HP ZBook 15 G221 Nov, 2015 By: J.V. Bolkan
First Look Review: The price-to-performance ratio for this mobile workstation is less attractive than its beautiful display and long battery life.
When it comes to running CAD software, performance is only moderate. The ZBook 15 G2's Cadalyst C2015 benchmark scores are as follows: total index = 459, 3D graphics index = 926, 2D graphics index = 383, disk index = 264, and CPU index = 264. We have increased the resolution at which we run the C2015 benchmark since we reviewed the previous ZBook 15, from 1,280 x 1,024 to 1,920 x 1,080. With the exception of the disk and CPU scores, which increased about 15% each, each of the other scores was slightly lower than what the older version earned. (As expected due to the higher resolution.)
HP shipped our evaluation unit with Windows 10 Pro installed (despite a Windows 7 sticker prominently attached near the keyboard). We ran all benchmarks — Cadalyst's C2015 running AutoCAD 2015, SPECviewperf 12, and SPECwpc — in Windows 10. HP does offer Windows 8.1 as an option, with downgrade capabilities to Windows 7. (Editor's Note: Because the company sent the machine with Windows 10 Pro, we used AutoCAD 2015—in place of AutoCAD 2016—to complete the benchmark. The performance differences between the two versions of AutoCAD are not dramatic and you can use them to compare test results.)
The SPECviewperf 12 scores were catia-04 = 22.45, creo-01 = 20.04, energy-01 = 0.40, maya-04 = 16.39, medical-01 = 7.53, showcase-01 = 10.54, snx-02 = 21.32, and sw-03 = 44.90. These are certainly not great scores, especially for a system outfitted with options pushing the price above $3,000.
There is a lot to like about the HP ZBook 15 G2. It is a solidly constructed, relatively lightweight mobile workstation with very good battery life, and both a decent CPU and NVIDIA's top mobile GPU. The price, even with high-end display taken into account, is a bit high for the moderate performance on the C2015 and SPECviewperf benchmark tests. The ultra-high resolution monitor is a wildcard that complicates the price/performance equations. The screen is capable of displaying more than 3X the number of pixels we use in our benchmarks, so in a sense, they the aren't taken into account in the equation. In the real world, though, laptops are often used to show drawings, animations, and video in the field and the gorgeous display may be worth every penny for those tasks. Plus, there is also value in HP's name, reputation, and warranty.