HP EliteBook 2540p

I personally have nothing against HP. Over the years I’ve used several of their printers without any problems, and in more than one case they’ve lasted far beyond to what I expected. Sadly, I can’t say the same thing about my recent EliteBook 2540p laptop. I used it extensively over the last couple of years and ran into so many issues, it is difficult to figure out where to start. The 2540p was by no means a cheap or flimsy laptop, and according to several reviews, it was built to military specifications for toughness. This probably explains why it weighed in close to 4 lbs, which is rather on the heavy side for an ultraportable. What this does not explain is why this laptop almost completely fell apart over the course of that time - maybe a review of the military specifications for toughness might be in order.

The first thing to go where the capacitive quick launch buttons which controlled functions such as volume, the wireless card, and so on. This malfunction of the wireless enable/disable button proved particularly annoying as it constantly confused the laptop as to whether or not the wireless card ought to be on or off. On occasion the system would let me override this button using the windows mobility center application, but more often than not the defective quick launch button and the windows mobility center would not get along very well. Leading to the only other remaining option of completely uninstalling any quick launch functionality. Now, I could have happily lived without this functionality, but that was only the beginning of my troubles.

The next thing that went bonkers was the cooling system inside the ultra-portable. On several occasions, the right hand side of the laptop would get significantly hotter than when the system was new. This of course took its toll on the fan which after a few months of hard work began to sound like an airplane taking off. Having built many a system over the years I’m not afraid delving into system configs, but no amount of re-flashing or BIOS adjustments seemed to make the issue any better. As long as I was able to utilize my headphones to listen to some tunes and suppress the excessive noise while ignoring the agony of innocent victims nearby, all was fine in my word. But alas, this did not last either, as the next thing to bite the dust was the sound hardware. It began with intermittent functionality of the sound output port, which when it finally failed completely, decided to disable the integrated speakers as well.

But wait, we are not done yet. The now prevalent high-heat on the right hand side did not seem to sit well with the OS, leading to ever more system crashes and the always popular blue screens of death. The final nail in the coffin though was the mechanical failure of one of the hinges, once again on the right hand side of the system. The hinge got perpetually stuck in an open position, and trying to close the system in a usual fashion lead to a complete shattering of the lower screen bezel. Now I can’t say that all these failures were related, but i find it very suspicious that all of them occurred in roughly in the same area. I’m not saying that all HP laptops are bad, but you might want to do some research for extended user reviews and just maybe think twice before purchasing one.

As I write this, I’m doing so on an EliteBook 2560p, the successor to the just mentioned and ill fated 2540p - come back in a couple years and I’ll let you know how we got along.