We purchased the HP Zbook Firefly 15 G8 (Check latest price on Amazon) so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
For many working professionals, the HP Zbook Firefly 15 G8 could be the perfect laptop. It’s a powerful business laptop that’s light and packed with features, making it ideal for photographers, graphic designers, and engineers. I put it through its paces for 40 hours, evaluating productivity, graphics processing, battery life, and other factors.
Design: Seriously sleek
The HP Zbook Firefly 15 G8 is surprisingly compact for the powerful components it contains. It’s only 0.76 inches thick and weighs 3.74 pounds, making it surprisingly portable for a machine with such aggressive specs.
It has a professional aesthetic that is both modern and solidly businesslike, with the large shiny “Z” adorning its lid as its most prominent feature. This is especially useful if you have a last name that starts with Z, in which case the laptop appears to be monogrammed specifically for you.
The G8 is just as appealing on the inside, in a fashionably serious way. In any office or other professional setting, the laptop will look right at home. The keyboard is full-sized and has backlighting that is controlled by an ambient light sensor; it has nice texturing and a number pad, making typing a pleasure. A row of media and shortcut keys, including a programmable key, runs along the top of the keyboard.
The trackpad is large and easy to use, and the G8 includes HP’s traditional pointing stick, which many professionals prefer. In addition to the keys within the trackpad, there are large, tactile left and right mouse keys at the top of the trackpad for use with the pointer. The end result is a laptop that can accommodate a wide range of users and their preferences.
The G8 has a 3.5mm jack, a Smart Card reader, a USB Type-A port, two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, and an HDMI 2.0b port. The included USB-C charger provides power right out of the box, but there’s also a dedicated power port if you need both Thunderbolt ports. A SIM card slot is also available for 5G cellular connectivity. The only thing missing from this laptop is an SD card reader, which would have been a nice addition.
The G8’s excellent design extends beyond its aesthetics—a it’s machine that’s built to last. Sanitization is also important, and this laptop is designed specifically for it. It’s rated for 1,000 cleaning cycles and comes with HP Easy Clean software that can be turned on to prevent accidental key presses while cleaning. The point is that if multiple people will be using the same machine, it can be sanitized easily and thoroughly between users.
The G8 is TCO certified as a sustainably built IT product, with recycled materials making up a large portion of the laptop. The packaging is made of recycled materials as well.
Related: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A1 Review
Setup Process: Straightforward
There’s not much to say about setting up the Firefly; it’s mostly just a standard Windows 10 install, though there are a few options tailored to businesses setting up machines for employees. You’ll also need to supply and insert a SIM card from your cellular provider if you want to use the laptop’s 5G capability.
What’s New: All-round upgrade
The G8 Zbook Firefly is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the G7 Zbook Firefly. Not only do you get the most up-to-date components, but the overall value of a given configuration has significantly increased. It’s enough of an improvement to make G7 owners envious of the G8.
Performance: Power for the road
When it comes to processing and graphics power, the Firefly 15 G8 is no slouch for such a thin and light laptop. An Intel Core vPro i7-1165G7 processor is at its heart, which is not only Intel’s latest-generation processor but is also optimized for productivity and creative tasks. There’s also 32GB of DDR4 RAM for multitasking and RAM-intensive programs like Photoshop.
The Nvidia T500 graphics card is similarly focused on professional productivity and creativity, and the 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD ensures fast data transfer speeds and responsiveness. While 512GB is sufficient, a full terabyte of storage would have been preferable, but this is understandable given the laptop’s highly connected nature, which means you can rely on cloud storage more reliably if you use its 5G capability.
In PCMark 10, the G8 performed admirably across the board, with scores exceeding 6,000 and even 7,000 in a variety of categories. Only a poor video editing score dragged the overall average down. This matches the results of the GFX bench, which showed an overall score of 13,892 frames, as well as real-world performance.
When it comes to processor and graphics capability, the Firefly 15 G8 is no slouch for such a thin and light laptop.
The Firefly 15 G8 is built for 2D work like Photoshop, which it excels at, as well as design tools like AutoCAD. It works great as long as you don’t require a lot of onboard graphics power for 3D work. Unless you use HP’s ZCentral software to connect to a powerful workstation PC remotely.
I’ll go into more depth about that when we get to connectivity, but suffice it to say that the G8 is a highly specialized computer built to provide enough of power as a very mobile laptop while simultaneously providing connectivity for increased productivity.
Though it’s not critical on a laptop like this, I’ll point out that, while it’s not meant for gaming, you’ll be able to play less graphically demanding games on it. You won’t be able to play the latest and greatest AAA titles, but it will work for indie games and competitive experiences like DOTA 2.
