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HP ZBook Create G7 Notebook PC Review– A Workstation For Prosumer Creators
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Since 2013, HP has been offering mobile workstations under the Z Workstation brand, including the popular ZBook. Mobile workstations are becoming more popular for creators and gamers who need to game and create while on the go or away from their primary PC. This has been especially true during the time of Covid-19.
Thanks to more efficient processing, notebooks are getting thinner and lighter while still being able to pack in more CPU and GPU performance, which is essential for creative applications like video editing, 3D rendering, and more. I can recall when packing desktop performance into a thinner notebook form factor was laughable, but as new generations of mobile workstations come to market, it isn’t just possible; it is more real.
The newest mobile workstation offering from HP is the HP ZBook Create G7 Notebook PC. The system offers a 15.6″, 4K UHD display, Intel 10th Gen mobile processors, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX Max-Q graphics. HP sent me a loaner system, and I spent a few days using the HP ZBook Create G7 as my primary productivity device. After using HP’s new mobile workstation, I wanted to share my experience. I also wrote about HP’s creator-focused notebook offerings back in April, and you can access that here.
Build quality and initial thoughts
Out of the box, the system feels exceptionally premium. The grey metallic material that covers the design gives off a premium look and feel. The system’s exterior edges consist of the same reflective material as the “Z” logo on the display lid. I like that HP ditched its traditional “HP” symbol for the “Z” because it is effortless to identify the ZBook when sitting next to other notebooks and makes it feel for custom. The system weighs 4.65 lbs, which sits somewhere in the mid-range of creator notebook weights. I didn’t notice a big difference in weight from a traditional 15″ non-creator notebook when I swapped them out in my backpack, but maybe I was walking extended distances. Either way, the system wasn’t light, but not particularly heavy either, especially for the performance this thing puts off. I can take that trade-off for much higher performance. The notebook lid is extremely thin, sleek, and snaps snuggly to the system’s base.
Using a quiet keyboard was a great experience. I literally get angry when I hear others with MacBook clickety-clacking around. Where are their manners? It’s as if the Mac keyboard were built for loners or something who sit in their basements working. I’m just kidding of course, but I had to get that off my chest. The keys were quiet, punchy, and responsive. The keyboard is also spill resistant which is a nice touch. I really liked this keyboard.
The large precision trackpad was also easy to use. There was a fair amount of feedback when I used it. You don’t always get that in a notebook trackpad. I will still be pairing an external mouse with the system like I expect most creators and gamers will. The power button is on the top right of the system keyboard. My ZBook came with a fingerprint reader, but the option is there. I prefer visual login anyways which was fast as heck and responsive. The system audio is by Bang Olufsen with quad speakers, including two tweeters and two woofers.
The speakers were loud and crisp when I used them for watching Blacklist on Netflix, streaming music on YouTube, and video conferencing on Teams, WebEx, or Zoom. I was impressed with how loud the notebook speakers were at max volume. The bass was especially deep. The speakers in the ZBook Create G7 are some of the cleanest I have ever used in a notebook. As my video audio got progressively louder, it still stayed remarkably clear and crisp.
I used the HP World Facing Microphone and 720p HD webcam with IR for powering all my video conferencing applications. I think a 4,000 laptop should have a 1080P camera for videoconferencing with clients but maybe the expectation is that the producer would have an external 4K camera or DSLR. I usually opt for a pair of external headphones with a microphone for video conferencing, but I felt comfortable going without them in this notebook.
Compared to other notebooks in this category like the MacBook Pro 16, the systems are similar in build quality and size. The MacBook Pro 16 weighs slightly less at 4.3 lbs compared to 4.65 lbs. Both systems have a similar look and feel on the exterior.
The display on the HP ZBook Create G7 is 15.6″ OLED and has an impressive 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, which is 4K UHD. The display is very bright at 600 nits. I will say that since the panel is virtually borderless, it feels more like a 17″ notebook than a 15″. The screen has plenty of screen real estate to split browser instances across the screen or use multiple applications at once. I used the display for running my everyday productivity tasks and for streaming content. Additionally, I took on some gaming and creative workloads like editing video in Adobe premiere pro and running Fortnite. The colors on display were very saturated, high contrast, and provided a great viewing experience. As you would expect with OLED, the blacks were stunning.
My loaner system also had the touch display option. It was responsive to touch, and I am glad the system came with it because I find myself scrolling through webpages and articles quite often. One thing to note for the gamers is that the display is 60Hz. Although you may get higher frame rates than 60 FPS, the system will refresh at the capped rate. Keep in mind, though, this is for creating first, gaming in your spare time second.
The 4K UHD display on the HP ZBook Create G7 will provide a responsive, snappy experience for creators and gamers alike. I feel confident that this display can keep up with just about any workload a power user can throw at it.
