HP ZBook 15 G2
Super-Powered Mobile Workstation
New hardware is always great, but it can be tough to choose the right laptop when you need a lot of power on the road. If you prefer a Windows platform, the HP ZBook 15 G2 is an excellent choice, plus it offers connectivity options that are out of this world.
Under the Windows 7 Professional 64 OS (and a Windows 8.1 Pro license), the ZBook 15 G2 (tested) gets its faster-than-a-speeding-bullet superpowers from an Intel Core i7-4810MQ processor with Intel HD Graphics 4600 (2.8 GHz, up to 3.8 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology), 6-MB cache, and vPro technology. The more-than-capable NVIDIA Quadro K2100M, 2-GB graphics card, along with 16 GB of RAM may not give you x-ray vision, but the 720-p HD video conferencing camera is sharp and works well—even in low lighting. The DTS audio is respectable for a laptop, and external speakers (or headphones) sound great. HP also offers video and audio expansion options.
For connectivity, the HP ZBook 15 G2 offers a complete range of ports including: three USB 3 (with one charging port); one USB 2; one Thunderbolt 2 (for the ultimate in throughput and hub options); one DisplayPort 1.2; an optional second battery bay; and of course, a docking connector. Add to that the ZBook's slots for ExpressCard/54, SD, and a smartcard reader, and there isn't much that you can't do with this powerful workstation. Also worth noting is the excellent signal reception of its Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 for 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2×2) WiFi.
The only kryptonite for the ZBook 15 G2 might be that the internal storage capacity of its super-speedy SSD is only 256 GB, which, by today's standards, could be larger to accommodate more scratch disk space. For an additional $500, HP offers an optional version that includes both an SSD and a 1-TB, 7200-rpm drive.
Company: Hewlett-Packard Development Company
Price: $2,499 as tested
Hot: Speed/performance; DTS audio; display quality; connectivity ports
Not: SSD capacity