Home / tech news / HP ZBook 14u G4 Mobile Workstation review: Portable and robust, but performance disappoints

HP ZBook 14u G4 Mobile Workstation review: Portable and robust, but performance disappoints

With a 14-inch FHD show and weighing in at 1.64kg (Three.61lbs), the ZBook 14u G4 is the smallest and lightest of HP’s latest-generation cell workstations, beginning at £831 (ex. VAT) and emerging to £2,073 as you improve CPU, GPU, RAM, garage and different choices. With discrete AMD FirePro graphics to be had on all fashions, the ZBook 14u G4 is geared toward cell energy customers in fields like photograph and video enhancing, product design, science and engineering, and finance.

The ZBook 14u G4 will not be the thinnest, lightest or maximum elegant-looking computer you’ve gotten ever observed, however it is MIL-STD-810G qualified to resist the tough and tumble of existence at the street. However does it have the uncooked energy to chop it as a cell workstation?

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The 14-inch ZBook 14u G4 runs on Seventh-generation Core i5 or i7 processors with as much as 32GB of RAM, makes use of discrete AMD FirePro graphics and provides as much as 1TB of HD or SSD garage capability.


Pictures: HP Inc

Design

It is a businesslike moderately than attention-grabbing computer, with a slate-grey livery and discreet HP branding at the again of the lid. Open the moderately flex-free lid and you can in finding similarly tasteful branding for the Bang & Olufsen (B&O) designed audio subsystem above the display, to the suitable.

HP describes the ZBook 14u G4 as skinny and lightweight, however it is no ultraportable, measuring 338mm broad via 237mm deep via 22.1mm thick and weighing from 1.64kg (the burden would possibly upward push, relying at the choices you select). Nonetheless, it feels smartly made with, as famous above, military-grade construct high quality.

The 14-inch display choices get started at 1,366 via 768 solution, emerging to complete HD (1,920 via 1,080) in non-touch, contact and non-touch with ultra-wide viewing angles sorts. We had the touch-screen fashion for evaluation, with ‘same old’ viewing angles. The show delivers first rate 300-nit brightness and color stability, however in spite of its ‘anti-glare’ billing continues to be slightly reflective.

The display has moderately broad bezels, specifically on the peak, so there is numerous house for the wireless and (non-compulsory) WWAN antennas, the webcam and a twin microphone array.

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The keyboard has 85 island-style keys which might be robust and responsive sufficient to ship a relaxed typing platform. It is spill-resistant, and provides 3 ranges of backlighting — off/complete/part brightness — toggled via a Fn key aggregate. The generous-sized touchpad has two buttons on the backside, helps two-way scrolling and gestures, and has a 2d pair of buttons on the peak to give a boost to the pointing stick positioned between the G,H and B keys. You’ll permit or disable the touchpad via double-tapping the top-left nook; an LED presentations you when the touchpad is off.

Our evaluation unit had a fingerprint reader within the peak proper nook of the wrist relaxation, despite the fact that this is not provide on all variants of the ZBook 14u G4. In other places, within the house between the keyboard and display, you can in finding the facility button at the left and buttons for wi-fi on/off and quantity mute at the proper.

The trade-off for a moderately cumbersome chassis is numerous room for ports and slots, which run to: USB-C, DisplayPort, Three.5mm combo audio, USB Three.zero, RJ-45 Ethernet, a docking connector, a SIM card slot and the facility enter at the left; and VGA, USB Three.zero, a smartcard reader and a safety lock slot at the proper.

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The ZBook 14u’s 22.1mm-thick chassis supplies numerous room for an in depth array of ports and slots.


Pictures: HP Inc

Options

Processors vary from Core i5-7200U to Core i7-7600U. Our evaluation unit had a Core i7-7600U with 16GB of RAM — the utmost reminiscence supplement is 32GB, filling two SODIMM slots. Despite the fact that there may be an built-in Intel HD Graphics 620 GPU within the processor, a cell workstation wishes extra graphics horsepower, which is supplied via a discrete AMD FirePro W4190M with 2GB of devoted GDDR5 RAM. The ZBook 14u G4 is ISV qualified to ship speedy and dependable efficiency with a variety of workstation packages, despite the fact that the record for this entry-level device is understandably much less in depth than for its extra robust stablemates.

Garage in our evaluation unit was once a 512GB HP Z Turbo Power PCIe SSD, with different choices together with SATA arduous drives, hybrid HDD/SSD drives and SSDs as much as 1TB in capability.

Intel’s Twin Band Wi-fi-AC 8265 adapter supplies 802.11a/b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth four.2 connectivity; LTE cell broadband may be to be had on some fashions, despite the fact that it wasn’t provide on our evaluation unit.

HP makes a lot of the ZBook vary’s safety features, together with HP Certain Get started Gen3, which guarantees authentic HP device BIOS is provide, unmodified, prior to the device boots up. If tampering is detected, a safe reproduction of the BIOS is loaded from flash reminiscence. Protected authentication is to be had by way of the fingerprint reader and the smartcard slot, and in case you have the non-compulsory cell broadband module put in you’ll be able to join HP’s Absolute Information Give protection to provider, which incorporates GPS monitoring of the computer.

The audio subsystem, advanced together with B&O, features a pair of 2W stereo audio system positioned in the back of a grille between the keyboard and the display. Those ship first rate sound high quality that does not distort a lot as you ramp up the amount. As ever with computer audio system, regardless that, you do not get a lot in the best way of bass frequencies.

There may be an in depth array of choices and equipment to be had for the ZBook 14u G4, together with circumstances, docks, connection adapters, additional batteries and exterior garage answers. The HP UltraSlim Docking Station, as an example, will value you an additional £199 (inc. VAT), including four USB Three.zero ports, RJ-45, DisplayPort 1.2, VGA and audio in/out jacks.

Efficiency & battery existence

A device billed as a cell workstation — even an entry-level one — will have to ship just right efficiency, and right here the ZBook 14u G4 is rather disappointing.

Having a look at CPU efficiency, the ZBook 14usaCore i7-7600U delivered Geekbench four ratings of four,723 (unmarried core) and nine,231 (multi-core), in comparison to four,760 and 15,980 from the 2017 15-inch MacBook Professional working a Core i7-7820HQ. Each programs had 16GB of RAM.

Graphics benchmarks published a larger hole between HP’s entry-level cell workstation and Apple’s high-end computer: at the Cinebench R15 OpenGL check, the ZBook 14usa2GB FirePro W4190M controlled 48.Eight frames according to 2d (fps), a rating that the 4GB Radeon Professional 560 in Apple’s MacBook Professional obliterated with 85fps.

Disk efficiency was once higher regardless that, the ZBook 14u’s 512GB SSD handing over write and skim speeds of one,686MB/s and three,312MB/s respectively, in comparison to 2,000MB/s and a pair of,500MB/s from the MacBook Professional.

Energy is provided via a Three-cell, 51Wh (four,420MAh) battery that HP says will energy the device for as much as 10 hours. Producers’ claims will have to at all times be handled with warning, however our trying out revel in means that you’ll be able to be assured of having an Eight-hour day’s-worth of existence from the device, on reasonable. In case you are prone to be working tough workloads clear of an influence supply, you might need to spend money on a spare battery, which is able to value an additional £50 (inc. VAT).

Conclusions

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Symbol: HP Inc

HP’s 14-inch ZBook 14u G4 is sturdily constructed, moderately skinny and lightweight for a cell workstation, and offers numerous connections and configuration choices. Then again, we had been dissatisfied with the efficiency — specifically from the discrete GPU — from this entry-level cell workstation.

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