Hp zbook g2 review

Hp zbook g2 review DEFAULT
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NEW YORK -- It's hard to be productive when you're chained to your desk. HP reckons it has a safe middle-ground, by combining mobility and a low cost for businesses while still providing workstation-class performance.

Announced at this year's CES show in Las Vegas, HP's ZBook 15u G2 is a Windows-based ultrabook that balances portability with performance, while retaining a simple design and customizability based on a person's needs.

HP has pegged these notebooks for users of the heavier professional apps: graphic design, engineering, and product development.

The ZBook 15u G2 is not a consumer-oriented ultrabook, nor should it be. It stumbles on high-end games, but it's wasted in the entry-level media and entertainment category.

The ultrabook has that mid-range sweet spot often missed in the enterprise. It's not as glamorous as some of its rival devices on the market. It may be thicker and at the heavier end of the ultrabook spectrum. But it's capable of running high-performance applications without breaking a sweat (or, in computer terms, running a hot fan.)

CPU

Intel Core i7-5500U (dual-core)

GraphicsAMD FirePro M4170
Storage 256GB solid-state Z-Turbo drive
Memory 16GB 1600 MHz (2 x 8GB)
Display 15.6-inch LCD (1,920 x 1,080 resolution)
Networking802.11 ac wireless networking; Bluetooth 4.0
Operating system

Windows 8.1 Pro Update 64)
(can be downgraded to Windows 7 Professional)

Price (at publication)

$1,549.00 upwards

The ZBook 15u G2 is thinner, lighter, and cheaper -- three important marked improvements on its sibling rival, the 15 G2. But it's no MacBook Air, nor is it an Acer Aspire S7, or a Lenovo ThinkPad Helix., or an HP Spectre 13 -- none of which need a "u" in the name to tell you they're ultrabooks (or some variant thereof).

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Compared to its bulkier sibling, the HP ZBook 15 G2, it's almost half the thickness and about one-third lighter, starting at just 4.2 pounds. It's also cheaper than its predecessor. (The model we tested was the mid-tier model landing in at around $1,549.)

Granted the earlier model wasn't exactly a "toss in a bag" notebook. Where it could probably leave a hole in the ground if dropped, the ZBook 15u G2 fits snugly in a large satchel bag. But make no mistake its large 15.6-inch display adds to the device's noticeable heft. (You can thank HP's decision to bump out the outdated and near-defunct optical drive, it still packs in a great deal of power.)

Hands-on with the new HP ZBook 15u G2 ultrabook

The 15.6-inch non-touch LED is acceptably so-so, but it's hardly revolutionary, and borderline disappointing. It lands in a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, a fully-fledged 1080p high-resolution screen. It's noticeably better than a MacBook Air's display, but it's nowhere near as sharp and clear as a Retina display, which has dark contrasts and deep color depth. It's not a bad screen, but if it's got graphic design in mind, those extra pixels count. There is a perk: the display is anti-glare display the screen easy to read in bright environments.

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Its innards are fairly impressive. The laptop lands with Intel's latest Broadwell processors, which require far less power than the Haswell range. The low-end model comes with 8GB of RAM, while the mid-tier and upper-tier models come with up to 16GB of RAM.

The ZBook 15u G2 comes Windows 8.1, but you can downgrade to Windows 7 Professional for those who need to run legacy apps. The new graphics engine replaced Nvidia with an AMD FirePro M4170 graphics card. (The ZBook 15 G2 still comes with a range of AMD and Nvidia graphics cards).

But its speed and performance prowess can mostly be attributed to the solid-state disk, which offers 256GB of flash storage. The drive offers a significant performance boost over ordinary hard drives (the top-tier model comes with a traditional 500GB drive). HP calls is the Z Turbo Drive. The operating system is markedly faster compared to similar ultrabooks.

The slimmed-down notebook also comes with three USB 3.0 devices, one DisplayPort slot, an Ethernet connection, and a VGA output for legacy displays and projectors, and a smart card reader.

Embedded in the bezel around the edge of the screen is a 720p-resolution webcam for video-calling on select models. There's also a SIM card tray under the rear-cover for mobile broadband on the go.

HP's also included a swipe-over fingerprint sensor (which activates with HP's built-in security software) that's positioned to the right-hand side of the trackpad. The ultrabook also comes with a trusted platform module, which Windows will detect and offer additional security features, like BitLocker full-disk encryption.

