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HP ZBook 14u G4 review

HP ZBook 14u G4 assessment

Cell workstations are curious machines. They’re not as enticing as the standard shopper or business-class laptop computer. They’re not often as skinny or as gentle, both, however there are exceptions. Our HP ZBook 14u G4 assessment appears directly such rarity.

Our assessment unit got here outfitted with a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7600U CPU, 16GB of DDR4-2133 RAM, a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and an AMD FirePro W4190M GPU, all for the workstation-like worth of $2,890 (at the moment on sale for $2,140). The machine could be outfitted with as much as 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for probably the most power-hungry customers, or you may minimize some price by dropping all the way down to a Core i5 processor. A 4K display screen can also be out there, although ours got here with a 1080p show.

The HP ZBook 14u places the “cell” into cell workstation, however did HP make too many compromises to suit workstation energy right into a smaller chassis? Learn on to seek out out.

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Uninspired however rugged design is extra comforting than thrilling

Like all of HP’s cell workstations, the ZBook 14u is engineered to fulfill and cross 14 exams dictated by the MIL-STD-810g normal. Whereas testing and rugged design doesn’t promise indestructability, it does imply that the machine is more likely to take the abuse a typical workplace can dish out. Should you want a machine that’s sturdy, and can final in difficult environments, then HP has engineered the ZBook 14u to conform.

The ZBook 14u gained’t be successful any awards for its attractiveness, nonetheless. It’s a black gap of a clamshell pocket book, and will sit on a desk in the midst of an workplace and by no means catch a single look. That’s to not say it appears unhealthy – fairly, it merely has zero persona.

Impressions enhance whenever you take the ZBook 14u in your fingers. The lid contains a rubberized floor round its edge, which makes the pocket book nice to hold round.

The ZBook 14u is engineered to fulfill and cross 14 exams dictated by the MIL-STD-810g normal.

It additionally feels stable, regardless of its reliance on plastic. Dealing with it doesn’t trigger any creaks or groans, and the hinge opens and closes with one hand, which generates confidence in its longevity.

The ZBook 14u is skinny at zero.87 inches, and weighs three.61 kilos. Although it’s not the lightest pocket book, it’s moderately svelte for a 14-inch laptop computer, and weighs lower than the Razer Blade or Apple MacBook Professional 15.  Most workstation laptops tip the scales at 5 – 6 kilos.

Connectivity is greater than satisfactory

HP’s ZBook 14u has a VGA port, USB three.zero Kind-A port, and smartcard reader on the left facet. On the suitable, you’ll discover a USB three.1 Kind-C port, DisplayPort 1.2, one other USB three.zero Kind-A port, gigabit Ethernet port, slide docking connection, and SIM module slot. Lastly, an SD card reader is hidden beneath the suitable flank, and energy is offered by a proprietary connector.

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Wi-fi connectivity is determined by the configuration, and whether or not non-compulsory vPro assist is chosen. All configuations embody Intel dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth four.2. NFC and WWAN connectivity are non-compulsory.

A great, however not nice, keyboard

The ZBook 14u sports activities a full-size keyboard with a largely normal format, together with correctly sized shift and enter keys, and usable arrow keys. HP put the house, web page up, web page down, and finish keys alongside the suitable facet, which is okay when you get used to it.

The ZBook 14u doesn’t have the quickest CPU and GPU, however its storage definitely gained’t gradual you down.

The one uncommon keys are the Wi-Fi and mute toggles, discovered above the keyboard on the suitable. It’s odd to see them on their very own, however they made Wi-Fi and mute standing straightforward to gauge at a look.

How does the keyboard really feel? Okay. Key journey and tactile suggestions have been good, however the keys have been only a bit stiff, and the bottoming motion was a contact abrupt. It’s not sufficient to make typing uncomfortable, however we weren’t impressed with the general really feel. The keyboard backlight has solely two brightness ranges, which is lower than most rivals.

The touchpad is a bit smaller than standard, as a result of twin set of buttons on the highest and the underside. These buttons are responsive and quiet, and there are two pairs to accommodate the ThinkPad-like nubbin nestled between the G, H, and B keys. The touchpad is a Microsoft Precision mannequin, with a floor that’s simply slick sufficient with out being imprecise and that gives dependable multitouch gesture assist.

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Home windows Hey password-less login is offered by an old-school fingerprint scanner that’s swipe-based fairly than counting on pure contact. It’s tougher to make use of than different, extra trendy sensors, although it does work after just a few swipes.

The uninspiring show is a little bit of a disappointment

The HP ZBook 14u G4 has many show choices, together with contact, non-touch, Full HD (1,920 x 1,080), and 4K UHD (three,840 x 2,160) resolutions. Our assessment unit was outfitted with a non-touch Full HD show.

