2021 HP ZBook Fury G8 17.3″ review: Power and productivity in an improved package

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In 2019, I reviewed the ZBook 17 G6, which was a great device but had a few drawbacks. Mainly the size, weight, hideous bezels, and giant display. I missed the chance to review the G7 follow-up in 2020, but the new HP ZBook Fury G8 17.3″ did make it to my doorstep and it is much improved over the 2019 G6.

Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

The HP ZBook Fury G8 17.3″ is meant to be a mobile workstation with ports that other laptops do not have anymore. The Fury line is also meant to be the powerhouse line for HP, with its performance focused on creative and business professionals.

So while the new HP ZBook Fury G8 is smaller and lighter than the 2019 G6, it is still a big boy, and as I said in 2019…if you’re looking for a slim and mobile laptop, this may not be the choice for you. This is a serious laptop for serious power users that need workstation power. Read on for the full review.

Specifications

The 2021 HP ZBook Fury G8 17.3″ sent to us has the following features and specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro for Workstations
  • CPU: Intel Xeon W-11955M CPU @ 2.60GHz 2.61 GHz
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX™ A5000 Graphics (16 GB GDDR6)
  • RAM: 64 GB (2×32 GB) DDR4 3200 SODIMM ECC
  • Storage: 1 TB PCIe-3×4 2280 NVMe TLC SSD
  • Display: 17.3″ diagonal UHD LED UWVA Anti-Glare DreamColor HDR-400 for HD Webcam Ambient Light Sensor (3840×2160)(550 Nits)
  • Networking: Intel® AX201 Wi-Fi 6 (2×2) and Bluetooth® 5 Combo, vPro
  • NFC: Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • Security: Fingerprint reader and Windows Hello
  • I/O
    • SmartCard Reader
    • Combo Audio Jack
    • 2x USB 3.1 Type A
    • USB 3.1 Type A with Charging
    • Nano-Security Lock Slot
    • RJ45 Ethernet Port
    • SD Card Reader
    • HDMI Port
    • Mini-Display Port
    • 2x USB Type C Port
    • Barrel Charging Port
  • Audio: Bang & Olufsen, stereo speakers
  • Webcam: 720p HD webcam with IR
  • Keyboard: Backlit with function key row, number pad, and Dual Point Stick
  • Dimensions: 39.84 x 26.71 x 2.695 cm (W x D x H)
  • Weight: Starting at 2.76kg (6.08 lb)
  • Price As Confiured Before HP Online Savings: US$9,956

What’s In The Box

  • 2021 HP ZBook Fury G8 17.3″ mobile workstation
  • Power supply and cable
  • Documentation and manuals
HP ZBook Fury G8
The top of the G8

Design

I’ve always enjoyed the look of HP’s ZBook series, and the HP ZBook Fury G8 hasn’t changed much in a few years. HP has removed the angular cuts towards the back of the laptop, making this more like other laptops now. I’m not sure why they did this, and while it doesn’t look bad, I liked that angled cut as it gave the laptop a distinct personality.

The laptop’s lid has the Z logo instead of the HP logo, which I think was a good choice; now that those angled cuts are gone, the Z logo helps define it and gives it a personality.

The bottom of the laptop is boring with a substantial vent for cooling. You can see the fans through the vent, and this thing needs that big vent and fans. There’s also a tool-less access lock, a brilliant idea, so you can get in and upgrade if you need to. Two long rubber strips serve as the feet, keeping this thing secured to whatever surface you have it placed on. The back edge of the laptop has more vents which I think was a wise choice.

Part of the allure and marketability of this laptop is its I/O availability. Most laptops these days have been forgoing ports used by professionals and opting for Thunderbolt/USB-C ports only. The old G6 I reviewed had a lot of ports and a DVD optical drive. The HP ZBook Fury G8 also has ports-a-plenty, but this time the optical drive is not present.

On the left side of the G8, you’ll find the following ports:

  • SmartCard Reader
  • Combo Audio Jack
  • 2x USB 3.1 Type A
  • USB 3.1 Type A with Charging
  • Nano-Security Lock Slot
  • RJ45 Ethernet Port

On the right side of the G8, you’ll find the following ports:

  • SD Card Reader
  • HDMI Port
  • Mini-Display Port
  • 2x USB Type C Port
  • Barrel Charging Port

When you open the lid of the HP ZBook Fury G8, you are greeted with its expansive and beautiful 17.3″ DreamColor display. This is a full 4K panel with a peak brightness of 550 nits. The nit value is 150 higher than the G6, and I love that.