The ZBook 15u G2's battery life, like its predecessor, isn't great, but there has been an improvement. In mid-to-heavy use on a medium display brightness setting, the battery lasted just over six hours. (At the time of writing, HP was still finalizing the battery benchmarks).

Conclusion: A drab design, but a good effort

It's a good performing Windows-based laptop, but it lacks aesthetic appeal. To call this an ultrabook (at least compared to its rivals on the market) might be a push. But for the price you pay, it's a solid entry-level workstation on-the-go.

Bottom line? There are probably better devices out there for a cheaper cost and better performance. But you'll struggle to find one for the power and its size.

Sours: https://www.zdnet.com/product/hp-zbook-15u-g2/

HP ZBook 15 G2 Review

Pros

  • Powerful processor
  • Discrete workstation graphics
  • Plenty of ports and interior access
  • Customisable specification

Cons

  • Irritating ergonomic niggles
  • Bland looks
  • High price
  • Inconsistent screen quality

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £2886.00
  • 15.6-inch 3,200 x 1,800 screen
  • 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-4910MQ processor
  • Nvidia Quadro K2100M graphics
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
  • Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • SDXC, ExpressCard and Smart Card slots
  • Manufacturer: HP

What is the HP ZBook 15 G2?

Ultrabooks are fine for writing and web browsing, but they’re not suited to serious work. That’s where workstations come in – and HP’s latest ZBook aims to shake up the market with some serious power.

Its Core i7-4910MQ processor is the beefiest laptop chip we’ve seen recently, and it’s paired with Nvidia Quadro graphics – a part specifically designed for the rigours of work.

HP ZBook 15 G2: Design & Build Quality

The ZBook is sturdy and well-built, but it’s no looker. Exposed screws around the rear hint at the workmanlike design, and the interior is coated with plain, dark-grey metal. The lid is bordered with more mundanity and dominated by brushed metal, and the words “Hewlett Packard” are etched along the hinge.

It’s not bad looking, but even workstations are upping their game when it comes to design. The Dell Precision M3800 shares its metal-ringed, matte-black body with the gorgeous XPS 15, and Dell’s Precision M6800 is larger but stands out with a rock-solid red design. Even the cheaper Toshiba Satellite P50T-B-10K is finished with aluminium.

SEE ALSO: Best Laptops, Ultrabooks and Hybrids

HP ZBook 15 G2

The ZBook isn’t slim or light, either: it tips the scales at 2.8kg, and it’s 40mm thick. That’s almost a kilo lighter than the mighty Dell M6800, but far bigger than other rivals. The Dell M3800 is 17mm thick and weighs less than 2kg, with the Toshiba falling in between the Dell and the HP.

It’s strong, at least. There’s virtually no give in the base or around the keyboard and trackpad, and the screen is stronger than most laptop panels. It’s sturdier than the Toshiba and on a par with the Dell M3800, but the Dell M6800 – which is heavier and has MIL-STD-810G testing – is tougher still.

HP hasn’t built a slim or light laptop but at least it’s made a practical portable. Four USB 3.0 ports are scattered around the exterior, there’s a Blu-ray drive and a Thunderbolt port – handy for connecting to Apple-friendly peripherals. The SDXC card slot is accompanied by ExpressCard/54 and Secure Digital slots, and there are DisplayPort and D-SUB outputs. It’s a better port selection than any rival, and it doesn’t stop there – on the base there’s a connection for a docking station, and up top there’s a fingerprint reader.

HP ZBook 15 G2

The inside is no less accommodating. There’s Gigabit Ethernet and dual-band 802.11ac wireless, and good internal access. The base panel slides off with the removal of only one screw, and it gives access to both memory slots, a spare 2.5in drive bay and a vacant M.2 socket that accepts 42mm drives. The occupied M.2 and wireless slots are already accessible, and the battery is removable.

HP ZBook 15 G2: Screen & Sound Quality

HP has opted for a super-high 3,200 x 1,800 resolution for the ZBook. It’s a double-edged sword: it means there’s ample desktop real-estate for work, and images and text are pin-sharp as long as they’re properly supported.

Sadly, proper support is still tricky for many Windows applications. Third-party software often just can’t cope with the extra pixels; some tools make text too small, other applications blow page furniture up so it looks blurred, and others just get confused entirely and suffer from overlapping features and other bugs.