Display: Bright and accurate
The G8’s 4K resolution display was clearly designed for pros. With 100 percent DCI-P3 coverage and HP’s DreamColor technology to assure trustworthy color accuracy and optimize battery life, this 15.6-inch screen is all about color accuracy.
It looks incredible, bringing photographs and videos to life. This is critical for professional work, especially in the fields of photography and graphic design.
The display’s excellent resolution makes it ideal for detail-oriented work, and it’s bright enough to use even outside. The G8 also has a light sensor, which allows the display to dim or brighten to the ideal level for the lighting conditions.
Related: ViewSonic M1+ Portable Projector Review
Connectivity: High-speed mobility
The G8 comes with more than just the conventional connectivity options seen in most laptops. It includes not only Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, but also 5G cellular capability. This means that, with a SIM card installed, the G8 can deliver a high-speed internet connection no matter where you are.
The G8 comes with more than just the conventional connectivity options seen in most laptops.
In order to use HP’s ZCentral Remote Boost, you’ll need this level of high-speed connectivity. Essentially, you may link to a more powerful workstation PC back at the office and overcome the inherent limits of a mobile device for graphics-intensive applications that the G8 can’t do. On the Firefly 15 G8, ZCentral provides access to a wide range of features. In 2020, the film industry made extensive use of this technology to overcome the challenges provided by distant work.
Camera: Enhanced privacy
For the most part, the webcam on the Firefly 15 G8 is quite standard for a laptop. Its 720p camera is adequate for video conversations, but it does include infrared capability, which is a potentially handy bonus because it allows you to use Windows Hello. An extra layer of secrecy is provided by a physical camera cover with a manual switch.
Related: H20 Audio Stream Waterproof MP3 Player Review
Audio: A cut above the competition
I’ve lately tried a number of unexpectedly good laptop speakers, so the Bang & Olufsen speakers incorporated into the Firefly 15 G8 are particularly excellent in terms of their sound.
I use 2Cellos’ cover of “Thunderstruck” as a speaker benchmark, and the G8’s speakers were able to handle the song’s demanding bass end, which I’ve never been able to say of a laptop. Greta Van Fleet’s new CD “Battle at Garden’s Gate” sounded fantastic as well. The highs, mids, and bass are all beautifully represented.
The G8’s AI-based noise reduction for video conferencing is also noteworthy, allowing you to have conversations over the web even in relatively noisy and busy locations.
Security: Professional grade protection
Advanced security features are a crucial component of the Firefly 15 G8, making it ideal for professionals who need to protect sensitive data. The G8 contains a self-healing BIOS that automatically recovers from attacks or corruption, HP Sure Click that traps malware in an isolated virtual machine, and HP Sure Sense to recognize and guard against a variety of threats, in addition to the aforementioned physical webcam shutter.
You can also install DriveLock security measures as well as set a BIOS-level password. In the office, a smart card reader adds an extra layer of security.
Software: A lot going on
The G8 runs Windows 10 Professional, as you’d expect from a business-oriented tablet. This laptop features a lot of helpful functionality beneath the hood, much of which has already been addressed.
HP QuickDrop, which allows you to quickly and effortlessly transfer files from your phone to your laptop and vice versa, is one I haven’t mentioned before. This is a feature that I find especially useful because it eliminates the need to deal with actual connections.
Related: Roku Streambar Review
Battery Life: All workday long
The G8 can go for an astonishingly long time without needing to be recharged thanks to a range of power-saving features. HP claims 14 hours, which I found to be correct. It can easily last a whole workday.
The G8 can go for an astonishingly long time without needing to be recharged thanks to a range of power-saving features.
Price: Value in its niche
The Firefly 15 G8 isn’t cheap (Check latest price on Amazon), with an MSRP of $2,490 for the configuration I tested, and there are gaming laptops that provide better power specs for less money. However, for the right consumer, the G8’s professional, business-oriented capabilities provide a lot of value. This laptop is well worth the money for its targeted demographic.
HP Zbook Firefly 15 G8 vs. Razer Blade Pro 17
The Razer Blade Pro 17 is an enticing alternative to the HP Zbook Firefly 15 G8. If you don’t want the professional security, connection, or productivity capabilities that some people value, a similarly cost Blade Pro 17 setup will provide you a considerably more powerful GPU. The Zbook is a highly adaptable mobile professional workstation that can’t be topped for business use, but the Blade Pro 17 is the superior option if you need to conduct 3D graphics work or serious video editing on the road.
The Final Word
The HP Zbook Firefly 15 G8 is a laptop designed for working professionals in a number of sectors who require a high level of mobility. Its elegant form is suitable for a work environment, and it comes with a wide range of security and connectivity choices, making it extremely adaptable. The Firefly 15 G8 is the ultra-portable workplace laptop to beat, with a brilliant, extremely color correct screen.