After testing a built-in screen privacy filter on a few of its EliteBook convertible laptops, HP is now bringing them to its line of powerful mobile workstations.
The new HP ZBook 14u and ZBook 15u, announced Friday, can blur the screen with a single button press, among other new features. The privacy filter, which HP calls SureView, is currently available on the EliteBook 1000 series lineup, including the EliteBook x360 1020 G2.
Pressing the F2 key activates the filter and makes text on the screen virtually unreadable to people viewing it from an angle greater than about 40 degrees. While it's a novel and potentially very useful security feature, SureView also has a tendency to reduce battery life on the 1000-series by more than 30 percent, according to HP's own estimates. The company didn't announce battery life expectations for the SureView-equipped ZBooks, but workstation users typically expect shorter battery life anyway, since their machines are equipped with more power-hungry CPUs and GPUs.
The ZBook CPUs are from Intel's eighth-generation Core lineup, processors that are also now coming to revamped flagship EliteBook 800 series conventional laptop line, which HP also announced last week (the 1000-series uses seventh-generation silicon).
In addition to more advanced processors, the 800 series is losing some weight and slimming down a bit. The new HP EliteBook 830 G5 is roughly the same size as its 820 G4 predecessor, but has a 13-inch screen instead of a 12-inch one. Meanwhile, AMD RX540 discrete graphics cards will be available in the larger models, the new EliteBook 840 G5 and 850 G5.
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The revamped 800-series and ZBooks will all go on sale this month, with starting prices in a narrow range between $1,029 and $1,109. Those prices may sound intriguing, but it's worth noting that decently equipped EliteBooks and Zbooks typically cost around $2,000, and often north of $3,000.
In addition to new laptops, HP also unveiled a new Thunderbolt dock and a trio of new external displays. The Thunderbolt Dock 2 provides power, supports up to two 4K displays, and can double as a speaker for conference calls. Three new 4K Z-series displays each support Thunderbolt over USB-C, which lets them charge a laptop and send data over the same cable.
The Thunderbolt Dock 2 will go on sale in May, while the new 4K displays are available now, starting at $549.