Introduction, Design Features
HP’s ZBook line of mobile workstations includes, yet question, some of a brawniest unstable PCs we can buy for high-end artistic prolongation and post work. 3D animators, VFX artists, editors, filmmakers, and print retouchers group to them, as good as people who wish workstation-class opening and peculiarity signified by rigorous testing, ISV certifications, and well-made components.
The ZBook family, in a late-2017 pecking sequence as we write this, includes 5 machines, that fit roughly into 3 categories. You competence call a tip difficulty “performance and expandability”; it contains a uber-powerful and ample ZBook 17 G4 and ZBook 15 G4ZBook Studio, a appurtenance that sports high-end facilities such as Intel Xeon CPUs, Nvidia GPUs, and 10-bit 4K DreamColor displays, nonetheless is surprisingly skinny and light. It’s something of an outlier in a mobile-workstation world.
Finally, we have a “ultraportable” machines in a ZBook family: a ZBook 15u, and a theme of a examination today, a compress ZBook 14u G4 mobile workstation. While these dual machines don’t lift a priciest or fastest processors and graphics chips in a ZBook line, they do container a satisfactory volume of energy into a form cause that’s light in your bag—and on your wallet. Think of them as a some-more modest, budget-minded center belligerent between a initial category and a second.
So who are these specific ultraportable ZBook machines designed for, and since would they wish them? It turns out that there are copiousness of good reasons to get a ZBook 14u (or a 15u, for that matter), even if it’s not the appurtenance to get for thriving amounts of complicated rendering, or for prolonged bouts of high-resolution video editing.
For example, suspect we are an architect, a contractor, or a manager who needs to examination formidable CAD blueprints or 3D models while operative onsite. Or we competence be a artistic executive who refers to clarity models or prolongation designs while on set during coffee breaks. Each use box requires a appurtenance tiny adequate to tuck absolutely underneath your arm, nonetheless strong adequate to open formidable 3D datasets.
Certain students in a mechanism sciences or STEM fields competence find a appurtenance like a ZBook 14u G4 unequivocally useful, too. Suppose we are holding a march in 3D animation and modeling. You competence wish a absolute apparatus to follow along during lectures and demonstrations yet lugging a complicated mobile workstation along with a rest of your stuff. Later, we can continue operative on a ZBook 14u during home, or send files to a building or desktop to do a unequivocally complicated lifting and rendering. (Let’s not forget to mention: Students will find a cost tab of a ZBook 14u G4 attractive, too, contra what many other mobile workstations cost.)
In short, a ZBook 14u G4 has a stipulations imposed by a pricing and earthy dimensions, yet as a workstation for real-world budgets, it hits many of a marks.
The HP ZBook 14u mobile workstation has an appealing design, common to a ZBook line. This smallest ZBook shows off a 14-inch erratic shade within a footprint of 13.3×9.3 inches; a density is 0.87 inch. One word to report it competence be compact…
That’s a good word. Small competence also work, yet somehow that’s not utterly right; a bezels aren’t overly trim, nor is a appurtenance a skinny cut like an ultrabook or a ZBook Studio G4. The best verb we came adult with for a initial clarity of a machines was approachable…
That could work. Compact and receptive (the latter in a clarity that a ZBook 14u G4 doesn’t demeanour like a sober-black business tool) sums it up. The two-tone lid pattern gives it a friendly, semi-consumer appearance.
The keyboard rug reflects that suspicion toward permitted design. The critical things was put in usually a right places and in a right proportion, from a keyboard to a hold pad to a screen. The reduce half has a well-built, stout feel when typing, and a dark-colored, no-flex steel box is appealing and stylish, with a satin-like finish…
In addition, a appurtenance is surprisingly light, as workstation machines come, with a starting weight of usually 3.61 pounds. With a HP ZBook 14u G4, you’ll know you’re carrying around a mechanism with you, yet it will feel distant some-more like a standard light-minded laptop than a mobile workstation. Again, not to get carried away: It’s not wisp-light like some of a willowy 2- or 2.5-pound ultrabooks that set laptop weight records. But for a pumped-up appurtenance with dedicated workstation graphics, being solidly underneath 4 pounds is a feat.
And that’s a indicate of this machine. As light as the ZBook 14u G4 competence be, a specifications set it detached from other 14-inch laptops like a ThinkPad T-series and Dell Latitudes of a world, earning a sequence as a mobile workstation. The thing to bear in mind is that with larger shade sizes come bigger chassis; with a bigger chassis, we get some-more thermal headroom and following from that, a intensity to things brawnier silicon inside. If we wish a strong dedicated workstation graphics chip and a higher-end CPU, you’ll, by necessity, see these in larger-screen laptops; a thermal realities for high-end Intel Core i7 and Xeon CPUs charge some-more space in that to operate. And since bigger screens are a normal in these machines, lift weights can get usually so low.
That’s not to take anything divided from a ZBook 14 G4. But it does explain since a “small-screen” mobile workstation tends to be during slightest 14 inches in shade size, and since 3.6 pounds is “light” in this category of laptop.
