[In-Depth Comparison] HP ZBook Power G8 vs Dell Precision 15 3561 vs Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 – Three heavy hitters enter the ring

Today we have a triple threat match, in wrestling terms, between three productivity workstation laptops, each of which can present a case for being the best in the class.

Neither of them is perfect though and that is what we are showcasing today. It’s necessary to look at both the good and the bad sides of a product, in order to present the most objective opinion possible.

The laptops that we will compare today are the HP ZBook Power G8, which offers great build quality, performance, and design, the Dell Precision 15 3561, which is a very ambitious offer from Dell, and the ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 from Lenovo, which has proved itself as a worthy ThinkPad device.

Today we are giving you a detailed comparison between the HP ZBook Power G8, the Dell Precision 15 3561, and the Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2.

HP ZBook Power G8: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Dell Precision 15 3561: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2: Full Specs / In-depth Review

HP ZBook Power G8 configurations:

Dell Precision 15 3561 configurations:

Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 configurations:

Contents


Design and construction

Starting from the design, all three notebooks have sturdy and rigid bodies, despite the fact that they use different materials. The ZBook Power G8 comes enveloped in aluminum, which gives it a premium cool-to-the-touch feel. It has next to no flex from the chassis, while the lid opens easily with one hand and suffers from little flexing. Its screen bezels are super thin though, with the top one housing an HD Webcam and an optional IR sensor for facial recognition. The laptop also looks great with a trademark Z-logo on the lid, which reminds us of the Nissan Z-car.

The Dell laptop definitely looks chunkier, which is attributed to the softer corners and edges. We honestly expected a similar built quality to the ZBook, but were surprised when we found out that the whole chassis is made from plastic, albeit a very high-quality one. In fact, the laptop is one of the toughest plastic ones that we have seen, showing no just a tiny bit of flex from the chassis. The lid here also opens with one hand and has some flex to it when we tried to twist it, which you shouldn’t worry about. Once again we see thin side bezels, with the top and bottom ones being slightly thicker. The top one has an HD Webcam, with an optional Full HD Webcam and a facial recognition sensor.

Lastly, the ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 also uses a plastic chassis, which Lenovo doesn’t try to hide. However, we are used to plastic Lenovo laptops, as the manufacturer has shown it can make a durable laptop, regardless of what material it chooses. As is tradition with ThinkPad devices, we have an industrial design, with a boxy shape and a black exterior. The lid opens easily with one hand, featuring both Lenovo and ThinkPad logos. However, it lacks support and flexes like crazy.

WeightHeight
HP ZBook Power G81.89 kg (4.2 lbs)22.8 mm (0.90″)
Dell Precision 15 35611.79 kg (3.9 lbs)22.67 ~ 24.05 mm (0.89″)
Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 22.07 kg (4.6 lbs)22.7 mm (0.89″)


Keyboard and touchpad

All three laptops have a full-length keyboard with a NumPad. The unit on the HP device has decent key travel, clicky feedback, a backlight, and spill-resistance. It lacks a tracking stick, but the touchpad is very accurate and has a snappy response. The only con we can see is the loud clicking sound of the touchpad, but we can get over that. Also, you get an optional fingerprint reader.

The Del unit is very similar, offering the same key travel and feedback, with an optional fingerprint reader that is embedded inside the power button. One disadvantage is the small arrow keys. The touchpad is a weak point of the laptop, with its small size. However, the unit is very comfortable to use and has accurate tracking and quick response.

The Lenovo notebook kills it with its keyboard. It has tons of key travel while bringing very clicky feedback. All in all, it is one of the most comfortable keyboards for typing. It is also spill-resistant and has a backlight. We see a red TrackPoint in the middle with dedicated physical buttons above the touchpad. Speaking of the touchpad, it is accurate and very smooth, but the clicky mechanism has a very short travel time.


Ports

The ZBook Power G8 has less than ideal I/O coverage, especially for a workstation. You get a total of three USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, a single Thunderbolt 4 port, an RJ-45 connector, an HDMI connector, a 3.5mm audio jack, and an optional Smart Card reader.

The Precision laptop has decently higher coverage, with two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a MicroSD card reader, a SmartCard reader, an HDMI 2.0 port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and an Ethernet port.

The ThinkPad device has a single Thunderbolt 4 port, a Smart Card reader, an RJ-45 connector, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, an SD card reader, and a SIM card tray on the back.


Spec sheet


Disassembly, upgrade options

All three laptops are easily upgradeable, offering two SODIMM RAM slots that can fit up to 64GB of DDR4 memory and two M.2 PCIe SSD slots. Also, all of them have only one port each with PCIe Gen 4.0 support.

The HP laptop is the fastest one to disassemble, being held together by five Phillips-head screws, while the two other notebooks use 9 Phillips-head screws each.


