HP EliteBook 865 G9 review

HP is offering a good amount of business notebooks and one of them is the HP EliteBook 865 G9. We already have a review of its Intel iteration – the HP EliteBook 860 G9 and it’ll be interesting to see how the AMD model is holding its ground against the Alder Lake-based counterpart in (almost) the same chassis.

So, we have a 16:10 16-incher with a 1200p resolution which should boost productivity in the office because this kind of aspect ratio is suitable for productivity tasks. You can choose among three 1200p IPS display variants with 250 nits, 400 nits, or 1000 nits brightness. This laptop can be used anywhere because it has a stealthy business design that isn’t intrusive at all.

In terms of power, the HP EliteBook 865 G9 relies on AMD Zen 3+ CPUs and we already know that these chips are offering great efficiency and snappiness at the same time so when it comes to raw power, this laptop should be just fine. In addition, the DDR5 support and the all-new latest and greatest iGPUs like the AMD Radeon 660M and AMD Radeon 680M should boost the overall performance even further. Thanks to the integrated graphics, this machine can be used for some CS:GO during the lunch break.

The laptop can be picked with a lot of optional extras like a Web camera with a privacy shutter, IR face recognition scanner, fingerprint reader, backlit keyboard, LTE connectivity, Bluetooth 5.3 (the base version comes with 5.2 version), and there are even two types of power cords – the base one is branded as a “C5 1.0m Sticker Conventional Power Cord” while the alternate option is a “C5 1.0m Sticker Premium Power Cord” (well, wow). For those who want an even better battery life, the optional 76Wh battery should provide extra juice over the standard 51.3Wh unit. As you can see, if you want the “full package”, you have to stretch your wallet.

At first sight, the HP EliteBook 865 G9 looks like a good allrounder for business work – it comes with an IPS screen, a good variety of powerful CPUs, DDR5 memory support, and the design is modern. Let’s see how good this laptop is.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-elitebook-865-g9/

Contents


Specs Sheet

HP EliteBook 865 G9 - Specs

  • HDD/SSD
  • up to 2000GB SSD
  • M.2 Slot
  • 1x 2280 PCIe NVMe 4.0 x4  See photo
  • RAM
  • up to 64GB
  • OS
  • Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home
  • Battery
  • 51Wh, 3-cell, 71Wh
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 359 x 251 x 19.2 mm (14.13" x 9.88" x 0.76")
  • Weight
  • 1.76 kg (3.9 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-A
  • 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 4.0
  • HDMI
  • 2.0
  • Card reader
  • Nano Sim
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.2
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • optional
  • Web camera
  • HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • optional
  • Microphone
  • Dual Array Microphones
  • Speakers
  • 2x Stereo Speakers, Bang & Olufsen
  • Optical drive

What’s in the box?

HP EliteBook 865 G9 isn’t affordable but its packaging isn’t special. Inside the box, you’ll find some manuals and a 65W USB Type-C charger. There are variants with a 100W USB Type-C power adapter with a 10W USB Type-A port for charging your smartphone or other gadgets which is a good extra if you need it.


Design and construction

Yes, this laptop is definitely compact with a profile of 19.2 mm. The machine feels and looks premium because of the aluminum build, and the rounded edges are complimenting the whole business look of the device.

With a weight of just 1.76 kilos, this notebook could be carried in a suitcase or in a backpack with ease. We observed a small amount of flex from the lid when we tried to twist it but in reality, if you don’t try to do this on purpose, the lid should be just fine. The base seems durable enough for harsh typing.

The lid can be opened with a single hand up to almost 180 degrees. The bottom side of the lid is lifting up the base – this contributes to better comfort while using the device and enhances the cooling capabilities because more fresh air can reach the fan. Still, there is zero protection for the part of the lid that is making contact with the ground so sooner or later, there will be visible scratches in this area. The bezels around the matte panel are thin and that’s why the laptop looks up to date. Only the upper bezel is a bit thicker because it “carries” a 5 MP Web camera with an optional privacy shutter and an optional IR face recognition scanner.