After we put our colorimeter to work, we discovered the ZBook 14u’s show to be common throughout a broad vary of standards. Brightness was solely reasonable at 277 nits, whereas we wish to see even matte shows are available in at greater than 300 nits. Colour gamut was once more common at 71 % of AdobeRGB, and 93 % of sRGB. Gamma was a bit darkish at 2.four, the place 2.2 is ideal.

Common shade error was excellent at 1.12 (1.zero or much less is indistinguishable to the human eye), and distinction was simply okay at 730:1 at full brightness. Total, these are good scores which can be only a bit decrease throughout the board than another cell workstations that we’ve reviewed such because the Dell Precision 5520. Notice that the HP ZBook Studio G4’s DreamColor show had significantly better shade assist, and could be a more sensible choice for anybody professionally working with pictures and video.

In day-to-day use, we discovered the show simply vivid sufficient to be comfy in a typical workplace setting. Picture high quality, although, had it flaws. Movies have been a bit darker than we’d like, whereas colours have been true to life and never over-saturated. Should you’re primarily doing productiveness work, then the show will seemingly be completely acceptable. For professionals who want superior shade assist and accuracy, nonetheless the show falls brief.

Surprisingly respectable sound high quality

The HP ZBook 14u has two audio system positioned beneath the keyboard deck, instantly beneath the show. Quantity is powerful sufficient to fill a small workplace, and the audio system can change into fairly loud earlier than distortion units in. Audio is powerful sufficient to share the occasional music video, with a shocking quantity of bass, and a transparent midrange. You gained’t need to hand over your headphones, however you additionally gained’t end up reaching for them when watching a fast clip on YouTube.

On the low-end of the cell workstation efficiency scale

The HP ZBook 14u is supplied with seventh-generation Intel dual-core processors — within the case of our assessment unit, a Core i7-7600U. It’s a quick chip, but it surely pales when in comparison with bigger cell workstations working quad-core CPUs, notably these with high-end workstation-class processors.

Unsurprisingly, the ZBook 14u benchmarked proper in keeping with our expectations. In Geekbench four’s single-core and multi-core exams, the ZBook 14u scored four,816 and 9,452, respectively.

That’s the identical as equally outfitted machines, and actually its single-core rating is increased than most machines in our comparability group. Solely the way more highly effective Xeon E3-1535 v6 CPU within the ZBook Studio G4 was sooner. Within the multi-core take a look at, nonetheless, the quad-core processors have been all considerably sooner than the ZBook 14u.

The ZBook 14u’s show falls brief for professionals who want superior shade assist and accuracy.

In our real-world Handbrake take a look at, which encodes a 420GB video file to H.265, the ZBook 14u took a fast-for-its-class 946 seconds to complete its encoding run. In comparison with the HP EliteBook x360 1030 G2, which completed in 1,019 seconds with the identical Core i7-7600U processor, that’s a terrific rating. But when in comparison with the 465 seconds the ZBook Studio G4 wanted to churn by way of the video, the ZBook 14u is not any pace demon.

Finally, processor efficiency adopted the identical sample we’ve seen all through this assessment. The HP ZBook 14u is supposed to be straightforward to hold round in comparison with bigger and heavier cell workstations, but it surely’s a machine you’ll need to reserve for lesser workloads.

Extremely quick storage speeds are a welcome departure

HP has outfitted the ZBook 14u with one of many quickest PCIe SSDs round, the Samsung SM961. It’s an actual scorcher, which often guarantees glorious efficiency.

It’s no shock the ZBook 14u scored extraordinarily effectively within the CrystalDiskMark take a look at. With a learn rating of two,950 megabits per second (Mb/s), and a write rating of 1,650 Mb/s, you gained’t discover many notebooks with sooner storage. The SSD within the ZBook Studio G4, for instance, scored 1,349 Mb/s and 1,285 Mb/s, and the Dell Precision 5520 cell workstation outfitted with the identical quick Samsung SSD scored an equal 2,931 Mb/s and 1,679 Mb/s.

Whereas in some unspecified time in the future quick SSDs are indistinguishable from each other in typical use, there’s no arguing with sheer pace in relation to working with massive recordsdata. The ZBook 14u won’t be the quickest cell workstation round in relation to processor and graphics efficiency, however its storage gained’t gradual you down.

Rock-solid for skilled functions, but it surely’s actually not for gaming

The HP ZBook 14u is supplied with an AMD FirePro W4190M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM. That GPU is a member of AMD’s skilled line, which is licensed to supply rock-solid reliability in skilled functions. As we talked about earlier on this assessment, the ZBook 14u is targeted on offering a extremely cell workstation expertise, fairly than the quickest.

