There’s a new king in town when it comes to mobile workstation laptops. HP’s
ZBook Fury G8 is the eighth generation of the top-of-the-line Fury model,
and… spoiler alert… this is how high-end laptops should be made. « Right to
repair » has been gaining steam a lot lately as people are learning more about
the advantages of sustainability and also getting kind of tired of disposable
computers that need to basically be completely replaced when something breaks.
The ZBook Fury is almost completely user upgradable and repairable, and that’s
awesome. But that’s not all… the Zbook Fury is also capable of housing some
extreme desktop class computing power!
You can fill this thing with $15,000 worth of components if you want (or you
can choose a lower priced configuration.) The mobile workstation
capabilities of the ZBook Fury are extremely powerful, so if you’re looking to
work from home or the beach or a nice resort with the power of a massive
desktop tower but the portability of a laptop, the ZBook Fury is going to be
worth a look.
In the box, there’s nothing special. Just the laptop itself, plus the power
brick, some thin documentation, and a CDROM. There’s no optical disk drive for
the laptop, so you’ll have to buy a separate one to use the disk if you need to,
but you probably won’t. The cable on the power brick has this premium
fabric covering by the way. It’s really nice.
This model of the ZBook Fury comes with a next generation Dreamcolor screen
and it is beautiful! The colors look great. My fashion models love it during
photography editing sessions, and the screen has an anti-glare material which
makes it even better for creative work. Having less glare on the screen is so
much better than those Macbook Pro’s other people use with big window and
lighting reflections interfering with the display.
Our review model has an Intel Core i9 11950H series processor with 32Gb of RAM, 1Tb
NVMe SSD, and an NVIDIA RTX A5000 GPU with 16Gb RAM. It’s very powerful, but
that’s not even the top of the line specs that you can get on the ZBook Fury.
On the right side, we’ve got a full sized HDMI port, a displlay port, two
USB-C Thunderbolt ports, and a circular power adapter port. I much prefer the
circular barrel shaped port for charging because it doesn’t require any specific
orientation as USB-C ports do. It’s also more robust as USB-C ports can bend or
break kind of easily.
Also on the left side is a full sized SD card reader which is awesome. Having
one of these built in is so great for injesting video recordings or photo shoot
images quickly and easily. No need to carry around a separate SD card adapter.
On the left side we’ve got an ethernet port, a hole for a Kensington lock, and
two full sized USB-A ports. Having an ethernet port here is great because it’s a
much more reliable and secure network connection interface than Wi-Fi.
There’s also a 3.5mm headset/microphone jack on the left edge along with a
smartcard reader for secure log-ins.
The hinge between the screen and the base has an extra arm piece on each end.
This makes some separation between the screen and base and provides a little
extra room for airflow from the cooling vents on the back.
The trackpad on the ZBook Fury is excellent, and get this… it has 6 actual
hardware buttons on the top and bottom edges! I haven’t used a laptop with
real physical buttons like this in years. Most laptops these days have just a
trackpad where you press fairly hard to click or simply tap. The press-to-click
is much more difficult than having actual buttons and it’s so refreshing to have
these buttons back on a laptop. Not only are they easier to use, they’re easy to
feel, too. There’s a lot of travel in these buttons and they have a slight
triangular slope to them which makes them easy to identify by touch.
Another awesome thing about this layout is that not only are there dedicated
buttons for the left click and right click functions, but there’s also a middle
click button. For most basic office work, I’m sure that doesn’t mean anything,
but the middle click button is very useful for high end 3D animation, modeling,
texturing, and lighting applications.
There’s also a trackpoint joystick in between the G and H keys on the keyboard.
This type of pointing device has fallen out of favor in recent decades, but
there are some people who still swear by it (especially Lenovo ThinkPad users.)
The advantage here is that you can move your mouse cursor with your index finger
without moving your whole hand off of the keyboard and over to the trackpad or
external mouse. The right/middle/left click buttons are right below the spacebar
too, so you can very easily access mouse functions while your fingers remain on
the keyboard. It’s an efficiency thing since it reduces motor movement. I
find that it’s great for mouse movements that don’t require a huge amount of
accuracy as I’ve never been super skilled with the trackpoint joysticks.
Personally I prefer a Wacom pen for the most accuracy especially in creative
There’s also NFC built into the trackpad as well as these little rubber bumpers
on the left and right sides of the top trackpad button row.
Like the HP ZBook Studio, the ZBook Fury includes the extremely loud and
beautifully sounding Bang & Olufsen speakers.
The camera bar in the bezel of the screen includes an infrared sensor for
Windows Hello face recognition bio-metric logins. The camera itself shoots at
1280×720 pixels. It’s not particularly sharp, nor does it have great dynamic
range, so you’ll want to do your video calls in fairly well lit areas. Video
conferencing is becoming more important in the post pandemic age, so hopefully
future versions will have options for better video call cameras.
