Of the three laptops HP recently sent us, the HP ZBook Power G9 differs in that it’s a beefy, (corporate) workstation rather than an ultraportable. It’s not a laptop for everyone, but how good is it and will those who demand software certification and workstation-oriented graphics do well to buy it?
Table of Contents
- Design, Handling & Ergonomics
- Portability and battery life
- Price and availability
|Screen||15.6-inch, matte, 60Hz, 1,920 x 1,080, IPS, touchscreen display|
|Processor||3.8–5GHz Intel Core i9-12900HK CPU|
|Graphics||Nvidia RTX A2000 8GB GDDR6 RAM|
|Hard drive||2 x 1TB PCIe NVMe|
1 x Thunderbolt 4
2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
3.5mm audio jack
|Speakers||2 x speakers|
TPM 2.0 module
HP Wolf Security
|Dimensions||359 x 234 x 23mm|
Design, Handling & Ergonomics
The entire HP ZBook Power G9 is made of aluminium with the exterior being sand blasted. It looks great and will standout in both consumer and corporate environments. It’s also very robust and not overly heavy for a big, metal laptop.
Opening it up reveals the 15.6-inch, IPS, matte, touchscreen which has a Full HD resolution. It’s sharp but not the brightest and colours are a little muted. Creators may be a little concerned that it only supports 100 per cent of the basic, sRGB colour gamut and not the more-difficult DCI-P3 colour space.
Multimedia performance is somewhat average. Colours remain muted. Contrast is modest with details getting lost in bright areas and, although details remain in shadows, true blacks are washed out. Colour gradients regularly exhibit slight banding while monochromatic gradients display blocky artefacts, quickly.
It’s all passable, but remains one of the weakest screens we’ve seen in a while. The touchscreen responsiveness is good though and the screen folds down flat to show those opposite what you’ve worked upon. The 60Hz refresh rate is standard for a laptop of this type, but pixel response time is average meaning that fast-moving objects get a bit blurry. This will especially impact upon those planning to do any fast-and-frantic gaming in their downtime.
It’s worth noting that other SKUs of the HP ZBook Power G9 include Full 4K displays and those with Corning Gorilla Glass which may be better. However, they’re all listed as low-power screens which often suffer in similar ways.
The HP ZBook Power G9’s twin speakers are also a bit disappointing. They offer reasonable fidelity but don’t get very loud and there’s no bass to speak of. This is somewhat perturbing considering how good the speakers are in its MUCH smaller siblings.
The HD webcam is passable but quickly gets grainy in low light. It does feature a privacy slide and we approve of that. The dual-array mics are decent, though, and do a decent job of cancelling out background noise.
The keyboard is mostly full-sized and is made up of white-back-lit, Scrabble-tile keys. These are a little firm if you’re typing for extended periods but otherwise very accurate. There’s a number pad included but we were a little sad to see two, squashed arrow keys.
The trackpad is smooth and accurate and has a good clicking action although the clicks are a little loud.
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A fingerprint reader sits below the trackpad and is tied to a TPM 2.0 module. There’s no Windows Hello compatibility but HP’s corporate-grade Wolf Security is present. This provides all manner of features like chipset-level security, self-healing BIOS and inerrant protection against malware and bad actors.
In addition to the HP ZBook Power G9’s Wolf Security is the ISV certification. ISV means independent software vendors and relates to the likes of 3ds Max and niche industry applications like AECOsim Building Designer and ANSYS CFX. The likes of Adobe aren’t present (which is a little unusual) but certain apps are business-critical and their certification is a requirement to some organisations. The full list of certified applications is available here.
Ultimately, the ergonomics are a little disappointing, but they’re functional. However, if certification and corporate security are critical to your choice of laptop, then the HP ZBook Power G9 may have you covered.
Inside the HP ZBook Power G9 is a 3.8–5GHz Intel Core i9-12900HK CPU with 6 Performance cores and 8 Efficiency cores. It is flanked by 32GB DDR5-4800 (a maximum of 64GB can be installed) plus two, speedy PCIe 4 NVMe hard drives.
These combined to score an impressive 6,881 in the PCMark 10 general-computing test. It also scored 1,222 and 15,523 in the Cinebench, CPU-based rendering tests (R15 and R23 respectively). These are above-average scores, but not world-beating.
The HP ZBook Power G9’s 3D Performance comes via Nvidia’s RTX A2000 workstation graphics which favour accuracy for CAD designers and engineers over speed. We ran our gaming benchmarks anyway.
In the 3DMark ray-tracing tests it scored 1,168 in the new Speed Way test (average 11.7fps) and 2,808 in Port Royal (average 13fps). It also scored 5,295 (average 29.4fps) in the AAA-title-like Time Spy test and 5,809 (average 52.2fps) in the similar Fire Strike Extreme test. These scores illustrate that it won’t easily play all of the latest and greatest games.
It did manage 38,855 (average 254fps) in the much-easier 3DMark Night Raid test which demonstrates its ability to play casual and competitive games. In our new CS:GO tests it averaged 262fps. This dropped to a 45fps average for the slowest, one per cent of framerates (1% Low benchmark) which shows it can play this demanding, competitive game, competitively.
Ultimately, the HP ZBook Power G9 offers above-average 2D performance and average 3D performance in our gaming-oriented tests. But, it’s worth labouring the point that the workstation graphics aren’t designed for gaming.
The USB-A ports are disappointingly slow and the HDMI 2.0 port is rather old. At least (inside) there’s the latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connections.
Portability and battery life
The HP ZBook Power G9’s solid, aluminium chassis is very solid and should easily survive life on the road. It’s also MIL-STD 810H for robustness. It weighs 2.05KG which isn’t light but we’ve seen much heavier laptops with these dimensions. The reduced-size power supply adds a modest 432g to the bulk.
It ran the PCMark Modern Office for an impressive 14 hours 30 minutes which is significantly more than a day out of the office.
Price and availability
Our version of the HP ZBook Power G9 costs $4,099 and is widely available along with slightly different configurations.
We haven’t reviewed too many mobile workstations lately so we have little to compare it to. It’s designed for a niche audience which will do extensive due diligence when establishing whether it’s suited to their particular requirements. But, for regular consumer and business users, there are many better options available.
HP ZBook Power G9 results
There aren’t many mobile workstations on the market and the target market will do its own due diligence. What we can say is that there are better, alternative laptops on the market but, this might have killer features that make it perfect for your niche needs.