HP zBook 15 review

Reviews 20 Feb, 2014

A powerful laptop with a Core i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM and discrete graphics from Nvidia.

4
Price: 
£1,671 ex VAT
Pros: 
Good performance; Decent screen; Thunderbolt port; Expandable
Cons: 
Cramped keyboard; Poor battery life; Expensive
Verdict: 
The zBook 15 excels when it comes to performance and has a great screen. But it is bulky and has poor battery life, which makes it hard to recommend it as a portable machine.

HP has started shipping its zBook laptop range, providing professionals with workstation power in a portable form factor  - but is there really demand for such a product?

We reviewed the zBook 15. The first thing we noticed about our review unit was its bulk. The 15in panel, along with the Blu-ray drive, discrete graphics, multitude of ports and 8-cell battery push up the weight to 2.83kg and you’ll feel every gram when lifting it. HP also offers the device in 14in and 17in sizes.

Thunderbolt is go

The zBook is the first Windows PC we’ve tested in the IT Pro office to include a Thunderbolt port. It’s the second generation technology and is a big deal as it signals that the high-speed I/O interface is gaining traction in the professional market.

Thunderbolt technology is 4x faster than USB 3 when it comes to transferring data but it also has other advantages. The interface is able to support expansion through PCIe connectors and can be used to hook the zBook directly to displays.

Despite the zBook having a single Thunderbolt port, the ability to daisy chain devices compensates for this. You can plug an SSD directly into the port on the laptop, and then any additional storage devices or even connect a display into the back of the SSD.

Other ports include 3 x USB 3 (one doubles as a charging port), 1 x DisplayPort, an Ethernet jack, and a legacy VGA port. You'll also find a docking connector and secondary battery connector on the back. 

Specifications: 

Display: 15.6in LED-backlit FHD UWVA eDP anti-glare + PSR (1920 x 1080)

Processor: Intel Core i7-4700MQ (3.7GHz)

RAM: 8GB up to 32GB supported

Graphics: Nvidia Quadro K1100M (2 GB dedicated GDDR5)

OS: Windows 7 Pro available via downgrade of Windows 8

Storage: 750 GB 7200 rpm SATA + 32GB mSATA

Connectivity: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 Combo

Ports: 3 x USB 3, 1 x USB 2, 1 x Thunderbolt 2, 1 x RJ-45, 1 x docking connector, 1 x secondary battery connector, 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x VGA, 1 x ExpressCard/54, 1 x Secure Digital, 1 x Smart Card Reade

Weight: 2.83kg

Dimensions: 381.5 x 257 x 30.5mm

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