Introduction, Design Features
At a tip of HP’s ZBook workstation-notebook line are a muscular ZBook 15 and 17, simply dual of a many absolute mobile workstations we can buy. They’ve usually recently been rested to “G4” models that means entrance to “Kaby Lake” and late-model Xeon chips, and a latest workstation-grade graphics, in a informed ZBook mix.
In this review, we’ll be holding a demeanour during a HP ZBook 15 G4, that offers a conspicuous turn of opening and expandability (and startling portability) for those looking for a absolute workstation with a 15.6-inch screen. Workstations are, of course, privately designed for serious, compute-intensive work, and this line in sold has undergone severe MIL-STD 810G contrast to withstand punishing workloads and wear-and-tear over vast durations of time. They’re also ISV-certified (the “ISV” stands for “independent program vendor”) to work with a latest veteran applications. (Sure, we can use them to play a few games, too, if we unequivocally wish to, yet that’s not what these machines are about.)
The ZBooks some-more or reduction define this difficulty of machine, along with Precision machines from Dell and certain ThinkPad P and W models from Lenovo. A appurtenance like a ZBook 15 G4 is a healthy choice for those who do vicious creative-content work on a veteran turn and wish a powerful, expandable appurtenance to keep adult with them. If you’re into video editing, 3D animation, photography, or visible effects for post-production, a ZBook 15 is a appurtenance in your wheelhouse.
HP loaned us a $2,887 pattern of this mobile workstation kitted out with a Xeon processor, 32GB of memory, and all-SSD storage. (Models start during around $1,800 with a Core i5.) Let’s puncture into it.
The HP ZBook 15 G4 is an attractive, well-designed appurtenance that’s all about removing vicious work done. While it’s not as skinny as a 15-inch ZBook Studio (another 15-inch workstation in a ZBook line, with trimmer dimensions), it’s still flattering doggone neat (and, in gripping with a step-up-model status, a lot some-more expandable). It has a handsome, warm, and dim framework assembled from aluminum and magnesium that’s usually bashful of an in. thick. (It’s 23mm, to be precise.)
We generally favourite a particular inlay in a lid of a machine, lending a solemn yet two-tone look…
With a weight of 5.8 pounds, holding a ZBook 15 around with we on arise should not be a problem. Sure, it weighs good some-more than your normal ultrabook, yet deliberation that it is one of a some-more expandable mobile workstations we can buy, that’s a applicable weight to lift on your back.
The ZBook 15 we reviewed had a 15.6-inch full-HD (1,920×1,080-pixel) display, that is also accessible in touch-screen form (if we insist on carrying a hold shade on your workstation). Our exam indication didn’t embody a hold feature. Also accessible is a choice to get a 15.6-inch DreamColor arrangement in Ultra HD, also famous as 4K (3,840×2,160).
If we don’t know about DreamColor, it is HP’s possess line of displays designed for those who work with color-critical applications such as tone grading and a visible arts. HP grown DreamColor in team-work with heading visible effects and animation studios such as DreamWorks, and in 2015 even perceived an Academy Award for building it. With DreamColor, we get a 10-bit color-calibrated arrangement that looks overwhelming from roughly any angle.
If we were formulation to get a ZBook 15’s bigger sibling, a ZBook 17 G4, with a incomparable 17.3-inch screen, a DreamColor arrangement would be a good thing to get built into a computer. On a ZBook 15, however, with a smaller 15.6-inch screen, it’s rather of a reduction constrained option, yet it is still an appealing one for artistic professionals. While carrying a DreamColor arrangement built into a mechanism is nice, there is another approach to get a advantages of DreamColor into your workflow and use it to incomparable effect.
At a 15.6-inch shade size, it would make some-more clarity for color-minded pros to get a ZBook 15 with a 1080p/FHD display, and subsequently get an external DreamColor display, such as a HP Z24x or a conspicuous HP Z31x. You would be means to connect a row to a ZBook 15 G4 around a laptop’s Thunderbolt 3 connection. This way, we get a full advantage of DreamColor when we need it, and still have a decent FHD shade to take along with you. Just make certain that we get a ultra-wide observation angle (UWVA) row on a 1080p shade and not a customary observation angle (SVA) variety, given it creates a disproportion in picture peculiarity when observation a shade from impassioned off-center angles. In a tester model, we perceived a UWVA 1080p panel.
The left side of a ZBook 15 G4 is home to a USB 3.0 pier (which is also a device-charging port), an SD label slot, an RJ-45 Ethernet jack, a VGA output, and a security-cable locking notch…
On a right side of a chassis, you’ll find dual Thunderbolt 3 connectors, piggybacking over USB Type-C. Also on this corner is a SmartCard reader, a mic in/headphone out combo jack, dual some-more USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI output, and a connector for a energy brick…
Thunderbolt 3 is, of course, a vicious tie for those who work with vast amounts of data, and a essential underline for a workstation. It was grown to support, simultaneously, the fastest single-port information transfers probable and the many video bandwidth accessible on a singular cable, while also provision power. The thought is one pier that probably does it all.
With Thunderbolt 3’s impossibly quick limit intensity data-transfer rate of 40Gbps (eight times faster than USB 3.0, and twice as quick as Thunderbolt 2), we can, for example, bond an outmost graphics enclosing containing a dedicated graphics label to boost your GPU digest speed, supplement a vast array of tough drives for vast video-editing projects, bond mixed high-resolution monitors (such as a DreamColor display), or bond to a agreeable advancing station, such as a HP ZBook Dock.
