HP zBook 14u G6 review

11 min read

Become a big fan of HP & # 39; s Z-series workstations and mobile workstations. These computers have recently become the go-to devices for high-end creativity and are supported by serious professional software companies such as Adobe, Autodesk, Avid, etc. Z-series workstations are built for demanding industries such as media, entertainment, architecture, geospace, engineering, construction, life science, healthcare and product development. In my work as a graphic designer and environmental designer I got an HP Z workstation tower on my desk attached to a Wacom Cintiq pen display and great.

As for the ZBooks, which are powerful mobile workstations, I really liked the HP ZBook X2 (reviewed here). The HP ZBook 14U G6 is today designed for a slightly different target market than the Zbook X2. It is less a mobile workstation for people who make 3D animations, architectural designs or other visual professional pen-computing, and it is more a mobile workstation intended for creative directors who need accurate color reproduction and the ability to open large design files to approve or evaluate work that others have done. Would say it would work well for other creative industries that also require a precision pen interface … I used it to design and develop a website, edit photos from studio photos and what do video editing. So certainly useful for more than just creative directors.

Hardware

One of the great things I like about HP & # 39; s Zbook series of mobile workstations is the matte glare screen. This is a must for creative work. I don't understand how people can use those glossy mirror-reflecting screens that are often used on other computers. Another big advantage of the Zbook screens is the color accuracy and the wide range. Don't talk about what Apple calls the "wide colors" color, this is even better … this is 100% Adobe RGB color gamut so you can see the real colors in photos & designs. However, the HP Zbook 14U does not have an HP Dreamcolor display. That is a little better, but the Zbook 14U still has 100% Adobe RGB color gamut display and is still pretty amazing. When closed, the HP Zbook 14U looks a lot like any other HP laptop. Do you have that beautiful embossed HP silver logo and gray metal finish. Personally, I prefer the more unique appearance of the HP Zbook X2, but HP says that for this type of laptop, their customers absolutely prefer the more normal style look. At the bottom, some have ventilation openings, rubber feet and a number of screws that hold everything together. It should be fairly easy to undo, open up, and upgrade the RAM, SSD storage, WLAN, and WWAN hardware if you want. Unfortunately, the thing that should probably be replaced most quickly … the battery … cannot be replaced by the user. You also see small LED indicators on the edge that show activity on the hard drive, wireless network connection and power. I love the subtle & # 39; Mobile Workstation & # 39; branding on the hinge edge. The left edge has a cable lock port so that you can tie it to your desk. Also includes a fan ventilation grid, USB-A port and smart card reader for secure logins. The right edge has many more in / out port options. The first slot looks like it could be a MicroSD slot, but it does … a Nano SIM card slot, but it only works if you have purchased a version that contains the LTE modem radio. This version does not contain an LTE radio, but the slot is still there, so you should pay attention to that. Fortunately, also a 3.5 mm headset / microphone port and another USB-A port. In addition, it also received a full-size HDMI port for connecting monitors and projectors. Then use an ethernet port to wire your network connection. This has a fold-out drawer that you have to open a little to fit an ethernet cable. Being very good at having all these I / O ports on a laptop, because relying on USB-C alone is often very problematic. Subsequently, a proprietary HP docking station connection port was added together with a USB-C Thunderbolt port and a cylindrical power port. You can use the USB-C port to also charge and power the laptop, but a cylindrical port is a lot smarter because no orientation is needed … just point and connect. Look for a front camera under the cover, microphone, and infrared biometric face recognition for secure Windows logins. You will see a sliding shutter that you can use to cover the camera if you want to be sure of visual hacking and privacy. The keyboard is really great. The keys have a comfortable but quiet click and many key movements. They are still flat like all other keyboards as opposed to the more ergonomic and tactile convex key shapes we've seen in the past, but still good. The small & # 39; Zbook & # 39; logo in the corner also looks great. The on / off button is a very thin silver insert just above the Esc key. It is not easy to activate because it is so thin, but maybe a good thing. Still, I wish it were bigger and had a fingerprint scanner built in. There is a fingerprint scan at the bottom right, but this works on this model because it does not contain any fingerprint scanning hardware. The square is still there, so again … you have to pay attention to what hardware aspects you actually get, because the hardware case is the same for everyone. The trackpad is large enough and usable and even contains an NFC chip. The NFC chip is used to send and receive files, so when you initiate it, tapping the NFC chip with an NFC device does nothing. You will also notice a number of real left and right click buttons above the trackpad. They are intended to be used with the trackpoint joystick on the keyboard. These small trackpoint joysticks between the G and H keys on the keyboard seem a bit rare these days, but many people still swear by them. This pointer interface also has some real benefits. For example, you don't have to take your hand off the keyboard to gain access. Touching and using the trackpoint joystick requires very little movement of one of your index fingers. Therefore, using it to move the cursor requires very few finger movements. The disadvantage is that it is often less accurate, but if you are concerned about accurate pointer control, you must use a Wacom digitizer pen as it is available on the HP Zbook X2 and ZBook Studio x360. The keyboard also has a number of special keys for things like volume control, brightness, backlight, microphone mute, wireless networking, a calendar button and even two keys for answering and ending phones that work with Skype for Business (which is often used in large companies) . Above the keyboard is a grid of triangular holes, and where the Bang & Olufsen speakers are. These work very well, so if audio quality is important, this Zbook 14U has you covered. In addition to other great internal specifications, such as the Core i7 quad-core processor and 32 GB RAM, the AMD Radeon Pro WX3200 graphics processing unit is a piece of cake.

