HP ZBook Firefly 14 G7 Mobile Workstation Review: Premium In Every Way

HP ZBook Firefly 14 G7 Mobile  Workstation Review: Premium In Every Way

As far as ultrabooks go, this is very powerful. HP gave us something very special: an ultraportable workstation laptop, courtesy of HP’s ZBook lineup.

It’s got a metal chassis, Bang &Olufsen speakers, a premium keyboard, and the perks I’m used to in the Elite series. But it’s also got dedicated graphics, a DreamColor display, and more.

The model we tested is hardly lacking for power, it’s the top-spec Firefly 14 G7 with 32GB of RAM, an Intel Core i7 vPro CPU, and a 4K display. It’s a bit oxymoronic to test the top-line entry-level machine, but in this case ZBook’s entry-level machine is also marketed as its smallest machine. That said we wanted to know exactly what it could do.

What the Firefly 14 G7 attempts to accomplish is admirable, pack a 3D modelling machine into a 1.36 kilogram, 14-inch chassis you can take with you wherever you go. However, it falls short of its promises: the Nvidia Quadro P520 GPU it comes with is a serious hamper to its performance, with graphical prowess so meager that it couldn’t even best AMD Ryzen’s integrated GPUs. While the Firefly’s chassis allows for easy access to the RAM and SSD slots for upgradeability down the line, all the RAM in the world can’t make up for a sub-par processor.


Laptop Class Workstation
Processor Intel Core i7-10810U
Processor Speed 1.1 GHz
RAM (as Tested) 32 GB
Boot Drive Type SSD
Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested) 512 GB
Screen Size 14 inches
Native Display Resolution 3840 by 2160
Touch Screen No
Panel Technology IPS
Variable Refresh Support None
Screen Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Graphics Processor Nvidia Quadro P520
Graphics Memory 4 GB
Wireless Networking Bluetooth, 802.11ax
Dimensions (HWD) 0.71 by 12.73 by 8.45 inches
Weight 2.96 lbs
Operating System Windows 10 Pro
Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes) 8:21


The HP ZBook Firefly G7 comes in an aluminum chassis. It looks and feels like a business ultrabook. It has a streamlined design that’s sleek but subtle, and it comes in a shade of gray that differs from the traditional Natural Silver found on HP’s EliteBooks.It also has its own branding, which makes it a bit different. The only other HP brand that has its own logo is OMEN. Then of course, HP has two separate logos for entry-level and premium laptops. But rather than one of those, this one has a Z stamped on the lid, which is fine but just feels a bit strange.

The ZBook include two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a headphone/microphone combo jack, an HDMI output, and two USB Type-C ports that also support Thunderbolt 3. Wireless connections include 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as optional LTE connectivity.

There's also an optional NFC reader for quick file transfers to and from Android smartphones, as well as an optional SmartCard reader to accept the physical security cards that some IT departments issue to their employees in order to log in securely. An optional fingerprint reader mounted below the keyboard rounds out the list of password-free ways you can log in to your Windows account.

Inside, there’s two RAM slots that can support up to 128 GB of the stuff, and there’s two M.2 slots for extra storage space (one of them is occupied by the storage included with the laptop). In short, this laptop is a dream for any IT tech who wants to tamper with it.

It's a service first product with great upgreadeability & Longevity

Compared to similar consumer-oriented products, like the HP Spectre 14, the ZBook Firefly 14 G7 comes at a premium. However, the Firefly 14 G7 is still one of the cheapest business laptops around. Those extra couple thousands of rands net you a collection of quality of life features that professionals and even prosumers will appreciate, such as SIM card compatibility and extra security features that are more than just bloatware.

In the event you should ever corrupt your BIOS (the low level system that initializes essential and the operating system when you boot your computer), HP has implemented an automatic rollback on all ZBooks that will return your laptop to its last known state before the corruption happened. This feature will doubtlessly save countless ZBooks from a premature death, and it only takes the laptop about 30 seconds to run the rollback when it’s needed.

The 14-inch DreamColor display

HP promisesdeeper blacks, brighter whites, and more from a display that delivers the kind of accuracy you need for creative work. For sure, it gets the job done. This display is beautiful. It’s also a matte anti-glare display, something that usually leads to colors looking washed out, but that’s not the case here. It’s pretty impressive.The HP ZBook Firefly has all of the display options you’d normally find on an EliteBook, such as a 4K UHD panel and a 1080p panel with HP’s Sure View Reflect privacy screen. The 500 nit FHD option that HP sent me seems to be the only one labeled as DreamColor though.