It’s a mixed bag on Windows, too. Our sample has Windows 7 on-board, and it’s just not in tune with high-resolution screens: by default its 125% scaling is still too small for our liking, and its top option – 150% scaling – still requires a fair bit of squinting. Windows 8.1 copes with far more aplomb, but both versions of the OS will be hampered if third-party tools you require aren’t going to cope.

SEE ALSO: This Year’s Best Headphones
HP ZBook 15 G2

It’s a similar approach taken by Dell in its M3800 and Toshiba in its Satellite P50T-B-10K, which are both available with 4K screens.

The screen delivered mixed quality. The brightness level of 248 nits is fine, especially when combined with the matte screen and the contrast ratio of 1,127:1 – the latter figure is on par with anything else in this category, and it means the HP’s screen has the brightness and range to work under harsh office lights.

The Delta E of 3.73 beats the Dell M3800, but other rivals have superior colour accuracy. The Precision M6800 and Toshiba had stonking colour accuracy figures of 1.26 and 1.74. The HP’s colour temperature of 7,721K is colder than both of those machines.

The HP’s matte screen, good contrast and reasonable colour accuracy mean it’s suitable for most types of work, but the more accurate colours available elsewhere mean those laptops are better bets for demanding image work.

The speakers have reasonable volume, but that’s their only impressive attribute. There’s a bit of bass, but it’s hampered by the tinny high-end. They’re passable for audio, but media laptops have far better kit.

How we test laptops

Unlike other sites, we test every laptop we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Used as our main laptop for the review period

Tested for at least a week

Used consistent benchmarks for fair comparisons with other laptops

Reviewed using respected industry benchmarks and real world use

Sours: https://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/hp-zbook-15
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HP ZBook 15 G2 Workstation Long-Term Review

HP's ZBook 15 G2 has been in our long-term test for about 6 weeks now. The review sample (almost) unexceptionally runs like a Swiss watch and convinces with its superb performance and convenient configuration details, such as the good IPS screen, great keyboard, decent touchpad, and the screw-less base plate perfect for tinkering and tweaking.

The USB ports are still a bit awkward; cables, adapters and flash drives have to be inserted with a bit of force. Then again, they fit tight and the slightest movements do not interrupt the connection right away.

The partly unfavorable interface positioning is intuitively bypassed after a while, and it almost becomes a kind of ritual where to plug in which extension routinely. However, it does not look good when using peripherals with a USB-Y cable. We sometimes need an external DVD drive since our ZBook 15 G2 does not have an optical drive. They usually have a Y-cable for power consumption reasons, so to provide enough energy for the start-up phase. However, using these devices without an extension cord is not possible because the USB ports in the ZBook 15 G2 are far apart.

An exception: We are still awed about the overall quiet noise-scape during low load. No hectic or roaring fans, annoyingly high-pitched squealing noises or cracking casing parts disturb here. However, we once had to discover that such faults are quite possible for approximately 1 - 2 hours before quitting time; the casing's fan slightly perturbed us with a subtle grinding noise. It is sometimes really helpful to keep calm and to refrain from hasty actions in these situations. We were rewarded with an impeccably working ZBook the next morning, which little helpful pixies apparently repaired over night. This "fault" did not turn up again since then.

Thus, we can confidently state in our first, preliminary sum-up: No special occurrences!

The full review about this HP ZBook 15 G2 can be found here.

Sours: https://www.notebookcheck.net/HP-ZBook-15-G2-Workstation-Long-Term-Review.138756.0.html

The best mobile workstations on the market combine incredible graphics rendering with top-notch processing speed and superior displays. Unfortunately, they also cost and weigh twice as much as most traditional consumer laptops. In other words: you're paying top dollar for what's under the hood and not for your ability to easily transport the device from location to location.

The mobile workstation market is led by machines like the Lenovo ThinkPad W540 ($2,573, £1,606, AU$2,946), a 4.4 pound, 15.6-inch, 2880x1620 (3K) resolution laptop with a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-4800MQ processor and a Nvidia Quadro K2100M graphics card.

Also at the top of the food chain is the Dell Precision M3800 ($1699, £1299, AU$2138), a 15.6-inch powerhouse that was recently updated to include a 4K monitor, an additional terabyte of data, Thunderbolt 2.0 docking and the option of installing Ubuntu. Like the previous model, the 4.4 pound Precision M3800 comes fully-loaded with NVIDIA Quadro K1100M graphics and an Intel Haswell Core i7 processor.

