HP ZBook Firefly 14 G7 review: A compact and durable entry-level mobile workstation

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  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent
  • $1,979.00

Pros

  • Compact and robust entry-level mobile workstation
  • FHD and 4K screens available
  • Touch-screen and SureView (privacy) options
  • Optional mobile broadband

Cons

  • Moderate battery life with 4K screen
  • 10th generation Intel processors

Mobile workstations don't have to be big, heavy 17-inch behemoths, and HP proves the point with its ZBook Firefly 14 G7 -- its smallest and lightest ZBook device. Powered by a 10th generation Core i7 processor with Nvidia Quadro graphics, the ZBook Firefly's 14-inch display can go up to 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution. 

If it were placed among several standard 14-inch laptops, it would be difficult to pick out the HP ZBook Firefly 14 G7 as a mobile workstation. It's relatively slim and compact, although it weighs 1.41kg thanks to a robust MIL-STD 810H-tested build. I could barely bend the lid more than a fraction in my hands, for example.  

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The 14-inch ZBook 14 G7 weighs from 1.41kg and has undergone MIL-STD 810H durability testing. The display comes in FHD and 4K resolutions with touch functionality available, along with optional HP SureView screen privacy. It's powered by 10th generation Intel Core i7 processors with up to 64GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage.

Images: HP Inc

The ZBook Firefly 14 G7 occupies just 32.3cm by 21.46 cm of desktop space, and is 1.79 cm thick. The styling is restrained, with mid-tone slate grey predominant both inside and out. It loosens up a bit with the characteristic ZBook 'Z' on the lid, which is somewhat reminiscent of a superhero's marque. 

Another notable styling point is the angled design of back edge of the chassis and bottom of the lid. It's a subtle feature, showing good attention to detail.

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The laptop's back edge has a stylish angled look.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The laptop's 170-degree screen hinge doesn't quite reach flat to the desk, which is a pity but not a deal-breaker. HP rather optimistically calls the screen bezels 'narrow' in its product information, but no measurements are given in the product specifications. The top bezel easily accommodates the 720p webcam which has its own sliding privacy cover; some models, including my review unit, also have an IR sensor for Windows Hello authentication and an ambient light sensor. 

There are two configurations for the 14-inch screen available off the page in the UK. My review unit had a 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS panel with an anti-glare finish. It does reflect a little bit, but not enough to be irritating. At its maximum 400 nits the display was too bright for everyday working, but it would deliver presentations wonderfully. 

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Standard FHD (1920 x 1,080) resolution is also available, with either 250 nits or 1000 nits brightness. This lower-resolution option comes in touch and non-touch versions and can include HP's SureView privacy, which makes it near-impossible for people to the left or right of the laptop user to view the screen. 

As well as a decent webcam, high-quality audio is increasingly important in the remote-working/video-call era. The ZBook Firefly 14 G7 has speaker grilles flanking the keyboard, with the Bang & Olufsen speakers directing their output upwards and outwards. They deliver plenty of volume, and spoken word audio is really crisp, although I'd have liked richer bass tones. 

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HP's Premium Quiet Keyboard is backlit and spill-resistant, with speaker grilles to either side. There's a pointing stick as well as a touchpad, and a fingerprint reader beneath the keyboard, to the right.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The keyboard has well-spaced, nicely weighted keys that I found easy to touch-type on at my normal speed. The sound is a bit clacky, and rather loud for working in quiet spaces if you don't want to irritate those around you. There is a pointing stick between the G, H and B keys and two physical buttons designed for use with it above the touchpad. The pointing stick is responsive and easy to work with, although it takes some getting used to the way the cursor accelerates the further you push it. 

The Fn row includes a programmable key that can accommodate up to four functions -- alone, and with either Shift, Ctrl or Alt. These range from opening an app, website, file or folder, executing a predefined key sequence, or entering a pre-saved text. This isn't a new idea from HP, but it's nice to see it here. A fingerprint reader on the far right of the wrist rest offers an alternative to the Windows Hello webcam for authentication. 

My review unit did not match any of the four off-the-shelf configurations on HP's UK website at the time of writing. It had a 10th generation Intel Core i7-10610U processor with 32GB of RAM, discrete Nvidia Quadro P520 graphics with 4GB of dedicated video RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Pre-configured models start at £1,258.80 (inc. VAT; £1,049 ex. VAT). All have the Nvidia GPU, with the entry-level specification including a Core i7-10510U processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a 250-nits FHD touch-screen. 

The top-end £1,558.80 (inc. VAT; £1,299 ex. VAT) UK configuration has a Core i7-10510U processor, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 400-nits 4K display. Bespoke configuration options top out at 64GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage. 

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Right side (top): Nano SIM, 2x USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, power. Left side (above): 2x USB 3.1, 3.5mm headphone jack, SmartCard Reader.

Images: HP Inc

Ports and connectors include an optional SmartCard reader on the left edge, along with a 3.5mm headset jack and a pair of USB 3.1 ports, one with charging capability. On the right edge there's a full-size HDMI port, a round-pin power connector and a pair of USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports. If the optional mobile broadband is configured, there will be a Nano SIM slot on the right side too. 

