Mobile workstations are growing in popularity every year. This makes us extremely excited to test such laptops, as they differ quite drastically in the usage to the more convenient multimedia devices or the extremely powerful gaming solutions.

This is exactly what a device we have with us right now. However, the HP ZBook 15u G6 is nothing like the Lenovo ThinkPad P52 for example. As its name suggests, it houses a slightly less powerful, but a lot more efficient hardware (if you want the maxed-out versions HP has the ZBook 15 for you). For the main computing, there is a Whiskey Lake Core i5-8265U or a Core i7-8565U, while the graphics load is given to the AMD Radeon Pro WX3200. Here, both the CPU and the GPU are evolutions of the last-year model.

In addition to that, HP has loaded the laptop with some very neat goodies – a dedicated docking port, a fingerprint reader and even an IR face recognition system. On top of that, the ZBook 15u G6 complies with the MIL-STD-810G standard and has a spill-resistant keyboard.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-zbook-15u-g6/

Contents


Specs Sheet

HP ZBook 15u G6 – Specs


Dimensions


370 x 251 x 18 mm (14.57″ x 9.88″ x 0.71″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 1x USB Type-A 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1), Sleep and Charge
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.0 (3.1 Gen 1)
  • HDMI 1.4b
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack 3.5 mm combo
  • Ultra Slim Docking Connector
  • SmartCard Reader

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera 720p HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Dual-Array Microphone
  • Speakers 2 Stereo Speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Its package resembles nothing fancy on the outside, nor on the inside. The laptop is protected by a plastic antistatic bag, while the 65W charger (or 45W in some configurations) is located in a separate compartment.

Design and construction

So in terms of a footprint and overall build, the HP ZBook 15u G6 is quite unchanged from its predecessor. However, on the brights side, gone is the top plastic stripe that acted like an LTE antenna. The laptop also retained the 18 mm profile and 1.77kg weight, which makes it an extremely portable device, especially considering it is labeled as a mobile workstation.

Moving to the lid of the device, we first started to open it with a single hand, and to our surprise, the results were kind of hit or miss. Perhaps at 50% of the times, we were easily able to open the lid singe handed while the rest of the times, the base has lifted from the ground. If you take a look at the camera assembly, there are two circular modules on either side of it. They are IR blasters that help with the IR face recognition this laptop offers. As of the performance – it is fast and accurate, even in low light conditions.

Next, there is the base. Similarly, to the last-year model, it is not only home to the keyboard and the touchpad, but also to the speakers (which are hidden beneath the rather long grill) and a fingerprint reader. While, the reader itself is not very satisfying, as it is significantly slower than the IR face recognition, we were pretty happy with the keyboard and the touchpad.

First, the key travel is sufficient, and the actual feedback each key gives is very uniform and clicky. Add to that a fairly bright backlight and an anti-spill feature and you get a very decent keyboard experience. But wait! There’s more! Not only it features full-sized Number Pad keys, but it also has a proprietory nipple – quite similarly to Dell’s Latitudes, Lenovo’s ThinkPads and HP’s own EliteBook series. Despite that, we would definitely stick to the touchpad, which has a glass surface, dedicated mouse buttons (although they are meant for use with the nipple) and an NFC connectivity beneath it.

Since the speakers are right above the keyboard, on the bottom side you will only see a grill for ventilation, while the hot air will come out of the left side of the laptop.

Ports

On the left side of the laptop, you are going to see a single USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port with a charging function and a Smart Card slot. That means that on the I/O is predominantly located on the right side. There you will find the charging plug, a Thunderbolt port, as well as a proprietary docking port, an RJ-45 and HDMI connectors, and another USB Type-A 3.1 (Gen. 1) port.

Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

Once again, this is a pretty easy device to teardown. The backplate comes off when you unscrew the 10 Phillips head screws and then pry it from the chassis.

As our unit was configured with a dedicated GPU, there are two heat pipes in use for the cooling. What is kind of unpleasant is that the CPU and the GPU are placed very close to each other, which may impede the effectiveness of the cooling system.

Just beneath the two chips, there are two RAM DIMMs that are able to hold up to 32GB of DDR4 memory, while on their left, you can see the M.2 PCIe x4 NVMe drive slot.

Battery-wise there is a 56Wh unit, which looks a little small for the packaging. No, that 56Wh is not enough, but we certainly feel that HP could have fitted more.

