HP ZBook Firefly 14 G8 First Impressions

The HP ZBook Firefly 14 G8 is an entry-level mobile workstation aimed at technical and creative managers, STEAM students, and product designers. It’s the smallest, lightest, and thinnest ZBook that HP has ever offered.

It’s also an interesting mix of mainstream and workstation parts, which makes sense given the part of the market that this product targets. That means quad-core 11th-generation Intel Core processors, optional NVIDA T500 graphics, 8 to 64 GB of RAM, 128 GB to 2 TB of PCIe-based SSD storage, and a wide range of display choices.

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday — and get free copies of Paul Thurrott's Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (normally $9.99) as a special welcome gift!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Those display choices require a bit of explanation, and there are several. HP offers a Full HD low power (1-watt) panel as a starting point, but you can also opt for a matte version and, on the 15-inch version of the product, a 4K/UHD low-power (1-watt) panel. The two Full HD options can be had in multitouch or non-touch variants. Then, there’s a Sure View Reflect version with HP’s integrated privacy shield protection. And new to this summer, a Full HD DreamColor panel that really raises the bar.

HP originally developed the DreamColor display technology back in the early 2000s when the movie studio Dreamworks needed a color-accurate and color-predictable display for its animators. The technology was originally employed in desktop flat panel displays, and it won an Academy Award in 2015. In the years since, HP has deployed DreamColor display panels in select ZBook portable workstations, starting with its 15- and 17-inch models.

The ZBook Firefly 14 G8 is the first time it’s been made available in a 14-inch portable PC. Like the other display options, the DreamColor panel offers Full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution in a 16:9 aspect ratio with anti-glare capabilities and 500 nits of brightness. It’s 100 percent DCI-P3 color accurate and has been validated for Pantone for creative professionals.

The review unit includes the DreamColor display option, along with a quad-core 11th-generation Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor, NVIDA T500 graphics with 4 GB of dedicated VRAM, 32 GB of system RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage. There’s also Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, but no cellular connectivity, though both 4G/LTE and 5G are available to ZBook Firefly customers at design time.

Physically, the Firefly 14 is a handsome, professional-looking, and premium PC. It’s built from a combination of aluminum and magnesium, much of which is recycled. As is much of the plastic used in the interior—the speakers and so on—and 100 percent of the product packaging. HP is clearly serious about using recycled materials and this has only ramped up over time.

The Firefly 14 should also be quite durable. It has passed 19 MIL-STD tests—including those for shock, vibration, and drop—over 120,000 hours of testing and it can withstand 1000 sanitized wipe cycles, and even includes an Easy Clean utility that locks the keyboard and touchpad for cleaning.

The keyboard is an interesting amalgamation of recent HP premium keyboards, with that rightmost column of Home, PgUp, PgDn, and End keys that I like so much, and an integrated Power key. But the fingerprint reader is on the keyboard deck and not integrated into the keyboard.

And the glass touchpad is augmented by a pointer nubbin in the middle of the keyboard.

There are a lot of HP commercial utilities on tap, such as HP Client Security Managr, Power Manager, Support Assistant, Wolf Security, and Workwell, and also some familiar tools like HP Audio Control and QuickDrop, which offers better phone integration features than Windows 10’s Your Phone.

But as a workstation, you can also gain free access to HP’s Remote Boost, which lets others remotely access your PC or you remotely access an HP workstation back in the office. The Firefly is certified for Autodesk, SolidWorks, and Adobe. And you can be alerted and respond when the PC’s bottom cover is removed. Yes, it’s user serviceable.

Prices start at about $1500 and can rise quickly as you configure the system. It looks like the review unit, which is a lot beefier than I’d typically need, would set you back about $2200 if I’m using the configurator correctly.

More soon.