If you're looking for something brawnier and more powerful, Dell also has the Precision M6800 ($3,490, £2,075, AU$3,750), which will cost significantly more, and crack your back at a gigantic 8.8 pounds.

Not to be outdone by its competitors, HP has updated its ZBook 17 mobile workstation ($1900, £1250, AU$2400), a ferocious laptop built to withstand any task you throw its way.

Design

This 17.3-inch mobile workstation is built with a three-spindle wedge design that shifts most of its hefty 7.42 pound weight toward its thick backside (1.57 inches). The ZBook features a dark grey plastic chassis that is surrounded by aluminum that covers the top of the display and houses the keyboard.

The first things you'll notice as you sit down to work at the HP ZBook 17 G2 is its chiclet-style keyboard, left-set touchpad and three point buttons. The keyboard includes a number pad for easier data entry, which should please those of you in financial services.

However, the left-set touchpad always takes some getting used to after working on traditional centered devices, and three point buttons are a horrible idea that I can't ever seem to get used to. For example: the middle button closes tabs in Internet Explorer. So any time you accidentally click the second button, instead of the traditional left click or right click buttons, your current internet tab goes bye-bye. And when you're not closing out of your tab, you're simply clicking and clicking without any response, which is annoying. I realize this middle button can be disabled, but I don't want to create a dead area on my already-extensive keyboard.

The HP ZBook 17 G2 only goes up to Quad Hd resolution, so if you're looking for maximum pixel power, don't look here. However, if you're more concerned with what happens on the screen than how it looks, keep reading.

Prices - HP ZBook 17 G2:▼

Current page: Introduction and design

Next PageSpecs and performance
Sours: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/pc-mac/laptops-portable-pcs/laptops-and-netbooks/hp-zbook-17-g2-1283903/review

Zbook g2 review hp

HP promises portable power in its mobile workhorse, the ZBook 15u G2. This notebook features an Intel Core i7 processor, a multitude of ports and a durable design built to withstand tough conditions. Starting at $1,199 ($1,999 as reviewed), the ZBook 15u G2 is a solid work companion, but its graphics performance could be stronger.

Design

The HP ZBook 15u G2 sports a suit in three shades of gray, a professional design that looks understatedly sleek and demure - the strong, silent type. The shiny HP logo in the center of the lid is the darkest, while the area surrounding it is a slightly lighter shade of brushed aluminum. It's bordered by another layer of aluminum whose smooth finish matches the rest of the notebook's magnesium-reinforced body.

The ZBook 15u isn't as bulky as its competition. At 4.23 pounds and measuring 14.78 x 9.98 x 0.84 inches, it's slightly lighter than the MSI WS60 (4.36 pounds, 15 x 10.5 x 0.78 inches) and the Lenovo W550s (5.47 pounds, 15 x 10.2 x 0.92 inches).

Durability and Security

Don't let its pressed-suit looks fool you - the ZBook 15u is a tough workstation. It passed MIL-Spec 810G testing, so it's protected against drops from up to 3 feet, altitudes up to 15,000 feet, as well as dust and shocks. It can also withstand extreme temperatures, performing regularly in minus-60 degree weather as well as in a boiling 160 degrees.

Even if your work doesn't take you into extreme environments, its spill-resistant keyboard deck will protect you from the occasional, panic-inducing coffee mishaps.

MORE: Best Business Laptops

To add another level of security, HP gives you the option to add a fingerprint sensor and a Smart Card reader. Other security options include TPM 1.2 and HP Sure Start, which checks the BIOS at startup, and will automatically self-heal if it detects any corrupted files.

Keyboard and Trackpad

The full keyboard on the HP ZBook is comfortable enough to use all day, and backlighting makes it easy to see even when the lights are out. The keys don't have a lot of travel -- just 1.42 millimeters -- and with 60 grams of actuation they are clicky yet soft. On the TypingTestOnline.Org challenge, I managed an average of 80 words per minute, a bit lower than my 90-wpm average.

The roomy and smooth 4 x 2.6-inch trackpad sits under the space bar, slightly to the left of center on the keyboard deck. The cursor reacted swiftly to all my movements, including pinch-to-zoom and scrolling. I also appreciated the two sets of left/right buttons at the top and bottom of the touchpad for giving me more click options, as well as the TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard.

Display

The ZBook's 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel display played the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer in crisp detail. I could see all the pieces of debris flying through the air from huge explosions, but colors were slightly dull on its matte display.