The ZBook 15’s backlit keyboard is spill-resistant and includes a numeric keypad, as good as an old-school indicating stick…
The keyboard, as a whole, feels stout underneath your fingers and is gentle to form on.
Under a keyboard is a multi-gesture hold pad with 3 buttons on a tip (for a indicating stick) and on a bottom (for a hold pad; left, middle, and right). The 3 buttons are unusual, contra a common dual on many consumer laptops. Having 3 is critical in 3D programs such as Cinema 4D and Maya. There’s also a fingerprint reader underneath a keyboard.
The audio resolution on a ZBook 17 is designed by Bang Olufsen, with dual integrated stereo speakers on a front of a machine. In a trials, they delivered considerable sound with decent drum response, generally for a mobile machine. There is also a 720p integrated Webcam.
The processor in a examination section we tested was a four-core Xeon E3-1505M v6 CPU with a bottom magnitude of 3GHz, a limit Turbo Boost magnitude of 4GHz, and an 8MB cache. This is a processor that’s able of weathering heavy-duty challenges, whatever you’re operative on, including perfectionist applications as sundry as Adobe Premiere, BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve, Maxon Cinema 4D, Autodesk Maya, and Avid ProTools. The CPU choices for a ZBook 15 G4 embody 7th Generation Intel Core or Xeon processors; we can ramp down from Xeon. Bumping a CPU down from a Xeon we had in a tester section to a Core i5-7300HQ knocked $310 off a price.
On a graphics front, a ZBook 15 G4 we tested enclosed an Nvidia Quadro M2200, a mobile graphics chip with 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory and 1,024 CUDA parallel-processing cores. This Quadro is designed to keep adult with heavy-duty graphics-bashing tasks such as video modifying or 3D displaying and animation. It’s also a decent graphics label for 3D animators who wish to start implementing GPU digest into their workflow regulating programs such as Octane Render and Redshift. Other GPU options accessible on a ZBook 15 embody a Nvidia Quadro M1200 ($135 less) and entry-level Quadro M620 ($225 less), as good as a AMD Radeon Pro WX 4150 ($155 less). It’s also probable to get a appurtenance with usually integrated graphics (a $325 discount), yet we can’t consider of too many scenarios where that would fit.
The ZBook 15 supports from 8GB to 64GB of customary or ECC memory during a newer and faster speeds of 2,400MHz. (Our section had 32GB of ECC, that we can get in dual- or quad-module configurations.) At a high end, that’s a lot of memory for a mobile computer, and when we are concerned in media origination or systematic analysis, a some-more memory we have, a improved off we are. To a aged saw “You can never be too abounding or too thin,” we would be happy to add, “…or have too most RAM.”
Unusual for a laptop of any size, a HP ZBook 15 has two M.2 PCI Express slots, into that we can implement high-speed NVMe SSDs (or “Z Turbo Drives,” as HP dubs them). These are accessible in 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB capacities. NVMe plain state drives are blazingly fast—several times faster than SATA SSDs, and a lot some-more so than SATA tough drives—and are generally useful for things like high-resolution video editing. The ZBook 15 we tested came with a singular 512GB NVMe Z Turbo Drive, that had Windows 10 Pro 64 commissioned aboard. With a SSD’s help, a appurtenance booted adult what seemed like instantaneously, in a matter of a few seconds. Gone are a bad aged days when watchful for your mechanism to foot was like watchful for a pot of H2O to boil…a large pot. Here, we don’t even have time to fetch coffee from a carafe.
In further to a NVMe SSD, a ZBook 15 also has an additional 2.5-inch bay, into that we can implement a SATA SSD or a tough drive. You’ll have to mislay some screws from a bottom row to get there…
This brings a limit intensity storage in a ZBook 15 to as most as 6TB, if we were to opt for a span of 1TB M.2 SSDs and implement a 4TB 2.5-inch tough expostulate yourself. RAID-configuration support on a M.2 SSDs is also available, if we wish to go that route. Our exam section came with usually a 512GB SSD. Note that HP offers, for a 2.5-inch bay, usually SSD options, and tough drives adult to 1TB. If we wish to implement a tough expostulate of a incomparable capacity, you’ll have to do it yourself.
The ZBook 15 G4 comes customary with a 90-watt-hour polymer battery that HP claims is targeted for adult to 14 hours of battery life. That should be some-more than adequate to get we by a day’s work. (Real-world run time varies, of course, with what kind of work we are doing.) The battery also supports HP’s Fast Charge function, that enables a battery get adult to a 50 percent turn in usually 30 minutes. The enclosed 150-watt Slim Smart AC adapter, of course, can be used to recharge a battery or energy a section by an opening as we work. We’ll get into a battery life as we tested it on a subsequent page.
Every HP workstation ships with HP’s Remote Graphics Software (RGS), that lets we effectively work a ZBook from a remote plcae regulating another workstation, a consumer PC, a Mac, or even usually a tablet. Also commissioned onto a appurtenance is HP’s Performance Advisor, a useful square of program that gives we low discernment and research into a several components that make adult your machine.
Our indication also came with Windows 10 Pro installed, that is a default choice on a ZBook 15 G4 line. Going with a hillside to Windows 10 Home reduces a cost by $50.