Looking down from the display, you’ll find that big deck, not as big as the G6 but still a large area considering the dimensions. The Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers are housed under a very nicely designed speaker grill. The fingerprint sensor is located at the bottom right of the keyboard. Speaking of the keyboard, this is a full-size, chiclet-style keyboard that is reasonably comfortable to type on. It has a full row of function keys and also sports a number pad. Here are some of the features you’ll find on the keyboard:

  • HP Sure View shortcut key
  • Brightness adjustment key
  • Mic and sound control keys
  • Collaboration control keys
  • Dual Point Stick (for those who like to mouse with hands on the keyboard)
  • Full-size number pad

The HP ZBook Fury G8 trackpad has a larger surface area than the G6 had, and I appreciate that. It is also centered with the spacebar, which makes it offset from the rest of the machine. This is relatively normal for many laptops with full-size number pads, but it’s not a design I enjoy. It’s not a ding against the ZBook, because the trackpad is fantastic. It’s made of glass and has smooth and lag-free functionality. I’m just not a fan of the trackpad in this position; I prefer that it was centered. Here are some of the features you’ll find on the trackpad:

  • Gesture control, tap, two-finger tap, three-finger tap, pinch to zoom
  • 3 Select Buttons w/Dual Point Stick
  • 3 Select Buttons w/TouchPad
  • NFC (optional)
  • Color Collaboration Sensor (With Dream Color Display)

There is no question that the HP ZBook Fury G8 is a big boy, though it is still smaller than the G6. The starting weight of the G8 is just over 6 lbs. That’s more than a pound shaved off from the G6, so that is an improvement. Still, this isn’t exactly a throw it in your backpack and be a nomad laptop. But that’s not what it’s trying to be either. One other huge improvement made on this design is the power brick. It is much slimmer and lighter than the G6, and that’s appreciated.

Overall, while it is smaller than previous generations, the G8 is still a hefty boy, and you should be prepared for that. Still, for that extra heft, you are getting a lot of ports, battery life, and a complete mobile workstation experience. I don’t think those looking at this laptop will mind how big it is.

HP ZBook Fury G8
That beautiful DreamColor display

Display

Our HP ZBook Fury G8 didn’t skimp on the display as it came packing the top-of-the-line HP DreamColor 17.3″ diagonal UHD (3840×2160) display. That’s a full 4K panel with a peak 550 nit brightness. That’s a massive improvement in brightness versus the G6. This panel is also touch-capable, unlike the G6. I don’t use touch very often, but I know many users do, and this is a good addition.

For professional photographers and videographers, this 4K DreamColor display is going to be essential. With 100% Adobe RGB, the color reproduction is excellent, and this will please professionals seeking accurate colors for their work. The HP ZBook Fury G8 has a built-in display calibration tool so you can make sure the display is exactly how you require it.

I’ve already mentioned that the peak brightness of this display is 550 nits, but I have to praise this again. I often use my laptops in bright sunny conditions, and having that extra brightness is very useful. Colors are vibrant but accurate and true to life. Whites are bright and clean, with no yellowing or blue hues on the whites, and blacks are deep and inky.

I used Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, ON1 Raw, and DaVinci Resolve on this laptop, and the colors were fantastic when editing through those programs. This display makes entertainment content look fabulous. Watching movies on Disney+, Prime Video, Vudu, and other 4K streaming services work well, and the picture is fantastic.

Overall, this is an excellent display. It’s the perfect display for content creators and design professionals looking for the best of the best. It is far more than the average user needs, but the HP ZBook Fury G8 is built for pros, and it gives the pros what they need.

Software/Ecosystem

The HP ZBook Fury G8 we have for review runs Windows 10 Pro for Workstations, and you can expect Windows 10 on any configuration you choose. We already know the ins and outs of Windows 10, so no need to rehash any of the Windows software here. It works well and has all of the latest Windows updates. Windows 11 is available on this laptop; it can be upgraded if you choose to do so.

HP does include some software here as well. Here is what you’ll see in terms of added software, based on what was on our system:

  • HP Hotkey Support
  • HP Performance Advisor
  • HP Recovery Manager
  • HP Remote Graphics Software
  • HP Support Assistant
  • HP JumpStart
  • Native Miracast support
  • HP Connection Optimizer
  • HP Cloud Recovery
  • HP Admin
  • HP Privacy Settings
  • HP QuickDrop
  • HP Easy Clean
  • HP PC Hardware Diagnostics
  • HP ZCentral Remote Boost 2020 Software for Z workstation

Other software on the HP ZBook Fury G8 includes Bang & Olufsen Audio Control and NVIDIA GPU settings. Other than the HP software, there’s very little other bloatware on this laptop. I wouldn’t even call the HP software bloat; most of it is useful. Overall, the software experience is good, with little to no bloatware, and Windows 10 works as expected, and you will have the option to upgrade to Windows 11 when it becomes available.

