HP ProBook 450 G4 review – Intel’s new Kaby Lake CPU isn’t the only improvement

HP’s ProBook lineup has been praised for a number of reasons in the past and now we will have to assess the next generation ProBook 450 G4 and see if it holds up to the legacy of ProBooks.

In most aspects, the ProBook G4 keeps what’s good from the previous version while offering slight changes here and there. Hopefully, most of them will turn out to be good but one thing is for sure – the upgrade to the newest Kaby Lake generation of CPUs will be more than beneficial. However, this has affected the price of the notebook and we have some concerns about the higher-end models with Core i7-7500U not being able to compete on the market with TN panels and underpowered graphics processor, which, by the way, should be at least better than last year’s 450 G3 with AMD’s Radeon R7 M340 discrete graphics. On the other hand, we are talking about a business-class model here so if you strictly looking for working, the ProBook G4 is a must-consider option.

You can find some of the available configurations here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Contents


Retail package

The box contains the usual set of user manuals, AC adapter, a cord and the notebook itself.


Design and construction

The whole design concept hasn’t changed dramatically but there are a few notable changes like the touchpad, the surface on the lid and the keyboard feel. Still, we will have to give credit for the reduced weight compared to the previous version 450 G3.

Let’s begin with the usual – the lid. It now changes skin from soft-touch, matte, black plastic surface to a metallic-looking, hard, gray finish. We kind of miss the matte surface since it provides more secure grip but also leaves fingerprints quite visible. The new material doesn’t seem to impress with much sturdiness and feels like the old one – bending the center of the screen isn’t much of a challenge and causes ripples on the LCD screen but probably won’t pose an issue during normal use. Hinges are once again delightful – not overly tightened and allow opening the laptop with one hand only. The bottom plate is once again plastic but on contrary to the 450 G3, the color is gray and fits the overall look without drawing too much attention. Also, the two service lids are replaced with a bigger one.

As for the sides, they remain without any noticeable change compared to the older model. Still measuring around 24 mm, you can find the usual set of ports and still evenly distributed like the old 450 G3. The left side holds the main exhaust grill, DC charging port, HDMI, VGA (for whoever still uses that), USB 3.0, USB-C 3.0, and an SD card reader. Unfortunately, turning to the other side of the notebook reveals only two other USB 2.0 connectors. So there’s one USB 3.0 port missing from the previous version. Instead, its place is taken by the Type-C connector. Anyway, there’s also the optical drive, 3.5 mm audio jack and the LAN port.

The interior is very much the same except for the touchpad. Now instead of using dedicated mouse buttons, there’s a single trackpad area with relatively smooth surface and accurate clicky feedback. It also feels much bigger and definitely more responsive and not as stiff as the one we’ve tested on other HP notebooks like the HP Pavilion 15, Pavilion 17 and the HP Pavilion 15 Gaming. The same goes for the HP Omen 15 (2016) as well. Anyway, the surface around the keyboard is again brushed aluminum with slightly concaved keyboard tray for extra ergonomics. Speaking of the keyboard, it’s pretty much the same but doesn’t actually feel that familiar. The travel of the keys is shorter but the excellent feedback has remained so we can still say it’s still a high-quality keyboard.

Again, we are happy with the design and build quality of the machine, although we remain uncertain of its ability to compete against similarly priced models with a better choice of materials. Yes, not necessarily business-oriented, but still worth considering – Lenovo Ideapad 510, Acer Aspire V3 series or even the Acer TravelMate X349-M, which is in the same ballpark but has a smaller 14-inch screen.


Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options

The notebook is super easy to upgrade when it comes to storage and RAM but unlike last year’s model, the ProBook 450 G4 doesn’t offer easy access to the battery so you need to perform a full disassembly to access it.

Storage upgrade options – 2.5-inch HDD, M.2 slot

Luckily, the ProBook 450 G4 retains the M.2 SATA SSD slot present in the previous generation. It supports 2280 sticks and our unit shipped with one. However, the 2.5-inch drive was nowhere to be found.

SlotUnitUpgrade price
M.2 slotSandisk SD8SNAT-256G-1002 256GB (SATA, 2280) Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)
2.5-inch HDD/SSDFree Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

RAM

The laptop supports two RAM slots compatible with DDR4-2133. Our unit came with just one 8GB Samsung chip.

SlotUnitUpgrade price
Slot 18GB RAM DDR4-2133
Slot 2Free Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Other components

The Wi-Fi card is found under the main service lid, right next to one of the RAM slots. It’s manufactured by Intel with model number 7265NGW.

The battery – as we mentioned above – has to be accessed after a full disassembly is performed as shown in the photos below. The units itself is rated at 48Wh.

If you need any more information regarding the disassembly process, we suggest heading to our dedicated article.

Display quality

HP’s ProBook 450 G4 swaps last year’s TN panel with a different one and we’ve got the Full HD version. However, some of the results don’t necessarily show better image quality. The ProBook 450 G4 uses a CHI MEI CM15E3 TN display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 142 ppi and 0.18 x 0.18 mm pixel pitch. The screen can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 60 cm.