Performance- beast mode “on”
My loaner system came with an Intel Core i9-10885H vPro processor, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with Max-Q Design, 32GB of RAM, 2TB PCIe NVMe TLC SSD, and a 3840 x 2160 resolution touch display. The system also came with Intel Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5. This configuration of the HP ZBook G7 Create is pricey at 4,202.10, but you can get into the Z mobile workstation game for much cheaper. For instance, you can get a system with an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 GPU with Max-Q Design, 16GB of RAM, 256GB PCIe NVMe TLC SSD, and 1920 x 1080P display for 2,868.39.
I felt very comfortable using this system as the primary device and using it in true workstation fashion while hooking up and running a couple of external 4K or 1080p displays for more screen real estate. My use case is not the most intensive, but it consists of running 10 browser instances, editing presentations in PowerPoint, analyzing data in Excel, running multiple video conferencing applications, streaming videos, and editing the occasional video. When you start to get many of these instances running simultaneously, it can be very intensive on the system, but the HP ZBook Create G7 ran all these tasks with ease and no sign of slowing down.
HP ZBook 14 Hands-on
To test the system’s gaming capabilities, I ran a couple of titles, including Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Fortnite. Both titles were able to stay about 50 FPS consistently on 1920 x 1080p resolution. This notebook isn’t going to offer much playable gameplay in 4K resolution, but 1920 x 1080p provides an excellent experience for gaming on the go. To measure content creation performance, I encoded 15 minutes’ worth of 4K footage that I shot on my Panasonic GH5, and it finished in just 4 minutes and 12 seconds. For comparison’s sake, I ran the same set of footage on the new Dell XPS 17 with an Intel Core i7-10875H and 2060 Max-Q, and it took 4 minutes and 46 seconds.
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The system got a little hot on the bottom when going full-throttle, but it was cooler than other high-performance systems I have tested.
Whether you are picking up the ZBook Create G7 for productivity, content creation, gaming, or all three, there is plenty of performance ceiling to tackle all your workloads. I can’t speak for professional designers using intensive 3D modeling software, but this notebook provides just about all the performance you could want into a 15″ form factor.
Ports and I/O
The HP ZBook Create G7 comes with plenty of ports and I/O for connecting displays, mice, or other external devices. The system comes with a USB-A port, an AC power connector, 2 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support, a mini display port, a nano security lock, a headphone/microphone combo jack, and an SD card slot. It would have been nice to see one more USB-A legacy port for connecting peripherals that may be a little older, but oh well, you can’t have it all. On the other hand, I do believe professionals will opt for a Thunderbolt dock.
The system comes with the HP Long Life 6-cell, 83 Wh Li-ion battery. According to HP, the battery life of the HP ZBook Create G7 should last 14 hours. My personal productivity use case consists of running 10 web browsing tabs, writing articles, creating presentations in PowerPoint, analyzing data in Excel, and video conferencing across multiple apps throughout the day. I was getting around 10 hours of battery life from the system while unplugged for my use case. I was getting less battery life for more creators and gaming-focused workloads like running Fortnite or editing video in Adobe Premiere Pro. On average, I was getting 6-7 hours of battery life while running these more intensive workloads. To combat quick battery drain, the HP ZBook Create G7 also supports fast charging, allowing you to get back to 50% battery life within 30 minutes of being on the charger. I would rate the battery life as good, but not great. The length was on par with my expectations from a mobile workstation.
I loved the 200W charger with a super-long cable and high-quality braided cable. The experience was so much better than my MacBook Pro with its giant brick that takes up two to three charging AC ports. Like the keyboard, I sometimes think the MacBook Pro power design is for someone in their basement with no one else around. Try working at a WeWork common area or even a Starbucks and you see the giant eye rolls as the MacBook Pro user hogs all the AC power ports.
The HP ZBook Create G7 leaves little to be desired in terms of features, display, and performance. Personally, I would prefer a 17” version and am hoping this is on the roadmap. The notebook is sleek, the display is bright and responsive, and it is a joy to type on. Although I would not consider myself a power user, I anticipate this notebook will take on most creative applications sufficiently.
When I compare this creator notebook to Apple’s flagship MacBook Pro 16, I don’t see many reasons to choose the MacBook Pro over the 15.6” ZBook Create G7. The ZBook Create G7 will have higher graphics performance with ray tracing support (up to RTX 2080 SUPER), better display options (full-touch, brighter, HDR 400), faster processor (up to 5.3GHz burst), superior after-work gaming experience, less dongles (USB A), enterprise-class security and manageability (Intel vPro, HP Sure), two more years warranty, and in my opinion, a better productivity user experience. And you’ll save some cash. Unless you are locked into the Apple ecosystem or MacOS, need the.4” extra display, or 4/8TB option, the HP ZBook Create G7 is a better option for creators and gamers looking for a real mobile workstation to get desktop level productivity while staying mobile. And maybe gaming after hours.