The (optional) fingerprint reader is located on the bottom-right side just below the NumPad. Oh, yes, the keyboard got a NumberPad which seems like a necessary thing for most business devices. Furthermore, the key travel is long enough and the feedback is clicky. The backlight is optional, but the unit is spill-resistant so you don’t have to worry about accidental water drops on the keyboard.

The touchpad has a big glass surface area and because of its size, it’s really comfortable to work with. Gliding is butter-smooth, and the unit is precise.

The bottom plate houses two speaker cutouts and the ventilation grill. The hot air has been pushed through a vent in between the upper part of the base and the lid.

Ports

On the left, we can spot an HDMI 2.0, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, two USB4 Type-C 40Gbps connectors (with DisplayPort 1.4 and charging capabilities), and an optional Smart Card reader. On the other side are placed an audio jack, a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, a Nano security lock slot, and an optional SIM card tray for variants with a WWAN card.


Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance


For removing the bottom plate, you have to undo 5 captive Phillips-head screws. Then, you can pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool starting from the upper part of the plate.

Speaking of the bottom plate, it’s an aluminum one and it comes with two thermal pads for cooling the Wi-Fi module and the WWAN card.

The battery is a 51.3Wh unit. You have to unscrew four Phillips-head screws if you want to remove it, and after that, you have to unplug the battery connector as well.

The RAM slots are covered by a metal shroud. There are two SODIMMs that can handle up to 64GB of DDR5 RAM in quad-channel mode. The single NVMe slot is protected by a metal cover too. The M.2 PCIe x4 slot is compatible with Gen 3 and Gen 4 SSDs. The NVMe got two thermal pads placed on both sides.

There is a WWAN slot for optional LTE connectivity.

The cooling solution is a basic one – it has one heat pipe and a normal fan.


Drivers

All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://support.hp.com/gb-en/drivers/selfservice/hp-elitebook-865-16-inch-g9-notebook-pc/2100825627

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This laptop’s 51.3Wh battery pack lasts for 14 hours and 17 minutes of Web browsing, and we got the exactly same time for video playback. That’s not bad given the small capacity of the battery and this once again proves that the AMD Zen 3+ CPUs are efficient.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.


CPU options

You can choose from a plethora of CPUs – AMD Ryzen 5 6600U, Ryzen 5 PRO 6650U, Ryzen 7 6800U, Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U, and Ryzen 7 PRO 6850HS.

HP EliteBook 865 G9 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the HP EliteBook 865 G9 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which HP EliteBook 865 G9 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.

Results are from the Cinebench R23 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)


GPU options

No dedicated GPUs here but you can rely on some of the most powerful iGPUs up to date – AMD Radeon RX 660 and AMD Radeon RX 680M. The smaller sibling can be found in the Ryzen 5-based machines, while the more powerful iGPU is available in configurations with Ryzen 7 CPUs.

HP EliteBook 865 G9 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the HP EliteBook 865 G9 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which HP EliteBook 865 G9 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.

Results are from the 3DMark: Time Spy (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Wild Life (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

 

CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
HP EliteBook 865 G9 (AMD RX 680M) 114 fps 102 fps (+1%) 81 fps (+42%)
HP EliteBook 860 G9 (Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EU) 114 fps 101 fps 57 fps

 

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
HP EliteBook 865 G9 (AMD RX 680M) 120 fps (+6%) 78 fps (+8%) 52 fps (+13%)
HP EliteBook 860 G9 (Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EU) 113 fps 72 fps 46 fps

This is an interesting comparison between the AMD RX 680M in the HP EliteBook 865 G9  and Iris Xe Graphics G7 (80EU) in the HP EliteBook 860 G9. These iGPUs are fitted in machines that have the same cooling solution, the same chassis, and both laptops are equipped with a single stick of 16GB DDR5 RAM so this comparison seems fair enough. The AMD RX 680M is clearly faster, especially in CS:GO on Max details where it’s able to show 42% higher FPS values. Keep in mind that you can further boost the performance of both iGPUs by installing a second RAM memory.