I appreciated how bright the ZBook's display could get, reaching an average of 307 nits on our brightness test. That's higher than the mainstream category average (250 nits) and the MSI WS60 (215 nits), and just outperformed by the Lenovo W550s (312 nits). It also has great viewing angles - I had to turn the notebook almost 90 degrees on either side before darkness disrupted the display.

It can also display a wide range of color, recreating 103.4 percent of the sRGB color gamut spectrum. That's much better than the category average (82.6) and the MSI WS60 (78.1), and slightly better than the Lenovo W550s (100.2).

The ZBook 15u also accurately displays its range of colors, scoring 1.68 on the Delta E test (closer to 0 is better). That's a little better than the category average (1.86), and much better than both the MSI WS60 (11.6) and the Lenovo W550s (2.72).

Audio

The DTS Sound-equipped speakers on the HP ZBook 15u G2 don't provide the best audio quality. Vocals in the Lumineers "Ho Hey" were clear, but the guitars and other mid instruments were weak, sounding like they were being played from miles away.

Heat

The ZBook stayed mostly cool during our testing. After streaming 15 minutes of video on Hulu, the touchpad reached 82 degrees Fahrenheit and the area between the G and H keys reached 86.5 degrees.

The underside exceeded our 95-degree comfort threshold slightly, at 96.5 degrees. The notebook's hottest spot, measuring 103.5 degrees, is just to the right of the HP logo on the monitor. Thankfully, it isn't an area you'd be touching often.

Ports and Webcam

The HP ZBook 15u G2 has enough ports to handle any work situation. On the left side is a VGA port and two USB 3.0 ports. The right side houses the headphone jack, a DisplayPort, a memory card reader, two additional USB 3.0 ports, a docking port, the power connector and an Ethernet port.

The notebook's 720p webcam captured my skin tone and the red ombre color in my hair accurately, but the overall image was dark and grainy.

Performance

Powered by a 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7-5500U dual-core processor, 16GB of RAM and a 256 GB PCIe SSD, my HP ZBook 15u G2 handled multitasking with ease. It never slowed even with 11 Chrome tabs and multiple PDF files open, while streaming music.

On the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance, the ZBook 15u scored 6,892, slightly better than the Lenovo W550s (6,860, with a 2.6-GHz Intel Core i7-5600U CPU), but lower than the mainstream notebook category average (9,259) and the monstrously powerful MSI WS60 (13,003, with a 2.5 GHz Core i7-4710HQ CPU).

The ZBook 15u completed the Open Office Spreadsheet test, which matches 20,000 names and addresses, in 4 minutes and 15 seconds. That's faster than the category average (5:10) and Lenovo W550s (4:42), but not as quick as the MSI WS60 (3:53).

The ZBook 15u was moderately fast in our file transfer tests, duplicating 4.97 GB of mixed media files with a rate of 175.5 MBps. That's faster than the Lenovo W550s (159 MBps), but the MSI WS60, which has dual 128GB SSDs in RAID 0, blew them both out of the water (365.52 MBps).

Graphics

The HP ZBook 15u G2 comes with an AMD FirePro M4170 GPU, which is competent, but not the fastest on the market. On the 3DMark Fire Strike graphics benchmark test, the system scored 1,461, which is on a par with the Lenovo W550s (1,457 with Nvidia Quadro K620M graphics) but isn't nearly as good as the MSI WS60 (1,649 with Nvidia Quadro K2100M graphics). 

In World of Warcraft, the ZBook 15u notched 22 frames per second at 1920 x 1080 on full settings. That's the worst of the bunch, with the MSI WS60 (44 fps) and the Lenovo W550s (36 fps) both performing better at the same settings.

Battery Life

The HP ZBook 15u G2 lasted 6 hours and 44 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (Web surfing via Wi-Fi).  That's about half an hour longer than the mainstream category average of 6:12, and more than twice as long as the 3:05 battery life on the MSI WS60. However, the Lenovo W550s beats them all out with a crazy 15:54 life, thanks to its 3-cell and 6-cell 72 watt-hour batteries.

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

Software and Warranty

My review model of the HP ZBook 15u G2 came with Windows 7 Professional 64, but it's also available with Windows 8. It also has programs such as HP Client Security for software- and hardware-level protection of your information, and HP Drive Encryption. HP Performance Advisor lets you fine-tune your device's settings based on your most popular applications.