Share post

Please check our Community Guidelines before commenting

Conversation 20 comments

  • samp

    08 July, 2021 - 5:14 pm

    <p>The touchpad looks uncomfortable, why does it have the buttons at the top? I’m used to using my thumbs to click buttons at the bottom.</p>

    • IanYates82

      Premium Member
      08 July, 2021 - 5:27 pm

      <p>It’ll likely still "click" at the bottom. I have a lenovo exactly like it. It’s fine</p>

    • ibmthink

      08 July, 2021 - 7:08 pm

      <p>The top buttons are for the Pointing stick, not the touchpad. </p>

      • Paul Thurrott

        Premium Member
        09 July, 2021 - 8:36 am

        <p>Right. It’s a dual-pointing system, like with ThinkPads. You can click on the bottom of the touchpad normally as well.</p>

  • vladimir

    Premium Member
    08 July, 2021 - 6:08 pm

    <p>what does STEAM students mean? Students that use steam to play games? ???</p>

    • lvthunder

      Premium Member
      08 July, 2021 - 7:40 pm

      <p>I don’t know about STEAM, but STEM in school is short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Maybe they added an A in there for something or maybe it’s just a typo.</p>

      • VMax

        Premium Member
        08 July, 2021 - 9:47 pm

        <p>A is for Art.</p>

      • wright_is

        Premium Member
        09 July, 2021 - 6:06 am

        <p>It forms the basis for a STEAM Punk build! :-D</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      09 July, 2021 - 8:37 am

      <p>STEAM = STEM + the Arts.</p><p><br></p><p>"<strong style="color: rgb(211, 207, 201); –darkreader-inline-color:#c9c4bd;" data-darkreader-inline-color="">STEM</strong><span style="color: rgb(211, 207, 201); –darkreader-inline-color:#c9c4bd;" data-darkreader-inline-color="">&nbsp;represents science, technology, engineering and math. ‘</span><strong style="color: rgb(211, 207, 201); –darkreader-inline-color:#c9c4bd;" data-darkreader-inline-color="">STEAM</strong><span style="color: rgb(211, 207, 201); –darkreader-inline-color:#c9c4bd;" data-darkreader-inline-color="">’ is </span><strong style="color: rgb(211, 207, 201); –darkreader-inline-color:#c9c4bd;" data-darkreader-inline-color="">STEM</strong><span style="color: rgb(211, 207, 201); –darkreader-inline-color:#c9c4bd;" data-darkreader-inline-color="">&nbsp;plus the arts: Humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design, and new media."</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(211, 207, 201); –darkreader-inline-color:#c9c4bd;" data-darkreader-inline-color="">I had never heard of this either. I should have spelled this out.&nbsp;</span></p>

      • pecosbob04

        10 July, 2021 - 10:51 am

        <p>STEAM – STEM + Arts with Arts defined as Humanities, Language Arts, Dance, Drama, Music, Visual Arts, Design, and New Media doesn’t leave much else. Can we work lunch and Phys Ed into the acronym? Maybe STAMPEL‽</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

  • lvthunder

    Premium Member
    08 July, 2021 - 8:01 pm

    <p>Interesting that there isn’t a 4k 1000nit option. Does anyone know if the 1000 nit displays are HDR?</p>

  • brettscoast

    Premium Member
    08 July, 2021 - 8:57 pm

    <p>Interesting thanks Paul. The bezels on the display look widish at the top and bottom to me and I would have though 3:2\16:10 would have been a better option for increased productivity. Look forward to your review, otherwise nice looking system.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      09 July, 2021 - 8:38 am

      <p>I can’t look at a laptop now and not think "16:10 would be better." Using 16:9 is always a demerit. </p>

    • jchampeau

      Premium Member
      09 July, 2021 - 8:51 am

      <p>Agreed. This is the first thing I notice when I see a laptop now.</p>

  • hrlngrv

    Premium Member
    08 July, 2021 - 9:16 pm

    <p>I dislike speaker holes on the sides of the keyboard. They full up with cruft far too easily.</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    09 July, 2021 - 6:05 am

    <p>Reading through the review, I came to about $2,200 – $2,500 when you were listing off the components.</p><p><br></p><p>It certainly looks like a nice machine.</p>

    • madthinus

      Premium Member
      09 July, 2021 - 8:27 am

      <p>It really does. </p>

  • solomonrex

    09 July, 2021 - 9:28 pm

    <p>That’s a lot of PC in fourteen inches.</p>

  • dougkinzinger

    Premium Member
    13 July, 2021 - 9:29 am

    <p>Thanks for the quick review. I’m looking into this for an incoming college freshman.</p>

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thurrott © 2023 Thurrott LLC