Viewing angles are poor due to the use of TN panel.

The maximum recorded brightness in the middle is 202 cd/m2 while the average value is 188 cd/m2 with maximum deviation of 11% in the lower center section of the surface. The color temperature is slightly deviating from the optimal 6500K – 7100K so it’s hard to notice the blue-ish tints in some colors. The contrast ratio is rather low – 330:1 before and 270:1 after calibration.

The maximum dE2000 (color deviation) is 3.4 while values above 4.0 are unwanted. Refer to the image below for more information.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

We found the sRGB coverage slightly below the average for this price range – 49%, which means that less than half of the colors can be reproduced by the screen.

Below you will see practically the same image but with the color circles representing the reference colors and the white circles being the result. You can see main and additional colors with 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% saturation inside the sRGB gamut with and without our custom “Office/Web Design work” profile.

The “Office/Web Design Work” profile has been created with a target color temperature equal to 6500K, gamma set to sRGB mode and 140 cd/m2 luminance.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the Office & Web Design profile.

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the Gaming & Movie Nights profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 14 ms.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse Width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

We were pleased by the results from our tests because the equipment recorded high-frequency PWM only below 60 cd/m2 while the rest of the brightness levels were PWM-free. Just make sure you use the laptop above 51% brightness and you are set for long hours of work without any eye strain.

Blue light emissions

Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SDP) graph.

Conclusion

HP ProBook 450 G4’s Full HD TN panel doesn’t surprise us with good picture quality, nor does it show any significant – or any improvement for that matter – compared to last year’s model in this regard but there’s one big change here that’s worth mentioning – the absence of PWM above 51% brightness.

This will ensure comfortable work during long hours in front of the screen and besides, most users looking for a budget business notebook don’t need flawless IPS panels for multimedia or work. If need a better all-rounder with crisp IPS panel, we suggest looking for the similarly-priced Lenovo Ideapad 510.

Buy our display profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for HP ProBook 450 G4 configurations with 15.6″ CHI MEI CM15E3 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) TN screen, which can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected].

Read more about the profiles HERE.

[edd_item edd_id_1=’74807′ edd_id_2=’74810′ edd_id_3=’74813′ edd_id_4=’74816′]

Sound

The sound quality is good and there’s no significant distortion in low or high frequencies.


Specs sheet


ProcessorIntel Core i7-7500U (2-core, 2.70 – 3.50 GHz, 4MB cache)
RAM8GB (1x 8192MB) – DDR4, 2133 MHz
Graphics cardNVIDIA GeForce 930MX (2GB DDR3)
HDD/SSD256GB M.2 SATA SSD + 1TB HDD (5400 rpm)
Display15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) TN panel, matte
Optical driveYes
ConnectivityLAN 10/100/1000 Mbps, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2×2), Bluetooth 4.0
Other features
  • 1x USB 3.0
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • 1x USB-C 3.0
  • webcam
  • 3.5 mm combo audio jack
  • SD card reader
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • RJ-45 (LAN)
Battery3-cell, 48Wh
Thickness24.4 mm (0.96″)
Weight2.04 kg (4.5 lbs)


HP ProBook 450 G4 configurations


Software

We used a freshly installed Windows 10 (64-bit) for the writing of this review and if you also wish to perform a clean install, we suggest downloading the latest drivers from HP’s official support page.

Battery

Despite the small change in battery capacity from last year’s model, the 48Wh unit on the ProBook 450 G4 proved to be more than enough to keep the system running for long periods of time. The new alteration scored more than 30% better than its predecessor thanks to the optimised Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U processor.

As always, all battery tests were performed using the usual settings – Wi-Fi turned on, Windows battery saving feature turned on and screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2.

Web browsing

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

Way above the average result that we’ve expected – 500 minutes (8 hours and 20 minutes).

Video playback

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

Significantly lower but still surprisingly good result – 400 minutes (6 hours and 40 minute).

Gaming

We recently started using F1 2015’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.

As expected, the gaming test took a toll on the battery with just 213 minutes (3 hours and 33 minutes) of play time.

CPU – Intel Core i7-7500U

The Core i7-7500U is part of the latest Intel Kaby Lake generation of CPUs built upon 14nm manufacturing process – or 14nm+ as the company markets – and should offer marginal performance gains over the Skylake generation while improving overall power efficiency. It’s a direct successor to the Core i7-6500U (Skylake) and Core i7-5500 (Broadwell) but opposed to previous architecture refreshes, the Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U is bringing much higher clock rates. Now the chip is clocked at 2.7 – 3.5 GHz (compared to the 2.5 – 3.1 GHz on the Skylake Core i7-6500U) and still adopting the 2/4 core/thread count using the HyperThreading technology with a maximum 4MB cache.

However, the Core i7-7500U’s TDP is still rated at 15W including the iGPU and dual-channel memory controller that supports DDR4-2133, LPDDR3-1866 and DDR3L-1600. And as far as the iGPU is concerned, it integrates a slightly improved Intel HD Graphics 620 clocked at 300 – 1050 MHz, which is slightly higher than the iGPU on the Core i5-7200U (300 – 1000 MHz).