Display quality

Expect our detailed display review of this laptop really soon.

Drivers

All drivers and utilities for the ZBook 15u G6 can be found on HP’s official web page: https://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/hp-zbook-15u-g6-mobile-workstation/22892886

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This laptop has a 56Wh battery pack onboard.

With it, the ZBook 15u G6 achieved exceptional battery life – more than 14 hours of Web browsing and a little bit less than 15 hours of video playback.

CPU options

As this is a mobile workstation laptop, it is expected to see a mobile chip operating inside of it. The two options for you are the Core i5-8265U and the Core i7-8565U – both 4-core/8-thread solutions.


HP ZBook 15u G6 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the HP ZBook 15u G6 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which HP ZBook 15u G6 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

If you don’t need any significant graphics power, you can go for the integrated UHD Graphics 620. However, HP has got your back with a dedicated “professional-grade” GPU – the AMD Radeon Pro WX3200, which comes with 4GB of GDDR5 memory.


HP ZBook 15u G6 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the HP ZBook 15u G6 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which HP ZBook 15u G6 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-8565U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
HP ZBook 15u G6 2.53 GHz (B+41%) @ 64°C 2.03 GHz (B+13%) @ 56°C 2.00 GHz (B+11%) @ 60°C
ASUS ZenBook 15 UX534 3.32 GHz (B+84%) @ 85°C 3.10 GHz (B+72%) @ 89°C 2.68 GHz (B+49%) @ 83°C
MSI PS63 Modern 3.17 GHz (B+76%) @ 95°C 2.56 GHz (B+42%) @ 95°C 2.32 GHz (B+29%) @ 95°C
ASUS ZenBook 15 UX533 3.92 GHz (B+118%) @ 65°C 3.82 GHz (B+112%) @ 79°C 2.71 GHz (B+51%) @ 75°C
HP Spectre x360 15 (15-df0000) 3.10 GHz (B+72%) @ 69°C 1.92 GHz (B+7%) @ 61°C 1.88 GHz (B+4%) @ 64°C
Dell Inspiron 14 5482 2-in-1 3.12 GHz (B+73%) @ 96°C 2.56 GHz (B+42%) @ 94°C 2.01 GHz (B+12%) @ 76°C

Comfort during full load

In terms of noise, the laptop doesn’t get too loud under heavy load. Additionally, the hottest spot we measured was about 43C and unsurprisingly – it was the nipple.

Verdict

Putting it straight, the HP ZBook 15u G6 is not really a significant upgrade over the ZBook 15u G5. In fact, it is pretty much the same device with a refreshed processor and GPU. While to some extent both of them work better than their previous versions, the differences are just too small.

Especially, when it comes to the CPU. Last year, we saw a significant underperformance from the Core i7-8550U. Now, things are just the same, with the processor not being utilized fully (and we all know the potential of Core i7-8565U). Nevertheless, the ZBook 15u G6 still stays a very respectable piece of hardware.

The upgradability is good with the two RAM DIMMs and the single M.2 storage slot. Despite the lack of a 2.5″ SATA drive support, we were happy to see four PCIe lanes for the M.2 drive, which makes it support extremely high speeds. Moreover, the laptop is equipped with a Thunderbolt connector.

So, what is its greatest strength? – definitely the battery life. It goes to 14 hours of Web browsing and around 15 hours of video playback.

In terms of the business usability – you have a great keyboard and touchpad, with the former having long keystrokes and tactile feedback, and the latter being super smooth and housing an NFC antenna inside. Additionally, the laptop is equipped with a fingerprint reader and an IR face recognition system, to please those security freaks. If we have to be completely honest (and we do) the fingerprint reader is far from the best in the industry – it is pretty accurate, but its speed is mediocre.

We would gladfully give this device an Editor’s choice award if it wasn’t for the sub-par performance – especially in longer tasks. While the CPU is the bomb when it comes to short tasks, like editing an image in Photoshop or doing some Excell maths, as soon as you try to render a video, the clock speeds plummet drastically. It is the same with the graphics card – at the beginning of a benchmark it performs really nice, but when you go five or more minutes into the test, its performance gets halved.

Pros

  • Thin and light form factor
  • Packed with security and usability features
  • Comfortable input devices
  • Astounding battery life
  • IR face recognition and fingerprint reader onboard
  • Thunderbolt support and PCIe x4 M.2 slot

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-zbook-15u-g6/





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