Display quality

The ZBook Power G8 has two 15.6-inch IPS display options, with either Full HD or UHD resolution.  The Dell laptop offers three display options, with either 1366 x 768p, Full HD, or 4K resolution. The ThinkPad laptop has two displays ith either Full HD or 4K resolution.

All three laptops came with a 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display We tested the Full HD unit which had a pixel density of 142 PPI, a pitch of 0.18 x 0.18 mm, and a Retina distance of 60cm or 24 inches.

All three laptops have excellent viewing angles. Here are images at 45° to evaluate and compare image quality.

The display on the HP laptop has a max brightness of 390 nits in the middle of the screen and also 382 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of only 5%. the contrast ratio sits at 1650:1.

The Dell laptop has the brightest panel with 413 nits in the middle of the screen and 392 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 10%. However, it has a lower contrast ratio of 1430:1.

The least bright panel for today is the one inside the Lenovo laptop. It has a maximum brightness of 320 nits in the middle of the screen and 306 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 8%. It also has the lowest contrast ratio of 1310:1.


Color coverage

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows the color coverage of the HP ZBook Power G8, the Dell Precision 15 3561, and the Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2.

Both the HP and Dell laptops show near full sRGB coverage, with 99% for the HP and 97% for the Dell. The Lenovo laptop’s display only covers 51% of the sRGB gamut.


Color accuracy

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of laptops with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

HP ZBook Power G8

Dell Precision 15 3561

Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” methods from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

All three laptops have a response time of around 28-29 ms, with the Lenovo panel being the fastest, having a Fall + Rise time of 28.4 ms.


Health Impact / PWM (Blue light)

PWM – Screen flickering

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

In terms of flickering all panels show no usage of PWM across any brightness levels.


Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Here at LaptopMedia, we create a set of custom-tailored profiles for every notebook we review. They boost the productivity of display and reduce negative effects such as blue light emissions and PWM. You can read more about them here.

HP ZBook Power G8 15.6″ FHD IPS AUO AUOA08B: Buy our profiles

Dell Precision 15 3561 15.6″ FHD IPS BOE V3NPM-NV15N6B (BOE093E): Buy our profiles

Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 15.6″ FHD IPS AUO B156HAN02.1 (LEN40BA): Buy our profiles

Sound

Both the HP and Lenovo laptops have front-firing speakers. The setup on the Dell Precision 15 is bottom-firing, but the setup shows no deviations across the entire frequency range and produces clear and loud audio. The speakers on the HP and Lenovo devices show some deviations from clarity while producing decent sound.


Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. The Dell laptop has the biggest battery of the bunch, packing a huge 97Wh unit. Next is the HP ZBook Power G8 with 83Wh. Lastly, we have the Lenovo device, which has a 68Wh unit.

Unsurprisingly, the Dell laptop had the longest battery life in our Web-browsing test, followed by the Lenovo device, with the HP ZBook finishing last (or first in this case). In the video playback test, the HP came out on top, followed by the Dell and the Lenovo laptops.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.


Performance

All three devices support the new Tiger Lake H45 processors, including their vPro variants. In total, you can choose between Core i5-11400H, Core i5-11500H, Core i7-11800H, Core i7-11850H, and Core i9-11950H. The Dell Precision 15 also has the option for the Xeon W-11855M, which brings ECC memory support.

All three notebooks pack either the NVIDIA Quadro T600 or T1200. The ZBook Power G8 and the Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 can also be purchased with the RTX A2000, which has the Ampere architecture and has similar performance to the RTX 3050 and RTX 3050 Ti.

CPU benchmarks

Here we tested the Core i7-11800H, Core i9-11950H, and the Core i5-11400H. The Core i7 was the faster chip in the 3D Rendering test, beating out the supposedly better Core i9 by 3%. In the Photoshop benchmark, the Core i9 was the quickest, completing the test 0.25 seconds faster than the Core i7. To our total shock, the Core i5 was last in both tests.


GPU benchmarks

Here all three laptops came equipped with the NVIDIA Quadro T600. The scores were very close, but the GPU inside the Dell Precision 15 had the lead ever so slightly across the three benchmarks, followed by the ZBook Power G8 and the ThinkPad P15v Gen 2.

Results are from the 3DMark: Time Spy (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

Far Cry 5Full HD, Normal (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
HP ZBook Power G8 – NVIDIA T60054 fps49 fps45 fps
Dell Precision 15 3561 – NVIDIA T60056 fps52 fps48 fps
Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 – NVIDIA T60053 fps49 fps45 fps

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016)Full HD, Lowest (Check settings)Full HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
HP ZBook Power G8 – NVIDIA T60098 fps68 fps34 fps
Dell Precision 15 3561 – NVIDIA T600101 fps70 fps34 fps
Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 – NVIDIA T60097 fps68 fps33 fps

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon WildlandsFull HD, Medium (Check settings)Full HD, High (Check settings)Full HD, Very High (Check settings)
HP ZBook Power G8 – NVIDIA T60054 fps46 fps41 fps
Dell Precision 15 3561 – NVIDIA T60053 fps49 fps43 fps
Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 – NVIDIA T60051 fps47 fps41 fps

Temperatures and comfort

In terms of cooling, the HP Zbook Power G8 has three heat pipes, with two for the CPU and GPU. The third one cools down the VRMs and the Graphics memory. The Dell and Lenovo laptops each have two heat pipes, for the processor and the graphics.


Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Intel Core i7-11800H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
HP ZBook Power G83.47 GHz (B+51%) @ 97°C @ 79W3.20 GHz (B+39%) @ 98°C @ 67W2.95 GHz (B+28%) @ 98°C @ 57W

The ZBook Power G8’s Core i7 did decently but could have pushed for higher clock speeds. However, the temperatures were very close to 100°C.

Intel Core i9-11950H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Dell Precision 15 35612.86 GHz @ 94°C3.28 GHz @ 99°C2.82 GHz @ 94°C

The Core i9 performed poorly, maintaining a high temperature without the expected high speeds.

Intel Core i5-11400H (45W TDP)0:02 – 0:10 sec0:15 – 0:30 sec10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 22.90 GHz (B+32%) @ 99°C @ 42W2.75 GHz (B+25%) @ 99°C @ 39W2.58 GHz (B+17%) @ 99°C @ 33W

The Lenovo laptop did similarly to the Core i9 – cooling-wise. Obviously, you can’t compare the two directly, since they’re nowhere close to being even in terms of performance.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA Quadro T600GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min)GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min)
HP ZBook Power G81432 MHz @ 58°C1432 MHz @ 57°C
Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 21311 MHz @ 77°C1300 MHz @ 80°C
Dell Precision 15 35611333 MHz @ 71°C1338 MHz @ 70°C

The GPU inside the ZBook Power G8 was the best performing one of the bunch, having the highest clock speed of 1432 MHz, while keeping the lowers temperature, with a margin of around 20°C lower.

Comfort during combined load

Once again, the ZBook comes on top, being the coolest laptop of the three with an outside temperature of just 35°C.


Verdict

All three laptops are powerful workstation devices that can do fantastic work if handled by the right person. In terms of build quality and design, all three laptops are very durable and offer different designs. If you want a more premium-feeling laptop, the ZBook Power G8’s aluminum body will satisfy your need.

The input devices on the ThinkPad are superb, offering very long key travel and very clicky feedback, making it stand above the competition. The touchpad however needs some ironing out – it is smooth and accurate, but the travel distance of the click is very small. The Dell Precision 15 has the widest I/O giving you two Thunderbolt 4 and two USB Type-A ports, while also having a MicroSD card reader.

All three laptops are great for upgradeability, offering two SSD and two SODIMM slots. When it comes to the display selection, the HP and Dell devices, offer panels with near full sRGB color coverage and professional-grade color accuracy. The speakers on the Dell device, despite firing from the bottom, perform the best, producing clear audio with no deviations across the entire frequency range. The Precision 15 is also well-performing in our battery life tests, although none of the three laptops gave us consistent results.

Performance-wise, the HP and Dell notebooks ran away with the CPU benchmarks, leaving the ThinkPad behind. The two laptops were very close, with the ZBook Power G8 being faster in the 3D Rendering test, while the Precision 15 was faster in the Photoshop benchmark. Keep in mind that the ThinkPad was “only” equipped with the Core i5-11400H, which doesn’t stand a chance against its more powerful compatriots. The GPU scores were very close, as the three laptops use the same NVIDIA T600. Unsurprisingly, the gaming tests were very close as well, as you can see for yourselves above.

Lastly, we have to talk about cooling, especially with machines with this level of hardware. The HP ZBook kept its CPU within risky temperatures, but it had the highest clock speeds of all three. It also has the GPU with the highest clock speed and the lowest temperatures. Oh, and we can’t forget about the fact that the ZBook had the lowest outside temperature of only 35°C.

Why choose HP ZBook Power G8?

  • + Aluminum design
  • + Great cooling
  • + Great screen with high color coverage and good accuracy
  • + Wide I/O

Why choose Dell Precision 15 3561?

  • + Best performing GPU
  • + Great speaker setup
  • + Wide I/O
  • + Great screen with high color coverage and good accuracy

Why choose Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2?

  • + Fantastic keyboard with long key travel and clicky feedback
  • + Lowest starting price

HP ZBook Power G8: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Dell Precision 15 3561: Full Specs / In-depth Review

Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2: Full Specs / In-depth Review

All HP ZBook Power G8 configurations:

All Dell Precision 15 3561 configurations:

All Lenovo ThinkPad P15v Gen 2 configurations:

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