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One area where this laptop could let users down is battery life. HP claims 'up to' 14 hours from the ZBook Firefly 14 G7's 56Wh battery, but my review sample had a 4K screen, which may have contributed to the battery falling from 100% to 63% in just three hours of relatively light workloads for a mobile workstation. I was working into web apps and doing some video and audio streaming, rather than running demanding creative apps, for example.  

With light workloads, you might get all-day (8-hour) battery life, but you must expect less if you push this laptop hard. Fortunately, fast charging is available: HP claims 50% in about 30 minutes, and at one point when the battery reached 37% I plugged in for half an hour and it lifted to 65%. 

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Image: HP Inc

Conclusions 

Small, light and reasonably nippy, HP's ZBook Firefly 14 G7 has what it takes to be a good entry-level mobile workstation. But 'entry-level' is the key word here, with 10th generation Intel Core i7 processors across the board and FHD screens on many models. Battery life is disappointing too, at least if you opt for a 4K screen, as on my review unit.  

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Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) Security Chip
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core i7 (11th Gen) 1185G7 / 3 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 4.8 GHz
Number of Cores Quad-Core
Cache L3 - 12 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Features Hyper-Threading Technology, Intel Smart Cache, Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Cache Memory
Type L3 cache
RAM
Memory Speed 3200 MHz
Configuration Features 2 x 8 GB
Technology DDR4 SDRAM
Data Integrity Check non-ECC
Rated Memory Speed 3200 MHz
Memory
Technology DDR4 SDRAM - non-ECC
Speed 3200 MHz
Form Factor SO-DIMM 260-pin
Slots Qty 2
Empty Slots 0
Environmental Parameters
Humidity Range Operating 10 - 90% (non-condensing)
Display
LCD Backlight Technology WLED backlight
Widescreen Display Yes
Monitor Features 45% NTSC color gamut, anti-glare
Type LED
TFT Technology IPS
Diagonal Size (metric) 35.6 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation Full HD
Hard Drive
Type SSD
SSD Form Factor M.2 2280
Capacity 512 GB
Hard Drive Features NVM Express (NVMe), Self-Encrypting Drive, triple-level cell (TLC)
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Sound Dual stereo speakers, HP World Facing Microphone multi-array digital microphone
Features Bang & Olufsen Audio
Input
Type ClickPad, keyboard, pointing stick
Features gesture function, multi-touch clickpad, precision touchpad, programmable buttons, spill-resistant
Communications
Wireless Protocol NFC
Bluetooth Class Class 2
Wireless Controller Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX 201
Features Miracast, dual stream (2x2)
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
Processor
CPU Type Core i7
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 3 GHz
Battery
Capacity 53 Wh
Cells 3-cell
Technology lithium polymer
Run Time (Up To) 14 hour(s)
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 65 Watt, 5 / 9 / 12 / 15 / 20 V
Connections & Expansion
Interfaces HDMI
2 x USB4 (supports Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort 1.4 Alt Mode) (Power Delivery, Sleep & Charge)
USB 3.1 Gen 1 (charging)
USB 3.1 Gen 1
Headphone/microphone combo jack
Header
Brand HP
Localization English
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Networking
Data Link Protocol IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11ax, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, NFC
Compliant Standards IEEE 802.11i, IEEE 802.1x, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED
Miscellaneous
Color turbo silver
Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) Security Chip, fingerprint reader
Features BIOS Absolute Persistence, HP Fast Charge, Master Boot Record Security, Power On Authentication, Pre-boot Authentication
Compliant Standards A-Tick, BSMI, CCC, CIT, CP65, CSA, FCC, GOST, ICCP, ICES, IEEE 1680, KCC, RoHS, SABS, UL, VCCI, WEEE, low halogen
Manufacturer Selling Program HP Smart Buy
Theft/Intrusion Protection security lock slot (cable lock sold separately)
Security Slot Type Kensington nano security slot
Monitor
Diagonal Size 14 in
Image Brightness 250 cd/m2
System
Notebook Type notebook
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 512 GB
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) Security Chip
Security Devices fingerprint reader
Dimensions & Weight
Width 12.7 in
Depth 8.4 in
Height 0.7 in
Audio Output
Compliant Standards High Definition Audio
Manufacturer Warranty
Type 3 years warranty
Environmental Standards
EPEAT Level EPEAT Gold
Physical Characteristics
Weight 2.98 lbs
Power
Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Edition
Input Device
Backlight Yes
Interfaces
USB-C Ports Qty 2
USB-C Features USB Power Delivery
Comment Power Delivery, Sleep & Charge, charging
Service & Support
Type 3 years warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Full Contract Period 3 years
Shock & Vibration Tolerance
Shock Acceleration (Operating) 40 g
Shock Acceleration (Non-operating) 200 g
Vibration Acceleration (Operating) 0.75 g
Vibration Frequency Range (Operating) RMS (random)
Vibration Acceleration (Non-operating) 1.5 g
Vibration Frequency Range (Non-operating) RMS (random)

Where To Buy

Price
$1,979.00

Where To Buy

HP ZBook Firefly 14 G8 Mobile Workstation - 14" - Core i7 1185G7 - 16 GB RAM - 512 GB SSD - US

Part Number: 3V366UT#ABA
Price
$1,979.00