HP Announces Redesigned ZBook, EliteBook 800 Notebooks And New Thunderbolt Dock

HP announced all-new versions of its ZBook workstation notebooks and EliteBook 800 series enterprise notebooks, along with a new Thunderbolt Dock G2 that optionally functions as a voice conference device.

Say Hello To The Refreshed ZBook 14u And 15u

The ZBook product line are HP’s workstation notebooks and convertibles. These products typically combine higher-end CPUs with discrete graphics and rugged bodies. HP has refreshed two stalwarts of the the lineup, the mid-range 14u and 15u notebooks. The new models are complete redesigns and have adopted the full aluminum construction that HP introduced with the earlier released EliteBook 1000 series. As a result, both have become thinner and lighter. The 14u, which was previously thicker than its 15” counterpart, is now 17.9mm thick, down from 22.1mm. Weight is decreased to 3.27lbs, down from 3.61lbs. The new 15u is 18.6mm thick, down from 19.9mm, and weighs 3.89lbs rather than 4.18lbs. None of this has compromised durability, however, as the new ZBooks continue to pass MIL-810 STD durability tests.

Within, the new 14u and 15u trade the 7th-gen dual-core Intel CPUs for 8th-gen quad-core ones. More importantly, however, the predecessors’ three-year-old AMD FirePro W4190M GPU, which is actually based on the four-year-old HD 8790, will see an upgrade to a yet-unspecified newer AMD GPU. It’ll be a welcome upgrade, because the new EliteBooks can be had with 4K touch screens.

And The New EliteBook 800 Series

The EliteBook products are HP’s high-end business notebooks. They’re not as powerful as the ZBook mobile workstations, but what they lose in processing power, they gain in portability. Similar to the ZBooks, the new EliteBook 800 loses its old utilitarian design for the style of its thinner brother, the EliteBook 1000. The new 800 series continues to come in three sizes: 13, 14, and 15”. Their thickness and weight ranges from 17.7mm and 2.94lbs for the 13” model to 18.25mm and 3.94lbs, for the 15” model. The new models also continue to pass MIL-810 STD durability tests like their predecessors.

As expected, all the new EliteBook 800 notebooks will see their CPUs upgraded to 8th-gen quad-core parts, but the 14 and 15” models will gain the option of having an AMD RX 540 discrete GPU. (Their predecessors only had Intel integrated graphics). Other features of the new 800 series include a brighter 400 nit screen and a faster charging battery.

We don’t have full specs for new ZBook 14u and 15u or the new EliteBook 800 series yet. Both are expected to be available in February. Pricing for the ZBooks will begin at around $1,100. The Elitebooks will be priced from around $1,050.

Meet The Thunderbolt Dock G2

Announced alongside the new USB-C-equipped monitors is HP’s Thunderbolt Dock G2. It’s quite unlike conventional Thunderbolt or USB-C docks we’ve seen because it does more than just provide ports and charging for your notebook. At the top of the dock is a modular portion that can fit a Bang & Olufsen-branded teleconferencing device. With that device attached, you gain quick-access controls for Skype, and the dock becomes a speaker and voice-canceling microphone. Unfortunately, we don’t know much else about the dock except that it can support up to two 4K displays. 

HP says the price of the Thunderbolt Dock G2 will be announced closer to its release in May.

  • elizabethjcfranchina
    Will the new Thunderbolt docks not be a complete disaster like the previous ones were? I had to order 100 of the G1s for a project last year and they simply did not work with the current Bios revision of the ZBook out of the box.
  • Giroro
    I have no choice but to work with a last-gen Zbook, and it is bad. Like, very bad. It has massive problems with broken drivers, and HP's answer to our corporate IT was essentially a shrug and a middle finger.

    Every time I boot I have to remove and re-plug this horrible "dock" (more like an overblown USB hub) multiple times until eventually all the attached devices initialize. Usually the first time I get monitor but no mouse and keyboard, then I get monitor and mouse but no ethernet, and on the third attempt I get mouse and ethernet but I need to screw around with windows projector settings to get the monitor back.
    Also, none of the non-keyboard buttons (wifi, volume, brightness, etc) or middle click for the touchpad work. My Zbook can't even detect when headphones are plugged in. IT isn't willing to touch the drivers to try and fix it because reinstalling that "dock" means a full re-image of the computer.

    And don't even get me started about how badly designed the dock itself is. The thunderbolt input is on the left of the dock, but the output on the laptop is on the right, forcing a long loop of cable that mixes with all the other cables that stick out of the dock at all angles, not just the back. You can't set the laptop on the dock. It doesn't look like the dock was supposed to go behind the laptop because it has a power button and headphone port on the front(?). There dosn't seem to be any way to attach it to a wall or something. I really have no idea where they intended people to put this stupid hub thing.

    But if HP is doubling down on the thunderbolt hub that everyone hates, then I imagine they will continue to lose a LOT of enterprise customers. Certainly "thinner, lighter, and somehow less connectivity" is not going to win back companies that are looking for engineering/design workhorses.
  • sellputcall
    I am researching a new laptop with a 15.6" screen and 8th gen intel 7 cpu and 2 drives.
    I like the specs of new 15u model and if it has a dock designed for it, even better.

    Seeing Giroro's comment above makes me hesitate about their new HP zbook.
    I guess I'll have to wait for reviews on this.
    Could not find it on hp's website. I guess it hasnt been released yet.