Primary Camera: 0.9 MPix
The ZBook 14U G6 model I tested for most of the summer is one of my favorites, for several good reasons noted further on in this review. One of them is that whatever I asked it to do, it never went over more than 50 percent usage of the CPU and random-access memory. The ZBook 14u G6, the sixth generation of the company’s enterprise entry-level workstation-type laptops, encompasses an all-aluminum, smoke-gray design, an Adobe RGB UHD display, Intel Core i7-8665U Quad-core processor and AMD Radeon Pro professional 3D graphics.
Display - The ZBook G6 comes with a great display
The matte 14-inch display of the ZBook 14 has a native resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. Brightness (420.2 cd/m²) and contrast (1410:1) are good. The display offers a significantly higher maximum brightness than the display installed in the previous model. The brightness distribution is also pleasing at a value of 92%. Positive: The display doesn't show PWM flickering.
The ZBook has a Core i7-8565U (Whiskey Lake) quad-core processor on board. The Core i7 operates at a base speed of 1.8 GHz. Through Turbo, an increase to 4.1 GHz (all four cores), 4.5 GHz (two cores) and 4.6 GHz (one core) is possible, respectively.
The multithread tests of the Cinebench benchmarks are run for a short time at 3.2 to 4.1 GHz. The clock speed then drops to 2.1 to 2.2 GHz. The single-thread tests are processed at 3.7 to 3.8 GHz. On battery power, the speeds range from 1.6 to 1.8 GHz (multithread) and 1.6 to 2.3 GHz (single-thread), respectively.
Many HP laptops - including the ZBook - have a BIOS option that specifies that the CPU should also run at high speeds on battery power. HP has removed this option with the current BIOS version, 01.03.00 Rev.A, from September 27, 2019. This BIOS update shouldn't be omitted since it fixes many security vulnerabilities as well.
The good results in the PCMark benchmarks confirm that the laptop has sufficient computing power for all common applications. A slight increase in overall performance would be possible by activating dual-channel mode. For this purpose, a second memory module would have to be installed into the computer.
The system drive is an NVMe SSD from Samsung. This M.2 2280 model has a total capacity of 512 GB, out of which about 439 GB can be used out of the box. The remaining storage space is distributed between the Windows installation and the recovery partition. Moreover, the transfer rates are good.
The ZBook is equipped with a Radeon Pro WX 3200 graphics core from AMD. The GPU is based on the Polaris architecture and represents the professional version of the Radeon RX 550 GPU. The WX 3200 supports DirectX 12 and reaches speeds of up to 1082 MHz. The GPU is supported by the faster GDDR5 memory (4,096 MB). Results in the 3DMark benchmarks are at the expected level.
The UHD Graphics 620 GPU that's integrated into the processor is active, and the laptop works with AMD's Enduro graphics-switching solution. The dedicated GPU can be disabled in the BIOS if necessary. The iGPU would then be used permanently.
The ability to run games isn't a part of the ZBook's job description. Nevertheless, the graphics core makes it possible, but only with restrictions. Our The Witcher 3 test illustrates the problem.
The latter checks whether the frame rates remain largely constant over a longer period of time. For this we run the game The Witcher 3 for about 60 minutes at Full HD resolution and maximum quality settings. The character embodied by the player isn't moved during the entire period.
The GPU is significantly throttled after just a few minutes. Only speeds around 500 MHz are reached then. As a result, the frame rates are cut by half and remain at a constant level.
In order to be able to play games, the resolution and quality level would have to be chosen so low that playable frame rates could still be achieved, even after the throttling of the GPU.
The ZBook 14u doesn't produce a lot of noise over the entire load range. When idle, the fan is often off, and silence prevails. Under full load, the fan turns up a little. During the stress test, we measure a sound level of 35.9 dB(A).
In idle usage, we register a maximum requirement of 10.9 watts (9.36 watts when key lighting is deactivated). During our stress test, the value briefly rises to 70.5 watts and then settles at 61 watts. We measure an average power consumption of 50.4 watts while running our The Witcher 3 test. The included power adapter has a rated output of 65 watts.
The HP laptop reaches a runtime of 8:32 hours in our practical Wi-Fi test. We use a script to simulate the load caused by accessing websites here. The "balanced" profile is activated, and the display brightness is set to about 150 cd/m². At maximum display brightness, the device turns off after 5:56 hours.
The 14-incher finishes our video test after 11:00 hours. For this test, we play the short film Big Buck Bunny (H.264-encoded, 1920x1080 pixels) in a loop. The network module is turned off, and the display brightness is lowered to 150 cd/m².
Overall we liked the Zbook 14u G6. Its relatively light weight, small size, and robust power made for a very usable pro workstation with with understated good looks. The Zbook's value comes from its amenities rather than its absolute performance. If you're a 3D designer who needs certified drivers and is on the road a lot, then HP's mobile workstation should be on your short list of systems to check out.
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