When Guys Consider Computers…

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When guys consider computers, there are two main categories:  Entertainment and Business.  While you can often find a laptop that works for both, eventually, the climb up the capabilities ladder will split one from the other.  The split happens as you head north of $1,500 so we’re talking some serious iron here, or brushed aluminum which brings   near military spec durability this Hewlett Packard 15u G4 mobile workstation. 

The Z-Book on my production bench displaying NewTek’s latest version of Lightwave 3D animation software. It is a delight to manipulate the staged objects and parameters using one’s fingertips!


Since 2008 HP mobile workstations have represented a category of computer that allow professionals like financial analysts, engineers, film editors, animators and architects to take their most complex projects home, on trains and planes.  And yeah, they make awesome game platforms too.  Can you say, “overkill?”

Offered online at a stunning promotional price – for a mobile workstation – of $1,729, the 15u G4 is compact (15.6”), light (4.18 lbs.) and ultra thin (0.79”).  Unlike the comparably price Apple MacBook Pro 13.3” laptop, the HP’s battery is user replaceable, with 51 watt hour’s duration and can recharge to 50% capacity in 30 minutes!   

Side-by-side comparison of HD video (1080 x 1924) and 4K video, displayed live on the Z-Book screen to demonstrate its ability to distinguish between and display both HD and 4K quality video.

Do you crave power?  Even though the 15u G4 is the “value performance” junior entry of four ZBook choices (“full performance” being the Zbook Studio, ZBook 15 and ZBook 17), it offers such benchmark components as a 7th gen Intel processors, AMD FirePro™ W4190M (2 GB) professional graphics, either a UHD or FHD touch panel display, up to 32 GB of standard memory, 2 terrabytes of solid state storage, USB 3.1 Gen1 and two USB 3.0 sockets and a numeric keypad.

Sure, you can play most modern games at full 1080p at 60FPS, but you can also run Adobe Premier in 4K resolution, render NewTek Lightwave animations, create a dinosaur skeleton on an HK Affinity A17 3D printer or run an Econometric Systems’s NLOGIT statistical model while flying to Europe on KLM.

While the Z-Book does not include an on-board DVD drive – and many new business computers doe not – one can easily connect an off-board DVD drive and use it only when necessary, thus saving weight and battery draw.

The HP ZBook 15u G4 makes it easy for data intensive computer users to upgrade to professional workstation capabilities by providing many of the features of an “ultimate performance” laptop 

costing as much as $3,600.  Our test model, for instance, priced at about $1,700 featured a quad-core, 7th generation Intel processor, which was ISV certified to run such leading brand software as Autodesk and Adobe.  The touch-screen HD screen was sharp and bright.  The 512GB solid state drive allowed me to load up all the test software I could find and still had room for 4K raw video files.

While this ultra thin form factor could not accommodate a DVD drive or HDMI port, it did offer a VGA jack, a smart card reader, RJ-45 “dropjaw” Ethernet port, SIM module slot, SD UHS-II Flash Media slot, and 3 USB slots. 

For your personal security in a hostile world, the computer authorizes your identity with a fingerprint reader and it biometrically verifies your identity every 15 minutes as you work!  If you do manage to get hacked, the BIOS automatically self-heals using backup software from a secret location onboard.

I’ve been using this laptop as if it were my own for two months and find that I prefer using it over the HP Elite Book 8560W, with which I have been mated for eaily 5 years!  The ZBook is lighter, larger, brighter, higher resolution, just as powerful if not more, and has a touch screen.  The only drawback is that I simply can’t get used to Windows 10.  I won’t elaborate on that and avoid any dispersions of Microsoft or the tendency of Windows 10 to initiate itself as one big electronic billboard of ads.  Let’s just say, I’m too old to learn something so different and so resistant to being what I want.

Computers, like cars, should be so easy to drive and drive well without reading a manual or taking lessons.  Lessons are for kids.

Disclosure: Boomer Guys was provided with the hardware tested in this review by Hewlett Packard for a limited time loan. However, the opinions expressed are my own.

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George started writing professionally at 16 with an interview of Ray Charles. He founded a leading NYC multilingual…

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