World's First Workstation Ultrabook
For those who need a thin, lightweight, fast laptop, the new HP ZBook 14 Mobile Workstation may be for you. At 3.57 lbs, this lightweight fighter packs a heavyweight punch. Our test model featured an optional Intel Core i7-4600U processor, 16 GB of DDR3L memory, a 240-GB SATA SSD, and an AMD FirePro M4100 GPU. The system uses AMD Dynamic Switchable Graphics technology, so it can use the Intel Core i7's HD Graphics 4400 integrated GPU when you don't need discrete GPU power.
The HP ZBook's 14″, 1920×1080-pixel display provided a crisp, clear picture. Text and images were sharp, giving brilliant resolution and accurate color display. Animation and video looked impressive, as well, with the action scenes filled with explosions and motion trailed perfectly.
Because of its small size, I thought it may not live up to the workstation power provided by the i7 and the video card. I put it through its paces on many different projects, beginning with a video project I was working on in After Effects. It didn't skip a beat on a Full-HD 5-minute video with full animation (intro, lower thirds, credits, etc.) and special effects. The render time was faster than expected and easily beat my current laptop. Next, I imported a photo shoot into Lightroom and again, I was impressed with the import speed. Finally, I used this to create many ads for various publications using Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Even with all three programs open, it didn't slow down or hold me back.
With the ZBook 14's light weight and powerful configuration, I found myself using this exclusively on a recent two-week business trip. It was my go-to for creative work, and I used it on the plane instead of my iPad or Macbook Pro due to the size and capabilities. You owe it to yourself to take a good look if you're in the market for a new laptop.
Price: Starting at $1,399; $2,349 as tested
Hot: Power and graphics; antiglare screen; battery life; switchable battery