HP Z-Book G4 Review

I purchased an HP Z-Book G3 17 last year–Xeon processor, 64 GB of RAM, it is a true beast. Unfortunately, despite its power, it was plagued with problems like:

  • Not working with its docking station
  • Requiring a new, awful type of docking station
  • Ultra flaky drivers

Docking Station

Let’s start here because nothing quite makes me want to go Office Space on a device like repeated failures to sleep and wake up properly. I mean, to begin with, the laptop ships with Thunderbolt security enabled, which results in the computer not detecting its own docking station by default.

Sure, it’s a trip to the BIOS to fix, but really? I mean, when you’re sitting around repeatedly installing drivers and unplugging/plugging in the docking station waiting for that sweet, sweet “beep boop” chime of detection and reading through troubleshooting guides that mention this in exactly zero places, it’s hard not to feel bitter about expensive office hardware that was specifically designed to work together not working together.

But that’s not the worst of it. I guess I’m feeling my age or something, but the old docking stations worked fine. I’m, at this moment, gazing wistfully at the old HP Advanced Docking station with its 6 USB ports, SATA, etc. etc. ports, and the fact that it Just Worked asking myself “why?” To be fair, the new Thunderbolt has 4 USB ports and 2 Display Ports requiring you to only purchase 2 HDMI/DP adapters if you want to use it with 96% of the monitors available, but that presupposes that 1.) you got it to work and 2.) it continues to work. Which it mostly doesn’t.

Finally, you’d think that the Thunderbolt 3 Docking station connector would be power + garden-variety Thunderbolt cable. It’s somehow not, and it’s about 18 inches long and pretty damn inflexible, so you get wiring scenarios like this:


I’ve tried most variations and have reached the conclusion that HP did this specifically to hurt me personally.


My morning ritual is this:


And yes, all the drivers and firmware are up-to-date, I’ve contacted support, etc. etc.

So what I did was

Buy a G4. The experience with the G3 was so cartoonishly bad that I thought to myself “there is no way that they will do this again. They will fix it and then I will have a functioning and powerful laptop.” Not only was this incorrect, it was horribly incorrect. How could I be so wrong?

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