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HP ZBook 17 G6 overview: A heavy-duty, user-upgradable cellular workstation

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Cellular workstations are critical computing units with top-notch specs, and because of this they arrive at a premium worth — the costliest iteration of the HP ZBook 17 G6 prices £3,649 (ex. VAT; £4,378.80 inc. VAT) on the time of writing. For the cash you may get top-end discrete graphics, a Core i9 processor and a 17.3-inch display with 4K decision. Whilst you go down the worth and specs listing you get loads of ports and connectors for utilizing exterior units, and there is even an optical drive. The entry-level ZBook 17 G6 mannequin prices £1,609 (ex. VAT; £1,930.80 inc. VAT).
 
No 17.3-inch laptop computer goes to slide simply right into a backpack, and the HP ZBook 17 G6 is a big and weighty unit. It’s going to plant a 41.6cm by 28.8cm footprint in your desk, is 3.3cm thick, and weighs a shoulder-sapping 3.2kg. You may virtually definitely want to hold the massive and heavy energy brick too (see feedback on battery life under). 

Should you do want to hold this pricey laptop computer you may need to be assured that it is nicely protected — and it’s. The chassis may be very strong — “designed to endure intensive MIL-STD 810G testing”, HP says — and will deal with the rigours of journey.

The 17.3-inch ZBook 17 G6 is offered with Core i5, i7 and Xeon processors with as much as 128GB of RAM, Nvidia graphics (Quadro T1000 as much as Quadro RTX 5000) and as much as 2TB of storage.

Photos: HP Inc.

HP has achieved what it may well to make this hefty laptop computer look fairly enticing, and there is a distinct taper towards the entrance lengthy edge whereas the 2 rear corners are sharply angled in keeping with HP’s distinctive ZBook styling.

The bottom has a sliding lock that enables a lot of the backside plate to be eliminated, giving consumer entry to parts equivalent to reminiscence and storage. This offers a level of future-proofing for what’s, in any case, a substantial funding.

The display is all-important in a workstation, which must ship high-quality visuals. The 17.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) IPS panel in my overview unit had an ambient mild sensor and 300 nits brightness. I discovered it reasonably too vibrant to make use of when set at 100%. It wasn’t contact delicate, and had an anti-glare end. Increased up the worth scale the display specs prime out at 4K decision (3,480 x 2,160) and 400 nits brightness.

The display bezels are reasonably thick — round 15mm to the perimeters, and a large 29mm on the prime. There may be loads of room within the prime bezel for the 720p webcam and a pair of IR sensors for Home windows Whats up face login (for many who want finger biometrics there’s additionally a fingerprint sensor on the wrist relaxation). The webcam has a sliding privateness cowl.

High ZDNET Critiques

If you wish to current your work to others, then high-quality audio could be essential. Alongside the highest of the keyboard is a full-width 3cm-deep speaker grille, housing the Bang & Olufsen sound system. This delivers loads of quantity — sufficient to succeed in round a mid-sized convention desk. It is arguably a bit brief on bass tones, however nonetheless spectacular.

The spill-resistant keyboard has two ranges of backlighting, and incorporates a pointing stick plus a separate numeric keypad.

Picture: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The keyboard is spill resistant and backlit — you may manually choose between two brightness ranges for the backlight utilizing a Fn key. HP’s commonplace devoted Name and Finish keys are to the best of the Fn key row. There may be room for a quantity pad with full-size keys to the best of the keyboard. The keys themselves are a bit thunky, however I had no hassle reaching my typical touch-typing velocity.

There is a pointing stick sitting between the G, H and B keys which can be utilized along with three buttons in a bar atop the touchpad, the central one being for vertical scrolling. Beneath the touchpad is a reproduction set of those buttons, whereas the touchpad itself doesn’t have inset buttons. The latter was easily attentive to gestures, and straightforward to work with. 

The HP ZBook 17 G6 is offered within the UK in a number of completely different iterations, with specs operating as much as an Intel Core i9-9880H processor with 32GB of RAM, Nvidia Quadro RTX 5000 graphics with 16GB of GDDR6 video RAM, a 4K/400 nits display and a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD. That’ll set you again a cool £3,649 (ex. VAT; £4,378.80 inc VAT). 

SEE: Working from house: Success suggestions for telecommuters (free PDF)

On the different finish of the worth spectrum, £1,609 (ex. VAT; £1,930.80 inc. VAT) will get you an Intel Core i7-9850H with 16GB of RAM, Nvidia Quadro T1000 graphics with 4GB of GDDR5 video RAM, an FHD/300 nits display and a 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD.

I used to be despatched a specification that is not at present accessible within the UK, operating an Intel Xeon E 2286M processor with 64GB of RAM.

My battery life expertise might not, subsequently, bear out what you may discover in models specified for the UK. That is likely to be simply as nicely. I charged the battery to 100% and let the machine choose its settings. In an hour it depleted to 72%. Because the display brightness had been robotically set at 100% I diminished this to 80% — nonetheless completely usable — and labored for an additional hour, the battery dropping to 51%. For the third hour I tweaked the facility mode to ‘higher battery’, and it nonetheless fell dramatically, ending the three-hour stint at 29%. All I would been doing throughout this era was writing into internet apps, streaming music, and searching web sites. Do not count on something like a full working day on battery energy, for the Xeon-based mannequin no less than.

The ZBook 17 G6’s chassis offers loads of room for ports, slots — and even an optical drive.

Photos: HP Inc.

There are many connectivity choices. The proper edge homes the round-pin energy enter, a mini DisplayPort, a full-size HDMI port, two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a headset jack. In the direction of the entrance edge there’s a uncommon sight: an optical drive with pop-out caddy.
The left edge has an RJ-45 Ethernet port, three USB 3.1 ports (one with charging), an SD card reader and a SmartCard slot. 

All this makes the HP ZBook 17 G6 one of many best-connected laptops of any kind we have seen just lately, and will nicely imply that customers needn’t add a docking unit.

Conclusions

The HP ZBook 17 G6 is a significantly highly effective piece of package, designed to supply desktop-grade performance in a transportable bundle. That stated, few will need to carry this 3kg-plus beast very far, fairly often. It is bursting with ports and connectors so there is no want for a dock, and there is even an built-in optical drive.

The power to entry the innards for consumer upgrades is a giant plus level, however it is going to be price double-checking on battery life: my Xeon-based overview unit (not a UK specification) was not spectacular on this respect.

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