The ZBook 15u comes with HP's standard 3-year limited warranty, which covers parts, labor and online service.

Configurations

HP offers four models of ZBook 15u G2, two with Intel Core i5 and two with Core i7 processors. Once you choose the processor you'd like, you can customize your RAM and hard drive, creating a machine with up to 16GB of RAM and 1.25 TB of storage. You can also opt to get HP's Z Turbo Drive, which, the company says, provides up to 40 percent better performance than regular SSD hard drives.

Our $1,999 review model was decked out with an Intel Core i7-5500U dual core processor, AMD FirePro M4170 graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB Z Turbo Drive hard drive.

The least expensive model starts at $1,199, and is powered by an Intel Core i5-5200U processor with AMD FirePro M4170 graphics. It comes with Windows 7 Professional installed, and sports 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive.

Bottom Line

There's no denying the HP ZBook 15u G2 is a competent workhorse of a notebook. I used it as my primary work computer for many days, and it was always quick in downloading files and smooth to use with multiple programs open. While bulkier, you can get the Lenovo W550s with comparable specs -- and its exceptional battery life - for about $200 less. But if you're looking for a workstation that you can take on the go, the HP ZBook 15u G2 is a strong choice.

HP ZBook 15u G2 Specs

BrandHP
CPUIntel Core i7-5500U
Card SlotsSmart Card
Company Websitewww.hp.com
Display Size15.6
Graphics CardAMD FirePro M4170
Hard Drive Size256GB SSD
Native Resolution1920x1080
Operating SystemWindows 7 Professional (64-bit)
Ports (excluding USB)USB 3.0, Audio-out, DisplayPort, Ethernet, VGA
RAM16GB
Touchpad Size4 x 2.6 incches
Weight4.23 pounds

Less

Sours: https://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/hp-zbook-15u-g2
HP ZBook 15 G2 vs ZBook 17 G1 - review - quick comparison

HP ZBook 15 G2 Review

Mobile workstations represent the top of the line in everything from build quality to performance. The ZBook line is HP’s entrant to this venerable market, offering display sizes from 14″ to 17.3″. The 15.6″ ZBook 15 model in this review is a “G2” variant, a second-generation technology refresh of the original ZBook 15. The G2 model features the latest Intel Haswell processors, a new QHD+ IPS display option, M.2 SSDs and is now available with an AMD FirePro M5100 graphics card in addition to its Nvidia Quadro choices.

Note the HP ZBook 15 reviewed here shouldn’t be confused with HP’s other new 15.6-inch mobile workstation, the thin-and-light ZBook 15u G2 Ultrabook.

The HP ZBook 15 G2 features a traditional business-class design.

The HP ZBook 15 G2 features a traditional business-class design.

The ZBook 15 is almost unremarkable visually and unlikely to attract any wandering eyes. Its clean professional appearance undoubtedly says business use though the overly rounded corners give it a softer appearance than its squared-off predecessors. The dark exterior color scheme of black and gunmetal aluminum lends the ZBook 15 a weighty look; indeed, the ZBook 15’s 6.13 pounds is hefty and moreover relatively thick at 1.2″ tall all around. However this notebook is designed as a true desktop replacement with a full power Intel quad-core processor, up to 32 GB of RAM and dedicated graphics cards plus the need to be extra durable and have ample user serviceability, making the bulk more than understandable.

The ZBook 15’s chassis is internally reinforced with its own support structure. It’s exceptionally strong and resisted all our attempts to twist or induce flex. The lid is one of the most rigid we’ve seen short of a rugged notebook, exhibiting minimal flex when twisted by its corners and not even budging when we applied pressure to its back surface, an important indicator of how well the display is protected. The lid’s hinges hold it securely in place and don’t allow any display wobble without being overly stiff, a minor feat of engineering in itself. The hinges still allow the lid to be opened one-handed provided it’s done slowly. The ZBook 15’s build materials are a mix of thick black plastic and aluminum. The fit and finish is excellent with minimal and consistent gaps between parts.

Upgrades are easy thanks to a single convenient access panel.

Upgrades are easy thanks to a single convenient access panel.

The ZBook 15 is one of the easier notebooks on the market to upgrade. Its bottom access panel is tool-less – slide the lock latch to the left and the entire panel slides off with one pull. Underneath lies access to the 2.5″ drive bay, M.2 slot, two memory (RAM) slots, and the wireless card. The other two memory slots are located under the keyboard which takes a few minutes to remove. Also under the keyboard is the modular graphics card and socketed CPU. We should also note the battery is easily swappable and the optical drive can be replaced with a 2.5” drive caddy if desired. This is about as upgradeable as notebooks get.