I can see myself using this notebook as my workstation hub while I am away from my primary office where my primary device is a behemoth of a desktop workstation.
Note: Moor Insights Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.
Disclosure: Moor Insights Strategy, like all research and analyst firms, provides or has provided paid research, analysis, advising, or consulting to many high-tech companies in the industry, including 8×8, Advanced Micro Devices, Amazon, Applied Micro, ARM, Aruba Networks, ATT, AWS, A-10 Strategies, Bitfusion, Blaize, Calix, Cisco Systems, Clear Software, Cloudera, Clumio, Cognitive Systems, CompuCom, Dell, Dell EMC, Dell Technologies, Diablo Technologies, Digital Optics, Dreamchain, Echelon, Ericsson, Extreme Networks, Flex, Foxconn, Frame, Fujitsu, Gen Z Consortium, Glue Networks, GlobalFoundries, Google (Nest-Revolve), Google Cloud, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Honeywell, Huawei Technologies, IBM, Ion VR, Inseego, Intel, Interdigital, Jabil Circuit, Konica Minolta, Lattice Semiconductor, Lenovo, Linux Foundation, MapBox, Mavenir, Marseille Inc, Mayfair Equity, Meraki (Cisco), Mesophere, Microsoft, Mojo Networks, National Instruments, NetApp, Nightwatch, NOKIA (Alcatel-Lucent), Nortek, Novumind, NVIDIA, ON Semiconductor, ONUG, OpenStack Foundation, Oracle, Poly, Panasas, Peraso, Pexip, Pixelworks, Plume Design, Portworx, Pure Storage, Qualcomm, Rackspace, Rambus, Rayvolt E-Bikes, Red Hat, Residio, Samsung Electronics, SAP, SAS, Scale Computing, Schneider Electric, Silver Peak, Sony, Springpath, Spirent, Splunk, Sprint, Stratus Technologies, Symantec, Synaptics, Syniverse, Synopsys, Tanium, TE Connectivity, TensTorrent, Tobii Technology. Unity Technologies, UiPath, Verizon Communications, Vidyo, VMware, Wave Computing, Wellsmith, Xilinx, Zebra, Zededa, and Zoho which may be cited in this article.
Patrick was ranked the #1 analyst out of 8,000 in the ARInsights Power 100 rankings and the #1 most cited analyst as ranked by Apollo Research. Patrick founded Moor Insights Strategy based on in his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Moorhead is also a contributor for both Forbes, CIO, and the Next Platform. He runs MiS but is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the software-defined datacenter and the Internet of Things (IoT), and Patrick is a deep expert in client computing and semiconductors. He has nearly 30 years of experience including 15 years as an executive at high tech companies leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments. Before Patrick started the firm, he spent over 20 years as a high-tech strategy, product, and marketing executive who has addressed the personal computer, mobile, graphics, and server ecosystems. Unlike other analyst firms, Moorhead held executive positions leading strategy, marketing, and product groups. He is grounded in reality as he has led the planning and execution and had to live with the outcomes. Moorhead also has significant board experience. He served as an executive board member of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the American Electronics Association (AEA) and chaired the board of the St. David’s Medical Center for five years, designated by Thomson Reuters as one of the 100 Top Hospitals in America.
HP ZBook 14 G2 review
If you require stronger performance than a consumer-grade laptop, but you’re also concerned about heft and style, the HP ZBook 14 G2 is a fine device. However, if you need a serious kick for intense tasks, you might want to look elsewhere.
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Let’s be honest: most mobile workstations are too heavy (and ugly) to comfortably carry around. These powerful and expensive devices typically weigh more than five pounds (2.26 kg) and they look as boxy and boring as the laptops in ’80s sci-fi films. Luckily, HP has done its part to save the mobile workstation industry from itself with the new, improved and gorgeous HP ZBook 14 G2 (1,779, £1,966, AU2,492).
Competing against slightly larger mobile workstations, like the 15.5-inch Lenovo ThinkPad W550 and the 15.6-inch Dell Precision M3800, the ZBook 14 is designed for the mobile professional who needs plenty of pop under the hood, as well as a bit of portability and style.
In addition to the three aforementioned Windows devices, the MacBook Pro 13-inch with Retina Display is a lighter, slimmer, more stylish and equally powerful professional device. It all comes down to which specifications suit your needs and how much you’re willing to spend.