The keyboard on the ZBook Fury is excellent. It’s the same as most of the
other ZBook series keyboards in terms of feel (though a little different from
the less expensive ZBook Power). The ZBook Fury’s keyboard also nicely has
the full number pad on the right side in addition to the row of numbers at the
top. Having the number pad on the right is very important for extended
keyboard shortcuts in programs like InDesign and high-end 3D animation programs.
Here you can see the profile view of the ZBook Fury on top, the ZBook Power
in the middle, and the ZBook Studio on the bottom. The ZBook Fury is
clearly the beefiest and thickest of the bunch, but of course it’s also the most
Repairs & Upgrades
I would say that most laptops these days are designed to be disposable or
difficult to repair. Manufacturers do this so that you’ll basically need
to buy a totally new one later on. It’s good for business, but bad for the
environment and sustainability. Many laptops are glued together with components permanently
soldered in. For example, if you were to get a MacBook, you would need to decide
which components you want before you buy it because it’s not going to be
upgradable later on. That’s not the case at all with the HP ZBook Fury.
This thing is probably more upgradable than the Framework Laptop, and certainly
more capable of containing high end hardware.
There’s a latch on the bottom that gives you very easy access to swapping the
battery. That’s a huge advantage as the battery is usually the first thing to
start to show its age and go bad in a laptop. If you want the bottom to be more
difficult to access, under the latch is a screw hole too.
The battery is super easy to replace! It’s also easy to add a 2nd or
3rd M.2 NVMe
SSD drive, as well as replace two of the 4 RAM modules. The other two are on the
other side of the motherboard which takes more disassembling to access, so it’s
possible to replace all RAM modules, but two of them are easier than the others.
There’s also a 2.5″ hard drive bay easily accessible under the battery. That can
be replaced with a holder for two more NVMe SSD drives too in case you wanted to
load this thing with 5 NVMe SSD drives.
I thought I would add some more RAM and another terrabyte of SSD storage. It
was very easy, except I didn’t realize all 4 RAM DIMM slots were already taken
up by four 8Gb RAM cards, so everything was full. Sure I could swap out some 8Gb
RAM modules, but honestly 32Gb is enough for the things I’ve been doing lately.
HP has a full video about disassembling the ZBook Fury in order to replace or upgrade any of the parts.
Pretty much everything seems to be user replacable on the ZBook Fury. It’s
almost as repairable as the Framework Laptop. The only thing that isn’t as easy
to repair is the display panel which looks like it needs to be totally replaced
when broken. But… unlike the Framework Laptop, the ZBook Fury has options for
way better hardware and even discreet graphics processing units.
The version of the HP ZBook Fury 15 G8 that I have shipped with Windows 10.
It’s fully compatible with Windows 11 and the first boot set up process
prompted me to upgrade to Windows 11 a couple of times. I refused this completely
because I hate the new Windows 11 interaction design as it brings many
efficiency problems and the ZBook Fury is something that’s designed for real
work and real efficiency. So I don’t want Windows 11 bringing that down. See:
Windows 11’s bad design. Windows 10 is much more customizable than
Windows 11 and customization is something that’s very important for
professional work. When purchasing a new ZBook Fury, you can choose between
Windows 11, Windows 10, or Ubuntu Linux.
HP does bundle a good number of software programs with the ZBook Fury. They’re
mostly the same security focused programs that you’ll find on other ZBooks.
Some bundled HP programs may start giving you annoying notifications, so you
might want to find a way to turn some things off.
The myHP app is mainly an area for promotions and tutorials to learn more
about a Windows PC.
The HP Support Assisstant is much more useful as this provides some good
troubleshooting options as well as access to HP’s authorized driver and
Making sure your system firmware is up to date is pretty important and that
can be done from the HP Support app.
There’s an HP Power manager app that nicely gives you some good information
about the condition and lifetime of your battery. When your charge cycle
count gets closer to 1000, it might be time to order a new battery.
There’s one programmable keyboard key in the F12 spot, and the above included
program lets you define all sorts of functions for that key. You can even add
different functions for it when combined with modifier keys.
HP even includes a Sure Click Secure Browser that’s basically an HP branded
version of Chromium with a few extra security features. uBlock Origin is bult
in, too, for blocking tracking and malware type sites.
HP’s Wolf Security antivirus and malware protection software is pre-installed,
There’s an audio control app for the Bang & Olufsen speakers and microphones as
well. This gives you alot of options for customizing the excellent sound system
in the HP ZBook Fury.
You’ve also got HP Sure Recover and HP Sure Run for even more security and
The Tile app is bundled on the ZBook Fury as well. This is good if you
have some « Tile » accessories that you want to manage the locations of.
