HP EliteBook 800 G5: A Friend to the User

HP has been a reliable supporter of repair, and the EliteBook 800 G5 is no exception. If you think we get tired of perfect 10/10 laptops, you’d be wrong. This EliteBook grants us a glimpse at the repairable future we’ve been fighting for.

Everything in this device is thoughtfully arranged to enable repair and, perhaps more importantly, reassembly. The rear cover is secured by simple Phillips screws, and they’re even held captive so you don’t need to worry about putting them back in the right place or losing them. Some simple prying with a plastic tool pops that cover right off.

Opening the bottom of the HP EliteBook 800 G5Once the laptop is opened, name a component—it’s probably right there for the picking. The relatively flat design gives immediate access to all the commonly replaced items: battery, display, USB port, RAM, SSD, wireless cards. It’s like a dream come true.

The inside of the HP EliteBook 800 G5There are no wily tricks needed to replace a worn out battery, or to upgrade your RAM. No traps and no special tools required. Screws are labeled on the motherboard, cables are carefully annotated, and even card slots have reminders of what you just removed. Everything about this device says, “HP cares.” This manufacturer wants you to upgrade and maintain this device as long as physically possible.

Opening the keyboard in the HP EliteBook 800 G5Don’t get us wrong: no device is perfect, and this is no exception. After the initial honeymoon, we had some trouble getting to the next components. The device has a linear disassembly process that requires you to remove the keyboard before the fan and motherboard, which seems like a little bit of a detour. But again, this isn’t malicious user-proofing—the service instructions are available online, for free, and they detail exactly how to proceed. The motherboard does have some external ports soldered on, and usually we don’t like to see high-wear components in a non-modular setting—but there’s still a modular USB port you can easily replace. Plus, motherboard replacement shouldn’t be too pricey, considering RAM and SSD are removable.

After emptying the case, we turn to the display (which is replaceable from the outset by the way). The hinges, cable cover, and bezel come right off, and the screen is easy to free. All that’s left are the antenna cables, which means they’re easy enough to get to should they ever fail.

HP EliteBook 800 G5 teardownOkay, so there were some soldered ports, the trackpad has some afterthought-looking foam glued to it, and there are a lot of little interconnect cables. But this is a far cry from the glue-filled, solid-state, fused-display “laptops” that by all rights are disposable tablets with a hefty price tag. All in all, the EliteBook 800 G5 earns a 10 out of 10 on our repairability scale for its modular construction, standard tool set, and manufacturer-provided documentation.