You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i7-7500u/

Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i7-7500U scored 6.946 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.

GPU – NVIDIA GeForce 930MX (2GB DDR3)

The NVIDIA GeForce 930MX chip is based on the same 28nm process as the whole Maxwell family and uses the GM108 chip as the previous GeForce 930M GPU. However, some alterations have allowed for the GeForce 930MX to perform better than its predecessor.

Now the 930MX GPU supports GDDR5 memory, although not every OEM will use it and the most commonly found versions are with DDR3 VRAM. Furthermore, the GeForce 930MX is clocked higher (1019 – 1176 MHz) and this alone will bring the performance closer to the GeForce 940M. But most of the specs remain the same – 384 CUDA cores, 24 TMUs, 16 ROPs and 64-bit memory interface.

You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/

Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/nvidia-geforce-930mx-2gb-ddr3/


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GOHD, Low (Check settings)HD, Medium (Check settings)HD, Max (Check settings)
Average FPS118 fps87 fps62 fps

f1-2015-game

F1 2015HD, Low (Check settings)HD, Medium (Check settings)HD, Max (Check settings)
Average FPS40 fps30 fps21 fps

GTA-V-benchmarks

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)HD, Low (Check settings)HD, Medium (Check settings)HD, Max (Check settings)
Average FPS64 fps23 fps– fps

Temperatures

Our series of stress tests are not the best representation of real-life use but at the same time, they give us a good glimpse of how the system will perform in the long run. It’s also a good way to determine the stability of the cooling system under heavy load.

We start with 100% CPU load for an hour. The CPU was able to reach its maximum operating frequency of 3.5 GHz for less than a minute and then slowly declined to 3.0 GHz, which is still within the limits of the CPU. Even temperatures were relatively low as the monitoring software showed 68 °C.

We started the GPU stress test as well and temperatures did rose up to 79 °C while the GPU maintained stable 71 °C. At first, the graphics card was able to reach its maximum potential but then returned to its base frequency of 1019 MHz. No throttling occurred during the whole test.

Temperatures on the surface were also pretty low so even under heavy load, the cooling system will provide smooth and cool performance.


Verdict

The new HP ProBook 450 G4 delivered even more than we expected. It brings a slightly altered design, which isn’t prone to smudges and fingerprints anymore, but retains the good choice of materials and feel. Maybe it’s not a big improvement compared to the previous version but it’s definitely not a step back either. If anything, there’s a small decline in weight and size over the ProBook 450 G3. Moreover, the ProBook 450 G4 introduces the already excellent keyboard from the last generation while revamping the touchpad, which offered nothing less than good experience. It’s nowhere near the Pavilion 15’s stiff and almost unusable touchpad.

What really matters, though, is under the hood. With the new Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U processor, the HP ProBook 450 G4 offers elevated performance and more power on the go away from the charger. The shift from the AMD Radeon R7 M340 to the NVIDIA GeForce 930MX is another welcomed change as the GPU is suitable not only for multimedia but for some light gaming as well. Not to mention the much-appreciated support for M.2 SATA SSDs, which is a rare find in this price range.

But not all is perfect. As always, there’s still something more to ask for. For instance, the lack of another USB-A 3.0 connector is a big miss and the image quality is somehow subpar even for a budget business laptop. The latter is compensated with the lack of PWM above 51% (60 cd/m2) brightness, though.

Do we still recommend the HP ProBook 450 G4? For sure! Fortunately, the laptop still sits on the top of our list of budget-friendly business solutions and it won’t be going away anytime soon.

You can find some of the available configurations here: Buy from Amazon.com (#CommissionsEarned)

Pros

  • Sturdy and practical design
  • Excellent input devices
  • The screen doesn’t use PWM from 51% brightness (60 cd/m2) and above
  • Supports M.2 SATA SSDs
  • Excellent battery life


Cons

  • Only one USB-A 3.0 connector
  • Screen with low contrast and narrow sRGB coverage
  • The battery isn’t user-accessible anymore

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fadi shbat
fadi shbat
7 years ago

Thank you for this review , I need some help with choosing the correct laptop, The first laptop is asus k556ur with intel I5 7200u – RAM 6G ddr4 2133 – Nvidia geforce 930mx 2G – full hd screen Anti-Glare Panel with 45% NTSC – 38h battery captivity – Hard Drives‎ 1TB SATA HDD ———— the second one is HP PROBOOK 450 G4 with intel I5 7200u – RAM 8G ddr4 2133hr – Nvidia 930mx 2G – hd screan – 48 battery captivity – 1TB HDD .
I want the right laptop for architect design plz.

Mirza Farzam
7 years ago

I have read your reviews on Dell inspiron 5567 and HP probook 450 G4.Please tell me that which laptop should I buy? I cannot chose between these two laptops.I need a laptop for engineering softwares such as Matlab,Solidworks etc.Please reply soon.

manuel
manuel
8 months ago

do you know if M2 slot supports SSD NVMe8 or only SATA SSDs?

Hamid
Hamid
2 months ago
Reply to  manuel

i have it it’s M2.2280 only.