HP has updated the ZBook series with the HP ZBook Firefly G7, an ultrabook workstation available in 2 sizes: 14 ”and 15.6”. The “14ari” laptop was in our hands and we spent some time with it, enough to see what it can offer and especially whether the claim about mobile workstation that accompanies this model is true.
ZBook Firefly 14 G7: Design
The first thing those who remember the ZBook G6 will definitely notice is the huge difference in appearance. With dimensions of 32.3 x 21.46 x 1.795cm, weight just 1.34 kg, screen to body ratio 84% and no sacrifices in functionality, the Firefly G7 is lighter, with smaller bezels and generally more “compact” design really in every bit, maintaining practical the same thickness (closed).
With an aluminum base, and plastic parts only on the screen and keyboard (as well as some internal parts), it is a sturdy construction that gives a sense of durability and safety for everyday use and transport. The screen opens at an angle of 165 degrees, while many similar laptops reach 180, but personally I never happened to use it – it is worth noting for someone who needs it. At the top of the screen and right in the center of the frame, there is a 720p webcam with shutter to completely hide the lens when not in use.
Two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3, one HDMI 1.4b port, two USB 3.1 (Gen 1) ports, one headphone / microphone port, one SmartCard input and a Kensington lock slot – of course, and one charger port. You may have noticed that the G6 lacks an Ethernet port and docking port, so if you regularly use a wired network connection, you should also consider an adapter. For wireless networking, an Intel Wireless AX201 is used with a fairly high data transfer rate, but of course, it needs the appropriate equipment (Wi-Fi 6) to take full advantage. In addition, it integrates Bluetooth 5.0 for direct connection to peripherals and beyond.
For lovers of quiet and fast typing, the news is positive. The chiclet keyboard is “practically” silent (in small office conditions) and has adjustable lighting and comfortable size, but without the inclusion of numpad. Beneath the keyboard is an equally comfortable touchpad with discrete keys while for use in confined spaces (or simply, preference) a pointstick is included approximately in the center of the keyboard.
On the sides, they are placed by a speaker on each side for stereo sound, with Bang & Olufsen contributing with its expertise in the piece. The sound that comes out is quite balanced with no obvious weaknesses and perfectly serves its purpose for most professional uses, without overlooking the most relaxing moments that will undoubtedly occur – such as watching a movie.
Features – Performance
Since we mentioned the screen, let’s … close with its own before moving on. The machine we received has an LCD IPS screen with Full HD resolution, but there is the possibility of purchase with a panel that delivers in 4K. It is non-reflective, with (relatively low) brightness at 250 nits and 45% NTSC color accuracy. It delivers beautiful colors, with plenty of vibrancy and excellent contrast without disappointing in the dark spots of the image – note that the nits can reach up to 550 if you choose a higher panel when buying.
In brighter environments, especially outdoors, there has been difficulty reading the screen so if you need to use it regularly outside the office or home, it would be a good idea to invest in one of the higher screen options. In addition, if you work without the convenience of Wi-Fi, it is possible (at an additional cost) that the laptop has a Nano SIM card slot with LTE support.
The ZBook Firefly G7 series, regardless of model (14 ”or 15.6”), uses 10th generation Intel “Comet Lake” processors, combining them with expandable DDR4 RAM, PCIe NVMe SSD storage and Nvidia Quadro P520 (4GB) GD graphics unit There are plenty of options for different parts of the laptop. In our case, the machine we received incorporated the Intel Core i5-10310U processor, with a 1TB SSD and 16 DDR4 RAM, which is expandable up to 64GB thanks to the two slots available.
In our tests, which revolved around office applications (eg Excel and the wider Office suite), “loaded” browsers and image processing (PhotoShop) and video (Premiere Pro), the laptop responded very well to not very well. good. In terms of office applications and everyday life, it worked in a flash and without problems, as in the processing of images and, in part, videos. However, in more “heavy” tests (such as editing and rendering in 4K video), performance saw a significant drop. We have not been able to test it in 3D editing or architectural programs, but it is clear that as the weight on the graphics increases, so does the performance.
This seems to be due to two things. Although the Core i5 10310U performs very well for our needs, it may not have been the best choice based on CineBench benchmarks, which show the dominance of the corresponding AMD Ryzen. On the other hand, the Quadro P520 GPU in conjunction with the built-in Intel UHD Graphics 620, are a very basic combination and are not suitable for use with programs that focus on 3D graphics.
Most likely, the above options were made to “shut down” the battery and its performance. With three cells and a capacity of 53Wh, it reaches and exceeds for an 8-hour shift that includes work in office applications, leaving 1-2 hours of “wine cellar” at closing. When we focused on image and video editing, the drop was about halfway through, but it remains at a satisfactory level. If you need a little more time to use it right away, the HP FastCharge (only available for charging via USB-C port) can reduce the battery from zero to 50% in about 30 minutes (no use).
What was observed at each stage, of course, is the noise – or rather, it was not observed. No matter what was open and what work was being done on it, the laptop remained relatively quiet to the point that the already imperceptible sound of the keys covered the fan noise. Of course, being quiet and … “melting” is not a solution, but in the part of cooling has done an excellent job as the temperature rarely rose to a noticeable level and did not stay there for a while, as the fan operated perfectly and quietly . Another piece that has to do with noise is the quad microphone, which, in conjunction with similar HP software, works quite well in removing noise for further assistance in video calling – something that many now need.
Finally, HP offers a warranty of up to 3 years with extra services (such as on-site repair) that are charged extra, so it is advisable to inquire about the exact benefits of the included warranty before making a purchase.
The HP ZBook Firefly G7 is undoubtedly a premium and great solution for everyday office use, which will catch the eye of those who do not manage graphics or extremely heavy applications. This is because it offers very good performance in office applications or work through a browser, many hours of operation and flexibility in terms of its design – from the available connections to its size – as long as one knows its limitations.
The lack of an Ethernet port and the combination of Intel “Comet Lake” with the Nvidia Quadro P520 were the most curious things we noticed and may be a hindrance for some, as other HP series have models at a similar price range and better (individual) performance.