This mainstream 15.6-inch delivers far more grunt than its lightweight sibling, the ZBook 14. It can handle a high-end CPU (up to the Intel Core i7-4900MQ), a mid-range GPU (up to the Nvidia Quadro K2100M) – an ideal combination for CAD/BIM.
Internal access is a breeze thanks to the excellent HP Easy Access Door. Simply flip a switch and the back panel pops off.
Everything is beautifully laid out inside. RAM slots are marked clearly meaning upgrades can be done in seconds. The 2.5-inch hard drive, secured by a couple of screws, is eased out with a green lever. No other mobile workstation can beat the ZBook 15 in terms of its serviceability.
It’s also a joy to use. The ‘island’ keyboard and trackpad are superb. Wireless and sound can be switched on/off instantly using two buttons located above the numeric keypad.
Our test machine’s HP DreamColor panel is also excellent, by far the best HD display on test this month. Colours are vivid and don’t drop off at wider viewing angles, but you pay a premium for this high-quality IPS panel. There are some lower-cost options, all of them HD.
Kitted out with an Core i7-4700MQ CPU and Nvidia Quadro K2100M GPU our test machine delivered solid if not spectacular performance. Its 8GB of RAM is a touch light for most workflows, but with capacity for 32GB this can be easily remedied.
Storage takes the middle ground between SSD and HDD, courtesy of a 2.5-inch 750GB hard drive and a 32GB mSATA SSD, which acts as a cache drive. There are plenty of other options including a 128GB mSATA.
There’s also scope for expansion by swapping out the DVD/RW for a drive upgrade bay to house a second 2.5-inch drive.
There are 4 x USB ports, three of them USB 3.0, but the machine also comes with Thunderbolt for exceptional transfer rates.
Overall, the ZBook 15 is an impressive machine, well built with exceptional serviceability. But quality like this doesn’t come cheap. Our test machine will set you back the best part of £2,000 and while this includes the superb DreamColor display some will find it hard to justify for a mid-range mobile workstation for CAD.