another pleasure to use. You may think that a 14 inch display is too small for business work and at such a resolution text may be small font. This is quite the contrary, the 1040’s display is bright and crisp for both work and personal use. Color accuracy is adequate and the Intel 4400 graphics chip maintains a great picture for anything you throw at it.

Moving on to the keyboard, you will find a standard QWERTY key layout with long backspace, enter, and shift keys. The keyboard is also fully backlit with three settings for low, high, and off. The backlight is automatic, meaning the keys are lit when you type instead of always being active. Whilst typing the keys have a soft push to them and are quiet, unlike a tactile key. The power, Wi-Fi, and mute buttons are all separate physical buttons allowing for quick actions to be performed. Something I am not a fan of is the fact that media keys, like sound, brightness, sleep, etc., are only active whilst holding the Fn key. This became annoying when raising or lowering volume as you cannot just tap the volume key. In future revisions it would be good to have the media keys and F1-F12 options swapped.

Next, we reach one of my personal favorites about the 1040; the touchpad. Unlike the traditional touchpad with two buttons, HP took the bold move and used a new ForcePad. The ForcePad is a button-less design that detects how much force is being applied by your finger. This means you can click anywhere on the pad to select an item. Only the bottom right section is dedicated to right click. The ForcePad also has options for multi-finger use, meaning there is pinch to zoom and finger gestures to operate Windows 8. There is a slight learning curve to the ForcePad, but after a few hours of usage you get used to the new design. One small annoyance is that due to the lack of buttons, HP thought they would create a “click” noise that is outputted though the speakers when the user "clicks". The annoyance comes when listening to music at a high volume or while using headphones, you can hear the clicking noise that is outputted through the speakers. Then if there is no sound at all, the sound is completely mute. The sound isn’t bothersome, but I would have rather liked to see it set to a standard volume and not integrated into the Windows Sound Mixer.

Its magnesium-aluminum alloy body provides a premium look and feel for the user. The keyboard is actually an all metal CNC machined part to give the notebook its tough structure. This makes the 1040 one of the most durable notebooks on the market.

Around the sides of the 1040, we have the notebook’s inputs. Starting on the left hand side, there is a Kensington lock, CPU fan output, USB 3.0, Micro SD card slot, and an SC card slot. Then on the right, you find the power in, the LAN/VGA adapter slot, display port out, a second USB 3.0, and a headphone/microphone combo jack. The rear of the display is just a black HP logo. On the bottom are four large rubber feet, ventilation slots, and a docking mount. In the keyboard area you will also find a finger print scanner for security measures along with the speaker grill at the top of the keyboard.

Finally, we have those MIL-STD-810G United States Military testing standards. This is something I was very excited about, a business laptop that can withstand many years usage! HP has verified the 1040 for the following tests:

A drop test performed 26 times from 30 inches onto every side. Vibration testing for a 1000 mile driving simulation. Shock testing and dust resistance, during which, the notebook is exposed to six hours of exposure to blowing dust. It is then tested at a humidity of 95% for ten days, simulated for an altitude of 15,000 feet, heated to an operating temperature of 140F, and cooled to a -20F operating temperature. But wait, there’s one more! Whist in non-operating mode, the notebook is set in a room at -60F for one hour then the temperature raised to 205F for an hour.

I think it’s safe to say that the 1040 can withstand nearly every environment a human would travel to. Having this qualification, is something that I wish every manufacturer included in their notebooks. HP really goes to the next level with this one.

Figure 3 – The left side of the 1040.


Just like the other HP notebooks I have reviewed in the past, HP makes them so loveable that it’s the only device you wish to use. Its light weight is great for either sitting on the couch or the small form factor is perfect at a desk.

With the Windows 8.1 interface, the 1040 fits right in, as its multi-finger gestures on both the ForcePad and Touch screen are great to use and doing both work and normal use is a pleasure.

Being a business grade notebook, the laptop is targeted at management, personal, or on the road sales. This means the notebook should provide advanced security measures to prevent data loss. Having the finger print sensor is great, but the 1040 also comes with a number of HP-exclusives. One of these is the Intel Management and Security application that has Intel’s Anti-Theft technology. When an active internet connection is made, the notebook can report its physical location, similar to how your smartphone does. If that isn’t enough, there’s HP’s Absolute Data Protect that acts in a similar way. Plus there is four years of protection included! This outlasts its own warranty.

As I mentioned earlier, the ForcePad is outstanding to use and once you learn the design you tend to wish your notebook had one. I would like to see HP move on to more Elitebook designs using the ForcePad. There are a few things to fix like the sound and pressure accuracy, but other than that I would highly recommend it.

Figure 4 – The rear of the 1040.

Features and Specifications

The 1040 comes with some outstanding software for certain companies if they wish to use it. The Sure Start is an excellent security feature that is included on HP Elitebooks. What this is, is a self-healing BIOS that protects against BIOS attacks. Viruses could ruin the PC by not making it boot. Not only is this a problem for the user, but the IT department is now left with spending time to fix it. HP’s clever idea to protect the BIOS is outstanding.

Also included is HP’s Trust Circles where co-workers can share confidential files within a certain group. It’s safe and secure and easy to use as well. This allows data to be transferred over a secure business network and not via emails or flash drives.

Included in my unit was a PDF Complete Corporate Edition software. The software allowed for access to both create and read PDF files. It may not be a complete replacement to Adobe Acrobat, but it’s nice to see the software.

The display has a multi-finger touchscreen for easy usage whether you are scrolling down a webpage or using Windows 8. Although I never used it very much, it was nice to see it installed for this model.

This is HP’s first business notebook to ever include a NFC chip. Installed to the left of the ForcePad, you will find the NFC reader that allows file transfers between tablets and phones. This is great as you do not need a data cable for file transfer.

Taking a look at the system specifications, be prepared to be wowed again. With its i5-4300U vPro processor, documents, webpages, and applications open within seconds. The 1040 is also shipped with a 180GB Intel SSD for extremely quick boot times and fast Windows operations. However, take note that users will only get around 123GB after Windows is installed. Using the Windows 8.1 64bit architecture you can also utilize all 4GB of memory. To see a full Speccy report click here .

Figure 5 – The design of the 1040.

My Final Thoughts

I have used and reviewed quite a few HP notebooks now, and I must say this is by far the best one yet. Being the top tier model of the Elitebooks, the quality and performance from such a small device is outstanding. I am pleased in nearly every way and find it great to use this notebook. At a reasonable price point and its three year warranty, businesses and the user should be happy in the end, just as I am now.

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