While a ZBook 14u G4 doesn’t offer a choice for a 10-bit DreamColor arrangement row (like a higher-end ZBooks do), we were confident with a row in a examination unit. Its arrangement was good and sharp, with clear colors and accurate facsimile of images.
The specific ZBook 14u G4 section we reviewed had a full-HD (1,920×1,080-pixel) row that supports what HP calls UWVA (for “ultra-wide observation angles”). Sure enough, this arrangement looked good when looking during it even from impassioned off-center. If we like, we can opt for a lower-resolution HD (1,366×768-pixel) shade in a bottom indication of this machine. But we wouldn’t. The FHD shade is an glorious choice, and any artistic pro value his or her salt operative in a visible humanities would expected be put off, these days, by a local fortitude of usually 1,366×768.
The 1,366×768 fortitude creates some-more clarity in a 14-inch row if you’ll be adhering particularly to single-window capability work. If we so desire, we can also opt for an FHD hold screen; HP offers a FHD row in hold and non-touch varieties.
Ports and connectors definitely peppers a right corner of this machine. Our tester had a DisplayPort 1.2, useful for joining outmost high-resolution (including DreamColor) displays, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 pier (using a USB Type-C connector), a some-more typical USB 3.0 port, a headphone/microphone combo jack, and an RJ-45 Ethernet connection…
Also over here is an SD label reader and a AC-power jack. The left side of a appurtenance has one USB 3.0 pier (a powered tie that charges inclination with a ZBook powered down) and, to a warn on a 14-inch machine, a good aged VGA output. In addition, there was a security-minded Smart Card reader on this edge, along with a nick for Kensington-style confidence cables…
The compress keyboard on a ZBook 14u G4 feels gentle and plain while typing, and a hold pad underneath it is easily sized. You’ll note a dual sets of left- and right-click buttons above and next a hold pad; one is for a hold pad proper, and a other is for a nub-style indicating hang in a center of a board…
Loyalists to Lenovo’s old-school TrackPoint or a identical pointers on some Dell and HP business machines competence cruise this eraser-head pointer a vital offered point; others competence find it a yawner or even a nuisance, holding a punch out of a G, H, and B keys. Whether we like a pointer or not, though, we have to contend that this keyboard rug gets many things right in terms of pivotal proportions and pivotal placement. Our usually genuine oppose is a long-standing one with HP laptops: namely, those half-size up/down arrow keys bracketed by full-size left/right arrows. We’d be some-more worried about them were this a gaming machine, though.
The acoustics of a HP ZBook 14u G4 are unequivocally good for a appurtenance this size. The audio was grown in conference with Bang Olufsen, and a integrated stereo speakers do a punchy pursuit for a laptop of this size. There is also an integrated 720p Webcam for video conferencing, that delivers what you’d design from a laptop Webcam: mediocre video that gets a pursuit finished for infrequent video chats, not as a permanent record.
see a 8th Generation Core primer.) The pivotal disproportion with a Kaby Lake-R CPUs is that a initial 4 U-series chips are all four-core/eight-thread, and that could make a large disproportion in multi-threaded apps such as video editors. HP hasn’t done any announcements as to either or when a ZBook competence get a Kaby Lake-R CPU, yet it’s something to bear in mind if you’re investing in one of these machines. In a not-too-distant future, a workstation of this size could be accessible with a lot some-more threads and cores.
As for complement memory, a ZBook 14u G4 includes dual SO-DIMM slots, that together support a limit of 32GB of DDR4-2133 SDRAM. The ZBook 15u G4 and a ZBook Studio G4 also support a limit of 32GB of memory, while a large daddy of current-generation ZBooks, a ZBook 17 G4, supports adult to 64GB max (in box we were wondering, and have a money to indulge that).
On a storage side, a ZBook 14u has an M.2 PCI Express container for installing adult to a 1TB PCI Express/NVMe SSD (in HP’s parlance, that’s called an “HP Z Turbo Drive”). A good warn given that this is a 14-inch machine, a ZBook 14u G4 also has a 2.5-inch SATA expostulate bay, that binds adult to a 1TB tough expostulate or an SSD, bringing a intensity sum storage capability of this appurtenance to 2TB. That’s a good bit of storage for such a tiny form factor, and a NVMe SSD screams, with intensely quick intensity tip send rates of 3GB per second for reads and 1.5GB per second for writes. (Our exam section came with usually a NVMe SSD, during 512GB, and no extra tough drive.)
As for a graphics solution, from a bottom-end models to a tip end, a ZBook 14u G4 comes with a dissimilar AMD FirePro W4190M GPU with 2GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory. While that’s not as considerable as a higher-end ZBooks with Nvidia Quadro GPUs (in a mobile-workstation market, a AMD FirePros are generally a “budget”-minded choice), it’s able adequate for many displaying tasks, generally during propagandize or onsite. All of HP’s versions of a ZBook 14u G4 during this essay (we remarkable 5 on HP’s site during this writing) used a FirePro; there was no choice to go Quadro, Radeon, or GeForce.