Thinking about an HP laptop?

A review of the HP EliteBook 2540p laptop, or rather a quick rundown of the trials and tribulations over the last few years

Thinking about an HP laptop?
Photo by Markus Spiske

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 expectations. Sadly, the same can't be said about my recent HP 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 just 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. While this may explain why this laptop weighed in at close to 4 lbs, which is rather on the heavy side for an ultraportable. What it does not explain is why it completely fell apart over the course of that time - maybe a review of the military specifications might be in order for HP.

HP EliteBook 2540p (Photo Credit: HP)

The first thing to go where the capacitive quick launch buttons which controlled functions such as volume, the wireless card, and so on. The malfunction of the wireless enable/disable button proved particularly annoying as it constantly confused the laptop and operating system about the functional state of the wireless card. 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 simply not get along very well. This lead to the only other remaining option of completely uninstalling any quick launch functionality. I would have happily lived without that luxury, 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 world. 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 on a particular occasion le 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.