Software

Of course, the HP Zbook 14U comes with Windows 10 pre-installed. It has been updated to version 1903 without any problems. It still annoys all of these Candy Crush crapware games, although this is a serious mobile workstation. Yet they are easy to remove.

You can choose to pre-install it with Windows 10 Pro 64, Windows 10 Home 64 or even FreeDOS 2.0 if you want to save $ 230 and use some older DOS business software.

However, on Windows 10, HP includes a few other useful utilities, most of which relate to increasing security.

HP Sure Click is an anti-malware utility that isolates certain programs & browsers in their own virtual environment so that they have no effect on other parts of the system.

With the HP PC Diagnostics utility, you can view all the hardware information for your system and perform some diagnostic tests to make sure everything works properly.

The trackpad and the & # 39; touch piece & # 39; of the trackpoint contain some adjustment software from Synaptics. Some of these options are pretty nice. For example, you can make tapping the trackpoint joystick a left click instead of having to use the buttons below the space bar.

Also some HP Power management options, but apparently we have to enable this in the BIOS. But I'm not sure why it would be sent without these controls already turned on.

HP Sure Sense is included in an antivirus program. This has a number of special "intelligent" functions that are intended to detect malware and viruses based on the behavior of the system. For example, if large amounts of files are suddenly encrypted, which can be a ransomware attack, HP Sure Sense can detect and help prevent such things.

Also an HP Client Security installation that enables a number of other security functions. HP also includes some "Sure Boot" software in the BIOS that can detect if the BIOS has been tampered with and that you can use to restore a well-known good "official" BIOS from HP.

Battery life

Now, since this is a very powerful mobile workstation unlike some other HP laptops from HP … the Zbook 14U gives up a bit on battery life. You will not use this every day. It should be fine for about 4 hours. Moreover, the power brick is quite small and portable … and it can charge the Zbook 14U to around 50% in just 30 minutes. That means you have to put it back in a docking station at your desk for lunch to get through the rest of the day.

I really wish this could have been a user-removable battery. Many types of tablets, laptops and phones have been tested and the battery is almost always the first thing to wear out. Certainly always the first to be charged.

Prices and availability

The HP Zbook 14u is available in a fairly large number of different configurations. Prices range from $ 1300 for a low-end model and increase to $ 3000. You can adjust the HP Zbook 14h on the HP store website to see the prices for the configuration that you are interested in.

conclusion

As mentioned at the beginning, a big fan of the HP Z-series high-end workstations and the HP Zbook 14U is no exception. This laptop has a great balance of high-end processing power, lots of RAM, a great GPU, beautiful screen, but all in a chassis that is too thick and heavy. Yes, you can get more powerful mobile workstations, but thicker and heavier. Yes, you can get thinner and lighter laptops, but less powerful and capable. The ZBook 14U offers excellent excellent functions without breaking your back.

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Emily Parker

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