These are good for adding to your keys or wallet so that you can keep tabs on
Bundled software is great and all, but the ZBook Fury is really about getting
work done, so I had to try a bunch of serious work programs; mostly related to
My graphic design clients are completely spoiled by the ZBook Fury’s rendering
speeds and capabilities. I’m able to turn around Adobe After Effects animation
revisions faster than ever before and it’s fantastic.
Photo editing with Adobe Photoshop, Bridge, & Lightroom is excellent. The
anti-glare screen is so much better than the Apple Macbook screens, and its
DreamColor color gamut makes photos look incredible.
The ZBook Fury is certified to work with Adobe Substance; a 3D texture creation,
modelling, and lighting suite of programs. I had to make sure these programs
were set to use the NVIDIA GPU at all times in the NVIDIA control panel because
it seems that on battery power, they’ll default to using the less powerful Intel
GPU (in order to improve battery life).
Of course, Blender takes full advantage of the ZBook Fury’s hardware too.
While the ZBook Fury really is meant more for programming video games rather
than playing them, I decided to try Halo Infinite on the Nvidia GTX A5000 GPU
anyway. At top-end « ultra » graphics settings, the game is beautiful. It
works quite well, but did show one or two frame drops. That’s not bad at all
with maxed out graphics settings and a 4K screen!
On the hardware drivers side, at first I had some issues with the Intel Wi Fi 6 AX201
drivers. Maybe once a week the driver would crash and lose access to the
network. This was really annoying as it often happened while I was transfering
large files. I think I fixed the corrupt driver by following
this community thread on Intel’s website. It seems to be a common issue with
that WiFi module. There were also some driver issues with the Intel GPU
where I would randomly and rarely see some screen flickering. That issue
seems to have been fixed by HP’s 1/11 release of new Intel Video drivers. There
was also an NVIDIA GPU OpenGL crash on driver version 472.84 while editing an
image in Photoshop which also killed Photoshop and lost the work I was doing.
Updating to NVIDIA driver version 511.09 or higher should be better. Normally,
the ZBook laptops are rock solid, so I think this might be a case of having to
wait a little while for the new drivers to iron things out.
The ZBook Fury 15 G8 is a serious portable workstation, but not so much of a
mobile all-day battery-life laptop with its 94 Wh battery. I like to run some pretty heavy duty
programs on it and making big use of the NVIDIA RTX A5000 GPU on battery life
means I’m going to have to plug it into a charger before 3 hours of use.
That’s enough to do plenty of photo editing on a 1000 plus frame photo shoot,
or some quick editing for a 60 second social media video post. Doing some
serious work quickly is really what the ZBook Fury is about when it’s on
battery and that means we don’t get a huge amount of battery life. Of course I
could change the settings to make it more power efficient and last longer, but
I’m not carrying around this beast filled with high-end computing power to
only open little web pages, emails, and Word documents.
Pricing and Availability
The HP Zbook Fury 15 G8 is available in a fairly large number of different
configurations and customization options. Prices range from around $1700 for a low-end model and go up into the
$15,000 range. You can
customize the HP Zbook Fury on the HP store website
in order to see the pricing for whichever configuration you’re interested in.
During Black Friday 2021, the ZBook Fury configurations were on sale with more
than $5000 of savings!
If you max out the configuration, the price could be almost $15,000.
On the other hand, a low end configuration could be about $1700.
Pros & Cons
- A huge range of CPUs, GPUs, Storage, and RAM options
- Extremely powerful Intel H series and Xenon processors
- Extrmely powerful NVIDIA RTX GPU options
- Excellent keyboard
- Trackpad and joystick with 6 mouse click hardware buttons that have excellent
travel and easy responsiveness.
- Best-in-class DreamColor display with very little glare
- Tool-free user-replacable battery
- User-replacable everything (with a screwdriver)
- Room for 5 M.2 solid state drives if you want many terrabytes of storage
- Plenty of expansion ports
- Battery life will suffer with all of this power
- It’s a bit heavy at over 6 lbs
- The bottom gets hot when taking on heavy workloads for a few hours
I am totally in love with the ZBook Fury’s capabilities, speed, display
quality, upgrade-ability, keyboard, trackpad buttons, and style. Sure, it’s on
the thick & heavy side and the battery life isn’t great especially when taking
advantage of the high end NVIDIA RTX A5000 graphics processor, but I would
much rather be able to get things done quickly and beautifully than to have
something slower with longer battery life. Let me finish my work in 3 hours
and have a nice long lunch instead of making me do the same thing over 6
hours. While all of the other ZBook series laptops are excellent for high-end
work while being very portable, the ZBook Fury is clearly « la crème de la
crème »… or « the best of the best ».