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It's spelled out in the w suffix: HP considers its EliteBook 8440w to be not just a notebook computer but a full-fledged workstation, carrying ISV (independent software vendor) certifications for demanding CAD, engineering, and scientific applications and packing professional-grade Nvidia Quadro FX 380M graphics.
We've seen mobile workstations before, but they've almost always been luggables rather than laptops -- hefty systems with 17-inch or larger screens to show off design or rendering software. The 8440w is truly portable -- a tad under six pounds, with a screen measuring just 14 inches diagonally.
According to HP, the paradox is by popular demand: Design pros asked for a workstation that packed plenty of power when deskbound with a couple of monitors at a docking station, but that could be carried easily enough to show work at a client's site or conference room. And though the EliteBook's screen is small(ish), its resolution is high -- 1,600 by 900 bright, sharp, eye-pleasing pixels, enough to give the 512MB Quadro FX adapter a workout.
The machine's no skinny mini, either. Chunky for a 14-inch notebook, the EliteBook series is HP's business-rugged line, with features ranging from a 3D accelerometer that parks the hard drive in the event of a fall to a spill-resistant keyboard with drain channels, all wrapped up in a magnesium-alloy chassis with a magnesium/aluminum display enclosure that's rated to withstand 300 pounds of pressure without damaging the LCD. We didn't administer any torture tests, but we gave the 8440w a few friendly jolts and accidentally stepped on its closed lid with no ill effects.