The latest privacy tool for HP laptops is meant to prevent prying eyes

It’s becoming so hard to let a laptop that outstanding. There are a lot of thin and light notebooks ,which equip the  comfortable keyboards, nice screens and enough power for most professional workflows. To really make an impression, companies have to release some unique features that rise above mere gimmickry. HP’s latest attempt is something called Presence Aware on the EliteBook 1040, which lets the machine know when you’re in front of it so that it can dim the screen when you leave and wake up when you return. There’s also a new AI noise reduction tool to make your voice sound clearer on calls.

Although we don’t review lots of commercial laptops like HP’s EliteBook series, we’re making an exception this time because interesting new features like Presence Aware and AI Noise Reduction tend to show up in HP’s consumer models after debuting in business-first lines.

HP has already become a leader in the design of laptop , with the Spectre series being some of the best-looking ultraportables around. The company’s machines often have super thin silhouettes with unique flourishes like leather coverings. The EliteBook 1040 is less striking — its silver exterior and sloping profile are pretty typical these days, but touches like the angled lip and shiny branding on the back edge add subtle style. HP also said this year’s model is slightly smaller and lighter than the last generation. Regardless, this is a good-looking machine, and one of few commercial laptops that also looks fashionable.

Something about the keyboard and trackpad
I’ve loved HP’s EliteBook keyboards for some time now, and the 1040 doesn’t disappoint. The buttons are satisfyingly deep and offer clicky feedback that reminds me of mechanical keys. The layout is well spaced, and since this is a 14-inch machine there’s also room on the right for an additional column of keys including Home, Page Down, Page Up and End.

HP also threw in a nifty programmable key in the shortcut row at the top, which you can set to launch your favorite apps, files or websites. Using a combination of Ctrl, Alt and Shift with the programmable button, you can create up to four different shortcuts. For example, you could set the key to launch your messaging apps, browser with tabs open for email and calendar, as well as your photo and audio editing software. This way, you can start your work day with all your frequently used tools with just a push. Then you could set Shift-ProgramKey to pull up three different browsers set to the PlayStation 5 order page for various retailers when a drop is about to happen. It’s a simple but surprisingly useful feature that I wish more companies would adopt.

Regarding the presence Aware and AI Noise Reduction
Another feature unique to the new EliteBook 10 series is HP’s Presence Aware. This uses a proximity sensor to tell if you’re in front of your laptop to dim your screen and lock your machine when you walk away, and wake it up when you’re back. Because it uses a proximity sensor instead of a camera, Presence Aware will also work if you’ve shuttered the webcam, and it’s not looking for identifying features like your eyes or face.

As for the performance and battery life
Thanks to its 10th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, the EliteBook 1040 was more than capable of handling my daily workflow. I ‘ve encountered no delays as I wrote up news posts while covering a live event on YouTube, downloading and editing pictures and researching stories. It kept running even as I pushed it harder, jumping in and out of League Of Legends to chat with my pals on Discord and Telegram. That said, it did take a second or so to switch between those applications.

To sum up:

Features like HP Presence Aware and noise reduction are what I’m more concerned about in this review and neither of them are very exciting just yet. If they’re a taste of what’s to come in future mainstream laptops, I believe companies will continue to struggle to find ways to make their products stand out. Aside from those features and its somewhat dim screen, though, the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G7 is a good if somewhat pricey laptop.