In 3DMark, the GPU scores nearer to high-end built-in graphics like Intel’s Iris Plus than it does to low-end discrete graphics just like the Nvidia GeForce MX150. Within the 3DMark Hearth Strike take a look at, for instance, the FirePro W4910M scored 1,703, which is near the 1,578 scored by the Iris Plus Graphics 640 GPU within the Microsoft Floor Professional. Nvidia’s MX150 scored three,165, virtually twice as quick, and the Nvidia Quadro M1200 skilled GPU within the HP ZBook Studio G4 scored three,911.

Meaning whereas the ZBook 14u goes to supply a dependable expertise in skilled functions, it’s not going to be a prime performer.

HP ZBook 14u G4 In contrast To

For kicks, we ran Civilization VI’s built-in benchmark on medium and extremely element settings. The ZBook 14u scored 18 frames per second (FPS) and eight FPS, respectively. Merely put, you’ll need to stick with informal video games to loosen up, and depart the hardcore gaming to a different pocket book.

Portability

At zero.87 inches thick and three.61 kilos, the ZBook 14u isn’t skinny and light-weight by regular pocket book requirements, however makes for a straightforward cell workstation to stay right into a backpack and carry. Its rugged design means that you may take it nearly wherever you’re more likely to go, and really feel assured it’s going to take your abuse, and carry on working. The query is, simply how lengthy will its 51 watt-hour battery preserve you working?

Based on our testing, the reply is probably going lengthy sufficient, relying on the duty. Should you push the machine — as does our Basemark take a look at, which runs the machine by way of a collection of internet pages that push the CPU and GPU — then you definately’ll see round two and three-quarter hours of battery life. That’s aggressive with the bigger and extra highly effective HP ZBook Studio G4, however lower than the Dell Precision 5520, and considerably lower than the HP EliteBook x360 G2.

Alternatively, if you happen to’re watching video or browsing the net, then you definately’ll be working for significantly longer. In our take a look at that repeats a locally-stored “Avengers” trailer till the battery offers out, the ZBook 14u lasted for a stable ten hours and 48 minutes. The HP ZBook 14u additionally managed to run our internet searching take a look at, which loops by way of a collection of standard internet pages, for nearly seven and a half hours. These outcomes are extra aggressive with different cell workstations.

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HP has carried out its Quick Cost know-how within the ZBook 14u G4, which means you may cost from zero to 50 % battery capability in 30 minutes (however for security causes, not zero to 100 % in an hour). That helps make the machine a extra viable cell workstation, if you happen to can periodically juice up.

Software program

HP loaded our assessment unit with its standard business software program, akin to its Consumer Safety suite and Touchpoint Supervisor utility. That goes together with the same old HP assist utilities. Examples of superior capabilities embody HP’s SureStart Gen3, which supplies BIOS-level safety towards intrusion with an offline BIOS chip that may’t be accessed externally, and checks the machine at boot and through runtime for any unauthorized adjustments.

All of that is sensible for anybody working in a business surroundings however is overkill for many different customers. None of it’s notably obtrusive, nonetheless, which means that it’s there if you happen to want it however gained’t get in your method in any other case.

Guarantee data

The HP ZBook 14u G4 is roofed by a beneficiant three-year elements and labor guarantee. That’s par for the course with cell workstations and significantly better than you’ll get along with your typical shopper pocket book.

Our Take

HP has made a machine that’s an ideal match for a definite class of customers — those that want one thing that’s skinny and light-weight, but additionally need workstation-grade reliability and sturdiness. For these folks, the ZBook 14u G4 is a superb alternative.

Is there a greater various?

The ZBook 14u G4 stands out as being probably the most cell choice within the cell workstation market. To our data, there isn’t one other machine with a 14-inch show and in such a skinny and light-weight chassis. The ZBook 14u G4 stands out in case your important concern is portability.

Should you’re keen to hold round a heftier machine, nonetheless, there are higher alternate options. HP’s personal ZBook Studio G4 is one instance. It affords considerably increased efficiency for skilled functions, although you’ll have to spend round $three,500 to select it up.

The Dell Precision 5520 is one other nice machine that’s bigger and extra highly effective. The identical theme applies right here. It’s a greater choice if measurement and weight aren’t a significant concern.

How lengthy will it final?

The HP ZBook 14u G4 has a contemporary CPU and knowledgeable GPU that’s certain to see stable long-term assist. It’s additionally well-stocked with connectivity choices, together with a forward-looking USB Kind-C port which means you may connect with tomorrow’s peripherals. Lastly, the construct high quality is superior — the machine is constructed to final.

Do you have to purchase it?

Provided that you want absolutely the most cell workstation that also sports activities a GPU offering licensed efficiency and reliability in skilled functions. That’s an enormous caveat, nonetheless. Should you want a extra highly effective workstation, or an excellent thinner and lighter normal productiveness machine, then you definately’ll need to take into account different choices first.

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