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average P-core frequency; Average E-core frequency; CPU temp.; Package Power

AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U (28W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
HP EliteBook 865 G9 2.34 GHz @ 57°C @ 25W @2000 RPM 2.63 GHz @ 70°C @ 25W @ 3140 RPM 2.65 GHz @ 80°C @ 25W @ 4400 RPM
HP EliteBook 865 G9 with cooling pad 2.66 GHz @ 65°C @ 25W @2000 RPM 2.64 GHz @ 70°C @ 25W @ 2960 RPM 2.69 GHz @ 71°C @ 25W @ 4400 RPM
Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 1 3.44 GHz @ 85°C @ 47W 3.25 GHz @ 89°C @ 41W 2.51 GHz @ 79°C @ 22W

HP EliteBook 865 G9 cooling setup can’t go over 25W even in short loads but the CPU is (almost) reaching its official base clock of 2.7 GHz in prolonged periods of 100% load which is good. We tried to additionally cool down the laptop with a cooling pad and actually, it worked great. We got a 300 MHz higher CPU clock in short loads and 9°C lower CPU temperature in the long run (oh, and a 40 Hz higher clock which is almost nothing) so if you plan to use this device for heavier loads, a cooling pad isn’t a bad idea.

Comfort during full load

Despite the fact that the single fan is spinning at 4400 RPM during heavy usage, it’s not loud at all which speaks well for the quality of the fan itself.  The hottest spot on the base is located in the upper part of the middle of the keyboard and it’s not hot on the touch at all so the HP EliteBook 865 G9 can be branded as a laptop that is offering good comfort during usage.

Verdict

The HP EliteBook 865 G9 is a premium business laptop and yes, we do like it mostly because it has just a few cons. Let’s start with the pros – this notebook looks great thanks to its metal build and stealthy design so you can use it everywhere – in the office, in your home, during a vacation, and even in the park. Yep, the battery life that can be squeezed out of the small 51.3Wh unit is good enough for working on the go. For users who always want the best possible battery life, a 76Wh unit is available for configuring.

As we said earlier, the good battery life is possible because of the more powerful and refined AMD Zen 3+ CPUs – you can choose between five processors – starting from the 6-core Ryzen 5 6600U and you can go as high as Ryzen 7 PRO 6850HS which is a 35W 8-core beast (and this one will be a real challenge for the cooling).

In most cases, the integrated Radeon RX 660M that can be found in the Ryzen 5 configuration should be enough for most users, but if you like to play games from time to time, the AMD RX 680M (available in the Ryzen 7-based laptops) will boost the FPS in the games that you like to play. The overall performance is looking normal if we directly compare it to the HP EliteBook 860 G9 with Intel Core i7-1255U – the AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 6850U has the upper hand in 3D Rendering but the Intel chip is faster in 2D workloads such as Photoshop.

Typing feels great thanks to the good keyboard with long key travel and nice clicky feedback. The NumPad is here too so the accountants should be happy. If you’re a night owl, the optional backlight is a must-have feature. The comfort during typing is complemented by the hinge mechanism which is lifting the back of the device when the lid is widely open. This also is boosting the cooling capabilities of the laptop. The touchpad is a good unit – it has a big glass surface, it’s accurate and the gliding is smooth.

The “HP Wolf Security” comes preinstalled and it has features like HP DriveLock, HP Secure Erase, HP Sure Click, HP Sure Sense, HP Sure Recover Gen5, etc.

As we said, the HP EliteBook 865 G9 doesn’t have a lot of cons, but we can mention the lack of an SD card slot, and the fact that the device has a premium price tag and a lot of the goodies are optional. If you want to use features like a Web camera with a privacy shutter, fingerprint reader, or backlit keyboard, you have to pay an additional amount of money.

Still, the HP EliteBook 865 G9 is a good business laptop that boasts a great metal build, a modern design, a comfortable keyboard, and a smooth glass touchpad. In addition, the AMD Zen 3+ CPUs offer a snappy performance and good efficiency and the laptop is comfortable for work because it’s not loud and hot during heavy loads.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-elitebook-865-g9/

Pros

  • Good battery life for such a modest capacity
  • Thin and light metal chassis
  • Comfortable spill-resistant keyboard
  • Optional IR face recognition camera + fingerprint reader
  • 5MP Web camera with an optional privacy shutter
  • Quiet under load


Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • No SD card slot
  • Most of the goodies are optional

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