HP’s new EliteBooks have a built-in webcam cover for privacy

HP is announcing a bunch of new laptops and monitors today, but the single most interesting thing about them may be a small piece of metal: a webcam cover, so you can ensure you aren’t being watched while the camera’s not in use.

The webcam cover will show up on some versions of HP’s latest EliteBooks, which are getting three refreshed models. The fifth-generation EliteBook 830, 840, and 850 will all come with a webcam cover in their default configurations. Unfortunately, though, if you upgrade any of these models to include a touchscreen, HP says the bezel doesn’t leave enough room for a cover to fit, so it won’t be included.

The HP EliteBook 840 with touchscreen (and no webcam cover)
Image: HP

Other companies have built physical webcam covers into their products; Lenovo recently did this on some of its ThinkPad laptops. But this the first time HP has done it, and it’s still relatively rare across the industry, despite what a common sense, important security feature it is.

There are some other nice upgrades to this generation of the EliteBook. The bezels are a little bit slimmer, and perhaps most importantly, the 14-inch model of the laptop (the 840) now includes an option for discrete graphics — AMD’s Radeon RX 540 — which were previously only offered on the 15-inch model (the 850). The 13-inch model (the 830) still only offers Intel’s integrated GPU. The laptops are also being updated with eighth-generation Intel processors and brighter display options.

In addition to the new EliteBooks, HP is also introducing refreshed versions of its entry-level workstation laptops, the ZBook 14u and 15u. Both are getting slight design changes, with the 14-inch model slimming down enough that HP is able to claim it’s the “world’s thinnest mobile workstation.” HP is also announcing three new 4K displays today that are meant to go along with the ZBooks. They come in 27-, 31.5-, and 42.5-inch models with prices from $559 to $899.

HP ZBook 14u and 15u (fifth generation)
Image: HP

For the most part, all of these laptops are targeted at businesses, meant to be purchased in bulk by IT teams. But they are all available to buy individually through HP’s webstore. And aside from some business-focused options like the EliteBook’s card reader, they work as an alternative if you, say, aren’t enamored with the distinct lack of ports in a typical consumer-oriented laptop.

The three new EliteBook models go on sale sometime this month, with prices starting at $1,029. The ZBook models will also launch this month, starting at $1,099.

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