The HP EliteBook 8740w XT914UA is billed as a Mobile Workstation, but mobile is not the first word that springs to mind when you look at it.

It's absolutely huge, with a 17.3in display – and with a 16:10 aspect ratio rather than 16:9 – and despite HP's claims that the EliteBook 'only' weighs in at 3.57kg, that figure may be rather conservative. Our scales were quivering at around the 3.85kg mark.

And that's not where the hefty aspect of the HP EliteBook 8740w XT914UA ends - it will cost you around £3000 to get your hands on one of these, depending on configuration. But both build quality and specification are largely representative of a laptop at this price level. 

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The Intel Core i7-740QM processor, with four cores running at 1.73GHz, is an older pre-Sandy Bridge chip crafted at the 45nm process. And the WorldBench 6 score of 112 is ultimately slightly disappointing.

But with a quad-core chip (here looking like an eight-core thanks to Hyper Threading) you do get better potential multitasking capabilities, so if you need to run several high-end applications at once then this EliteBook should take the workload in its stride.

Performance-wise the HP EliteBook 8740w XT914UA really stands out with its graphics capabilities.

In the FEAR tests it soared to an average frame rate of 174fps at Maximum detail settings - well in excess of any other model on test.

Though we wouldn't expect gamers to be queuing up to buy a pro laptop such as the HP EliteBook 8740w XT914UA, it does give a good indication of just how well the nVidia Quadro 5000M graphics card with its 2GB of video memory will do when handling graphics-intensive applications. 

The screen has a semi-glossy finish, with one of the better anti-glare coatings we've seen, meaning that there is a good intensity of colour without the risk of distracting reflections. The keyboard is full-sized and has a numeric keypad to the right. It's also backlit, which makes it easy to use in darker environments. We weren't so happy with the small Return keythough. 

There is just about every conceivable kind of port on the HP, with the notable exception of HDMI, though DisplayPort more than makes up for it.

USB provisions are generous, there are a smartcard reader and fingerprint reader for additional security, and the overall construction of this HP EliteBook 8740w XT914UA is very solid.

HP EliteBook 8740w XT914UA: Specs

  • 1.73GHz Intel Core i7-740QM quad-core
  • 17.3in anti-glare LED-backlit
  • 1920 x 1200
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3-133MHz
  • 500GB HDD 7200rpm SATA 3 Gbps
  • nVidia Quadro 5000M with 2GB RAM
  • DisplayPort, VGA
  • stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic input
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA, 1 x FireWire 400
  • DVD±RW DL
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 gigabit ethernet
  • SD/MS Pro/xD
  • webcam, fingerprint reader, smartcard reader
  • 73Wh lithium-ion removable battery
  • 104 minutes MobileMark 2007 Productivity
  • 112 points WorldBench 6
  • 398 x 286 x 37mm
  • 3.85kg
  • 1.73GHz Intel Core i7-740QM quad-core
  • 17.3in anti-glare LED-backlit
  • 1920 x 1200
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
  • 8GB DDR3-133MHz
  • 500GB HDD 7200rpm SATA 3 Gbps
  • nVidia Quadro 5000M with 2GB RAM
  • DisplayPort, VGA
  • stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic input
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA, 1 x FireWire 400
  • DVD±RW DL
  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 gigabit ethernet
  • SD/MS Pro/xD
  • webcam, fingerprint reader, smartcard reader
  • 73Wh lithium-ion removable battery
  • 104 minutes MobileMark 2007 Productivity
  • 112 points WorldBench 6
  • 398 x 286 x 37mm
  • 3.85kg

OUR VERDICT

The sheer size and mass of the HP EliteBook 8740w XT914UA means it isn't the kind of laptop you'd want to be carrying around too often. It's a great choice for anyone with the need for high-end graphics performance, though it isn't quite as speedy as other models on test when focusing on single tasks. The solid construction and usability of the EliteBook are to be admired, even if the price tag may appear somewhat daunting.

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