Input and Output Ports

The ZBook 15 sports one of the most comprehensive port arrays we’ve seen on a 15.6-inch notebook. Unlike most consumer notebooks, it includes a SmartCard slot, ExpressCard/54, a Thunderbolt 2 port and an internal optical drive. If the included ports aren’t enough or if you prefer the convenience of a desktop-like setup, the ZBook 15 features a dedicated docking station connector on the bottom which is compatible with HP’s docking station solutions. The HP Advanced Docking Station supports up to five independent displays.

All picture descriptions are left to right.

HP Zbook 15 ports left
Left: physical lock slot, USB 2.0, cooling exhaust vent, Thunderbolt 2, full-size DisplayPort, USB 3.0, ExpressCard/54 (top), SmartCard reader (bottom)

HP Zbook 15 ports right
Right: SD card slot, headphone/microphone combination jack, USB 3.0, Blu-ray drive, VGA out

HP Zbook 15 ports back
Rear: USB 3.0, AC power jack, Ethernet

Screen and Speakers

HP offers three display options on the ZBook 15 G2: the standard HD+ (1600×900) panel, an upgraded FHD (1920×1080), and the QHD+ (3200×1800) panel on our review unit which is new for the G2. The QHD+ display has three times as many pixels as on a traditional FHD display, which is the primary reason to opt for it. The QHD+ resolution provides exceptional clarity in applications where screen real estate is valued such as high-res photo editing. With scaling in Windows set to 150%, the text is just a hair smaller than it would be on a traditional FHD display at 100% yet still provides more available working space.

HP Zbook 15 screen frontHP Zbook 15 screen side
HP Zbook 15 screen forwardHP Zbook 15 screen back

The QHD+ display uses IPS technology which is beneficial for image quality and viewing angles. The picture remains constant regardless of the angle you’re viewing, but we did notice the brightness shifting from side to side. Colors are full and lively and contrast is very good with rich blacks and whites. Brightness levels are plenty for indoor usage though it’s not quite enough outdoors on a sunny day. Another positive is the anti-glare surface treatment reduces or eliminates reflections, something easily appreciated in an office environment with overhead lighting.

The ZBook 15’s two stereo speakers lie beneath a perforated grill above the keyboard deck. Their sound quality leaves much to the imagination but they get sufficiently loud to play a video for two people. Bass is practically non-existent. Needless to say, plan on making use of the headphone jack for meaningful sound.

Keyboard and Touchpad

HP Zbook 15 keyboardThe ZBook 15 has a full-size Chiclet style keyboard with a separate numeric keypad and two levels of white LED backlighting. The keys have a short throw but a quick and precise action, making it great for touch typing. We also appreciate how little noise the keys make when pressed. Furthermore the keyboard deck is rock solid with no flex which contributes to the overall solid feel of this notebook. All of the standard desktop keys are present and the layout is similar to a traditional desktop keyboard. The backlighting is softer than expected but plenty visible in the dark; it can be adjusted or turned off by pressing the [Fn] and [F11] keys in conjunction.

Dedicated wireless on/off and volume mute buttons reside to the top right of the keyboard. We’d ideally like to also see buttons for controlling the volume and toggling the touchpad on and off as on previous generation HP workstation notebooks. [Fn] and F-key shortcuts are available for all of the mentioned functions however.

HP Zbook 15 touchpadThe oversized Synaptics touchpad is offset to the left to be in line with the keyboard area. This alignment is how we see most brands approach touchpad implementations when including a number pad and it makes sense; it keeps the touchpad away from the palms while typing. The touchpad has a smooth surface and is well appointed with three dedicated buttons – right, center, and left click. The buttons have almost too much travel but provide good feedback as a result. Perhaps their best attribute is they’re basically silent when pressed.

A rubber pointing stick occupies the center of the keyboard between the G, H, and B keys. We found its responsiveness a bit stiff and generally awkward to use especially coming from a Lenovo ThinkPad’s TrackPoint setup; the intuitive feel is missing. The ZBook 15’s pointing stick is nonetheless still usable and has three of its own dedicated buttons on the bright side. We’re not complaining about that.

Sours: http://www.notebookreview.com/notebookreview/hp-zbook-15-g2-review/

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