The HP ZBook Firefly 14 G7 averages 539 nits of brightness, which far surpasses its competition and even the 383-nit premium laptop average. In second place, the MacBook Pro averaged 485 nits. The Precision 5540 and Thinkpad X1 Extreme (Gen 2) are a little closer to the premium laptop average, both at 384 nits.

While measuring color reproduction, the Firefly 14 G7 hit 104% of the sRGB color gamut, which is unfortunately far behind its competitors and way lower than the 120% premium laptop average. However, it’s still better than our 100% minimum. The MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020) and ThinkPad X1 Extreme managed 114% and 163%, respectively. However, the Precision 5540 is by far the best of the bunch, reaching an astounding color gamut of 200%.

With Intel Graphics Command Center, you can change many display settings, including resolution, refresh rate, brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, and sharpness. There are also options for noise reduction, film mode detection, skin tone enhancement, contrast enhancement and total color correction.

Keyboard and touchpad

HP’s latest laptops have all been stellar when it comes to ergonomics, and the ZBook Firefly 14 G7 is no exception. After a workday of use, neither my eyes nor my fingers come away feeling fatigued.

First, let’s talk about the touchpad. It’s a little smaller than I’m used to, but it glides effortlessly. The Firefly also comes with physical left and right mouse click buttons. They’re too mushy for my taste, but they’re undeniably good at clicking and clacking, and they have a surprisingly satisfying tactile actuation force despite the mushiness.

The keys on the keyboard are excellent, with a firm bounce to them that makes for speedy fingers. However, there’s a pointing stick in between the G, H, and B keys that could throw off touch typists. It’s otherwise the same keyboard we love from other HP laptops, like the HP Envy x360 we also recently reviewed.


The Firefly 14 G7 is aimed at creative professionals, so it comes equipped with an Nvidia Quadro P520 GPU that can run various design software like AutoCAD, Solidworks, Maya, and ZBrush. I tested a whole slew of 3D software and video editing software, and none of them had trouble launching. However, don’t get too excited: the Quadro P520 is the professional equivalent of the Nvidia GeForce MX150, a GPU that’s only barely a step above Intel’s integrated Iris GPU (in fact, the 11th gen Intel Xe GPU beats the Quadro P520 and the GeForce MX150 in just about every benchmark we tested).

Why, then, did HP bother including the Quadro P520? Simple: some programs require a Quadro GPU to run, and this is a Quadro GPU. If you need to quickly open a file in Solidworks to critique it or reference it while on a plane, then the Quadro P520 is perfect for that as it can do that while still allowing the laptop to be exceptionally thin and light.

On the Geekbench 5.0 synthetic overall performance test, the Firefly 14 G7 scored 4,812. This puts it well above the premium laptop average (4,082) and the MacBook Pro (4,399, Intel Core i5 CPU). However, it fell short against the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (Intel Core i7-9850H CPU), which crushed the test with a 5,884.

During the File Transfer Test, the Firefly 14 G7’s 512GB NVMe TLC SSD took 8.2 seconds to duplicate 4.97GB of mixed-media files for a transfer rate of 599 megabytes per second. This is slower than the 748 MBps average, the Precision 5540 (727 MBps, 512GB SSD) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme (2,036 MBps, 1TB M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe Opal SSD).

What we didn't like

If you don’t know what a pointing stick is, it’s the “nipple mouse” that can be used in place of a touchpad on laptop keyboards. They’ve largely gone out of fashion, but Lenovo’s Thinkpad series has become synonymous with pointing sticks in the past decade. There’s also a reason only Lenovo’s really associated with them anymore: they’re extremely difficult to get right.

The ZBook Firefly G7’s pointing stick is like a mole. It’s always there, and it feels like a wart even though there’s technically nothing wrong with having one. You want it gone because it’s hard to type with. If you happen to be a fan of pointing sticks, then you’ll be even more upset, as this pointing stick is erratic, rubbery, and unreliable.

Conclusion: Should you buy the G7 ZBook?

The HP ZBook Firefly 14 G7 has a lot going for it, starting with its design. Not only is it the lightest and smallest 14-inch workstation on the market, it’s also quite lovely and unbelievably sturdy. You get a bright, fairly vivid display with great audio, and the laptop’s Intel Core i7 and Nvidia Quadro GPU provide solid performance.

For the pricepoint, I expect a workstation of this caliber to have a more vivid panel, longer battery life and stronger performance. With that in mind, you might want to take a look at the MacBook Pro. But if portability is your top priority, the HP ZBook Firefly 14 G7 is the way to go.

Techreport Star Ratings



Build Quality








Software Experience