The HP EliteBook 8440p is a high-power 14in-screen laptop for the corporate elite, built like a tank and with state-of-the art performance thanks to the fastest Intel Core i7 mobile dual-core processor and SSD storage - UPDATED 14 SEPT 2010

Designed for the corporate elite, we’re told, is the HP EliteBook 8440p. Like the Samsung P580 business laptop, this HP EliteBook 8440p won’t win any beauty pagents and is hardly boardroom eye-candy. But it may win loyal fans from anyone needing a high-spec rugged laptop with a great turn of speed.

When first presented with its lid closed, the HP EliteBook 8440p is an incredibly rigid, if angular, notebook whose magniesium-aluminium alloy lid seems welded to the rest of the chassis.

 HP EliteBook 8440p (WL653PA)

A rigid lid on the HP EliteBook 8440p combines with a flex-free chassis to make one tough notebook

Depress the front release button, and the HP EliteBook 8440p's stiff lid can be raised to reveal a superb anti-glare screen of well-judged resolution – 1600x900 pixels across its 14.0in matt panel.

Speaker volume, wireless and touchpad on/off, as well as an email program’s quick-launch buttons are all found just below the screen, as touch-sensitive backlit buttons. The keyboard is a tough-feeling type with quiet flat-top keys, including a trackpoint steerer in its middle. It’s said to be spill-resistant, although we can’t confirm how well this works in practice.

The trackpoint is joined by a regular trackpad, a rather small but precise device, ably assisted by two long-travel click buttons. There’s no additional number keypad due to the limited width of this 14in form-factor notebook.

For night-time use, there’s a natty little white LED light sited in the top of the HP EliteBook 8440p's screen bezel next to the webcam. Press the square tile and the light pops out and softly illuminates the top deck.

On the left of the HP EliteBook 8440p we find three USB 2.0 and a mini FireWire 400 port, as well as an ExpressCard 54 expansion slot. On the right are the DVD±RW optical drive, Lightscribe enabled as you’d expect from the owners of the technology, as well as 56k modem and ethernet ports.

At a shade under 2.4kg it’s a little heavier than you might expect of a 14in design, but overall construction oozes solidity.

HP hasn’t skimped much on the HP EliteBook 8440p’s silicon either. There’s no separate graphics processor, but the one integrated into the notebook’s Intel Core i7-620M is good enough for almost any game-free use. And in fact this latest-generation Intel GMA HD can even play Windows games if you keep detail settings down. We saw 17 fps in FEAR at Maximum quality, and 27 fps at High.

HP includes a fairly decent 55Wh battery that allowed the HP EliteBook 8440p to run for nearly 5.5 hours in the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test (327 mins). But given a dose of mains power, the 8440p is a very swift performer.

In the WorldBench 6 speed test, it reaped a giddy 123 points. That’s a great result, aided by the inclusion of an SSD for storage. That drive is 160GB in size, a little small for home users with large media libraries, but plenty enough space for Office docs.

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