Forget MacBook Pro M1: HP ZBook Firefly G8 is a 3-pound laptop that lasts 14 hours

HP ZBook Firefly G8
(Image credit: HP)

While Apple's M1 MacBook Pro got a lot of attention when it debuted last month, HP's ZBook Firefly G8 could grab back the limelight among creative pros. HP's latest weapon in its laptop arsenal, announced alongside EliteBook 800 G8 laptops, is rated to last 14 hours on a single charge.

In addition to Intel 11th Gen CPUs and 5G support, HP's biggest accomplishment here is getting the 14-inch ZBook Firefly G8 below the 3-pound mark by a hair at 2.98 pounds. We'll still round up to 3 pounds when comparing it to other laptops (like the 3-pound 13-inch MacBook Pro), but it's lighter than HP's previous 3.1-pound model.

And about those new EliteBook laptops — the EliteBook 830 G8, EliteBook 840 G8, EliteBook 850 G8 and the EliteBook x360 830 G8 also have 11th Gen processors (U-series, just like the ZBook Fireflys) and Intel Xe graphics. All of the aforementioned notebooks can also be outfitted with a Tile tracker, something HP started doing with the Elite Dragonfly.

These EliteBooks and Firefly laptops also feature AI-based noise cancellation for web conferencing to filter out background sounds, HP QuickDrop for sending files between your PC and phone, HP Tamper Lock to lock down your PC if it falls into the wrong hands, and HP Sure View Reflect for privacy.

If you're a bit confused by the naming strategy for the EliteBook laptops, here's an easy way to figure out what they're all about. The G8 means this is the 8th generation of this line of business and creator laptops. 

The number 800 is a reference to the series number, and the 2nd digit in each laptop's three-digit series number is a reference to its display size. Oh, and if there's an x360, that means it's a convertible.

So, the EliteBook 840 G8 is a 14-inch business laptop and the EliteBook x360 830 G8 is a 13-inch 2-in-1.

HP EliteBook 800 G8, x360 830 G8 and ZBook Firefly G8 Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 HP EliteBook 800 G8HP EliteBook x360 830 G8HP ZBook Firefly G8
Sizes13.3-inch, 14-inch and 15.6-inch13.3-inch14-inch, 15.6-inch
Starting PriceTBATBATBA
Processors11th Gen Intel Core i5, i7 (U-series)11th Gen Intel Core i5, i7 (U-series)11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7, i7-1165G7
GraphicsIntel Iris XeIntel Iris Xe | optional NVIDIA GeForce MX450Intel Iris Xe | NVIDIA T500
Resolution1920 x 1080-pixels1920 x 1080-pixels1920 x 1080-pixels | 3840 x 2160 (optional for 15.6-inch model
StorageUp to 2TB M.2 PCIe SSDUp to 2TB M.2 PCIe SSDUp to 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD
MemoryUp to 64GBUp to 32GBUp to 64GB
Battery3-cell, 53 Wh (56 Wh for 15.6-inch)3-cell, 53 WhUp to 14 hours (claimed) | 3-cell, 53 Wh (56 Wh for 15.6-inch)
Dimensions12.1 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches | 12.7 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches | 14.1 x 9.2 x 0.8 inches12.1 x 8.1 x 0.7 inches12.7 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches | 14.2 x 9.2 x 0.8 inches
Weight2.8 pounds | 3 pounds | 3.8 pounds3 pounds3 pounds | 3.7 pounds

HP EliteBook 800, ZBook Firefly G8 pricing and availability

HP did not provide pricing for any of these models. Each is "expected to be available later in December," and prices will be released closer to that date.

HP EliteBook 800, ZBook Firefly G8 design

The EliteBook 800 and ZBook Firefly G8 laptops have a similar aesthetic, with a tapering bottom half that has a triangular edge on the rear. The ZBook Firefly, despite its name, isn't a brighter-colored laptop — but in fact darker than the silver EliteBook 800. As HP has been doing for a while, these laptops use ocean-bound plastics in the speaker enclosures. 

At 0.7 to 0.8 inches thick, these G8 laptops aren't exactly slim nor thick. And while the 14-inch ZBook Firefly weighing in at just barely less than 3 pounds is a strong showing, the EliteBooks tip the scales at 2.8 to 3.8 pounds, which make sense given their 13- to 15-inch sizes. The x360 830 G8 is 0.2 pounds heavier than its non-convertible sibling. 

HP EliteBook x360 830 G8

The HP EliteBook x360 830 G8 (Image credit: HP)

The EliteBook 800 G8 and ZBook Firefly G8 all have the same set of ports: dual Thunderbolt 4 USB-C, dual USB 3.1 Type-A ports, HDMI 2.0, a headphone jack, a security lock slot and a dedicated power port. 

HP EliteBook 800, ZBook Firefly G8 displays

One of the biggest differences between the ZBook Firefly and EliteBook 800 laptops is in their screens. Those who want an extremely accurate panel will go for the Firefly laptops, which are rated for 100% of the DCI-P3 spectrum. The M1 MacBook Pro hit 78.3% in our testing. 

Further, the ZBook Firefly panels are PANTONE Validated displays, which mean they meet the Pantone company's color fidelity criteria and simulates the "full range of real-world PANTONE Colors."

HP EliteBook 800, ZBook Firefly G8 performance

In addition to the Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors and Intel Xe integrated graphics in all of these laptops, the ZBook Firefly G8 also packs discrete Nvidia T500 graphics with 4GB of dedicated memory. HP claims this will net up to 3x graphics performance against the Firefly G7 laptops. 

The EliteBook 800 laptops also meet the Intel Evo standards, and there will be vPro versions (a standard for many IT teams) of these systems coming in January 2021. 

HP EliteBook 850 G8

The HP EliteBook 850 G8 (Image credit: HP)

HP EliteBook 800, ZBook Firefly G8 battery life

Just like the new M1-based MacBook Pro, the HP ZBook Firefly G8 14 and 15 look to provide seriously long battery life. HP rates the ZBook Fireflys as lasting up to 14 hours on a single charge. 

That's based on the MobileMark 14 battery test, though, so we'll see how long they make it on the Tom's Guide Battery Test, which involves web surfing over Wi-Fi. 

HP EliteBook 800, ZBook Firefly G8 outlook

Since competition is best for the consumer, we hope that HP's latest business-class laptops for creators and pros truly do stack up well against the new M1 MacBooks. At the very least, the Firefly G8 displays look to outshine Apple and anyone else hoping to throw down.

We look forward to testing these laptops out and seeing how they hold up to everyday use. Without pricing, though, it's hard to truly judge them at this stage.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.