HP ZBook Fury G8
Easy quick access to the inside for upgrading the G8.

Performance

The HP ZBook Fury G8 can be configured to your liking, or you can order a preconfigured unit from HP. You can start with a base model and outfit it how you like, and HP fitted ours very well. This configuration is a screamer, beginning with 64GB of DDR4 RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD.

The Intel Xeon W-11955M CPU and NVIDIA RTX A5000 with 16GB of dedicated RAM make the G8 more than capable of everything I could throw at it. This configuration is suited to professional videographers editing 4K and 8K videos and photographers editing large numbers of photos.

The actual performances of browsing, word processing, media consumption, and email are all a breeze on this machine. It barely gets moving with just basic tasks. Even with my light photo editing, light 4K video editing, and content creation tasks, I barely gave this configuration a challenge.

Even editing short 4K videos in DaVinci Resolve did little to stress the G8; I certainly don’t have enough firepower to stress the HP ZBook Fury G8.

As I said before, this particular configuration is well-suited to pros like graphic designers, CAD engineers, and users who are going to need a ton of processing and graphics power to do work quickly. Overall, this isn’t your everyman laptop, far from it. This is a real pros machine, it’s built to crank out the power when you need it, and it has plenty of it.

HP ZBook Fury G8
Bang & Olufsen stereo speakers

Speakers/Sound

It doesn’t seem the Bang & Olufsen dual stereo speakers have changed much. They still sound great, and these may even have a bit more bottom end to them. Overall, there’s not much to say about the speakers other than they do sound miles better than most laptops.

Camera

The camera. So HP did something here that baffles me. The ZBook 17 G6 came with a 1080p webcam, and I praised HP for including an FHD webcam on a laptop. Every laptop from now on should have, at minimum, an FHD webcam.

But in the case of the HP ZBook Fury G8, HP has gone backward and only included a 720p webcam this time around. I’m not sure why they’ve done this, especially in these times where so many people are remote working. This was a miss by HP; in a laptop this expensive and because of the times we are in, HP should have included a 1080p camera.

Battery Life

The HP ZBook Fury G8 comes with an HP Long Life 8-cell, 94 Wh Li-ion polymer battery. This is an improvement over the G6’s 6-cell. While it is a better battery, you have to consider the brighter panel and touch capability of the G8. HP does not give a battery life estimate, and it is hard to gauge one, mainly when everyone uses their laptops differently.

I was able to get almost a full workday from the battery when using it for just basic tasks like web browsing, word processing, email, some YouTube, and essential functions. But like any other powerful laptop, once you start throwing intensive software processes at it, the battery life does go down.

I noticed the battery being pulled quickly when rendering a 4K video in DaVinci Resolve. This is expected behavior, and your battery life mileage will vary.

Price/Value

The base model starts at US$3,026, and the review unit sent to us ended up with a US$9,956 price tag. These are full retail prices, and HP does have this series marked down last time we looked. So while these prices look high, there are some discounts available, and you should check the HP site for more pricing options.

I mentioned before that the G8 is not an everyman’s laptop. This is just too much power for a regular user, so it’s not worth it for most people. For professionals, this is worth the price tag.

Wrap Up

Average users are probably way in over their heads with this machine, but professionals need to take a look here for some fantastic value for the money. While not cheap, this investment will surely help you do your job better and expand your business.

The G8 is an exceptional improvement over the G6 in almost every way, except the webcam, and it is an excellent machine with a lot to offer professional power users.

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Last Updated on November 24, 2021.

2021 HP ZBook Fury G8 17.3"

Starts at US$3026

Design

8.5/10

Display

9.5/10

Software/Ecosystem

9.5/10

Performance

10.0/10

Speakers/Sound

9.0/10

Camera

8.5/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Design has that industrial minimal ZBook look
  • Outstanding build quality and premium materials used
  • Amazing 4K touch display with smaller bezels and better materials
  • Bloatware is non-existent, only HP-centric items are included
  • More power and performance than you can shake a stick at
  • Decent sound with Bang and Olufsen but doesn't feel like an upgrade from previous generations
  • Okay battery life although intensive use drains it fast
  • Brightnss of the display is 550 nits, a winner to me

Needs work

  • While lighter and smaller than previous generations, the G8 is still a big laptop
  • Please center your trackpads HP, please
  • I praised the G6 for a 1080p webcam in 2019 and here we are in 2021 and the G8 is downgraded to a 720p webcam?
  • It's a lot of money once you start upgrading it, more than some may be willing to pay
HP ZBook Fury G8 Feature Techaeris
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