At just 3.77 pounds (1.71kg) and 0.83 inches (21mm) tall, the ZBook 14 doesn’t feel like a mobile workstation. Its closest rivals, the Precision M3800 and the Lenovo W550 are 0.3 pounds (0.13kg) and 2.7 pounds (1.22kg) heavier than the ZBook.
Most other notable mobile workstations, such as the MSI Prestige PE60 2QD, are all in the 5 to 7-pound range. The sleek and stylish MacBook Pro 13-inch weighs an anorexic 3.48lbs (1.58kg), and it is slightly thinner than the ZBook at only 0.71 inches (18mm).
In order to make the ZBook so light, HP relied heavily on a matted black aluminum upper panel, bordered along the edges with rubber and magnesium. This gorgeous design is perfect for a serious no-nonsense machine. If nefarious federal agents carried laptops instead of briefcases in the movies, the HP ZBook 14 G2 would be their device of choice.
The bottom panel is mostly black magnesium, save for four rubber feet that keep the laptop steady on all sorts of surfaces and angles.
With one simple button-click, I was able to remove the bottom panel to gain access to an easily removable battery. tech-savvy users will love the removable panel, as it gives you easy access to the cooling fan, your processors, as well as your wireless card – should you need to quickly upgrade or replace a damaged item.
The laptop‘s display is entirely surrounded by black magnesium. Like most HP and Lenovo laptops, the display is surrounded by a thick and unattractive 0.5-1-inch border. Competitors like Dell have begun designing laptops with minimal display border to provide a more cinematic experience. The ZBook has about as “uncinematic” an experience as you can get in terms of screen border.
Despite its dull surroundings, the Full HD (FHD), 1,920 x 1,080p screen is bright and colorful. It produces vibrant colors with plenty of detail from a wide range of viewing angles. Even with heavy sunlight overhead, you should be able to enjoy watching a movie, so long as it isn’t an incredibly dark film, like Sin City or Citizen Kane.
Unfortunately, the touchscreen is an optional upgrade, and the laptop won’t perform any Lenovo-style bends and twists. What you’re getting with the standard ZBook 14 G2 is a traditional laptop whose screen can bend back 130-degrees, but can’t be manipulated with a finger or stylus.
The standard keyboard base is primarily composed of black aluminum. The backlit keys are made of magnesium and they sit above an aluminum trackpad with two upper and two lower buttons. I find these buttons to be unnecessary.
HP, Dell and Lenovo insist on including the buttons on their professional laptops, despite the fact that most of us are touch-oriented people who scroll and click using only our fingers and a screen on the majority of our personal devices. Although these buttons are superfluous, they don’t detract from the ZBook’s overall aesthetic and should not be considered a major issue.
Current page: Introduction and design
HP ZBook Fury Notebook: A Complete Review
Desktop PCs, like the HP Z workstations, have earned a well-deserved reputation for offering powerful business and creative resources. But with more professionals working on the go, not everyone has a consistent workspace (let alone an actual desk) for their computer.
What is the HP ZBook Fury notebook?
The latest entries in the HP ZBook family include the 2 new HP ZBook Fury G8 laptops. These powerful, portable computers have wowed users by being expandable and customizable.
Combined with Windows 10 Pro 64, these sleek, slim notebooks offer desktop-caliber performance capable of the most intense processing tasks, including photo editing, 3D design, and video editing and rendering. They also make quick work of your most complex datasets.
Who is the HP ZBook Fury G8 built for?
Anyone can benefit from the power of these notebooks, but the professionals who will find the most to love about the HP ZBook Fury include:
Data scientists who use Keras, TensorFlow, PyTorch, and RAPIDS. You can benefit from the robust graphic processing capabilities of the NVIDIA RTXTM A5000 Laptop GPU or AMD RadeonTM Pro GPU when you want to explore billions of data sets in real-time. Media professionals who use Premiere Pro, Avid, 3DS Max, Autodesk, and Maya to edit and render large High Definition (HD) and 4K files while you rely on high-end color representation and grading. Engineers and product designers who utilize Ansys, Unity, Unreal, NX, VRED, Creo, Catia, and SOLIDWORKS. You need powerful memory, storage, and graphics to design and analyze your 3D models.
This isn’t a complete list, of course. Does your job or hobby require a combination of high-end graphics, intense processing power, large amounts of memory, and an operating system that securely puts it all together? If you answer yes to any of these, then the HP ZBook G8 Fury may be right for you, too.
Benefits of the HP ZBook Fury
There are many perks to owning any HP ZBook workstation, but here are the most exciting advantages for HP ZBook Fury G8 owners.
It may be difficult to imagine a laptop that harnesses so much computing power while maintaining portability, but the HP ZBook Fury G8 does exactly that. It weighs in at just under 7 lbs and is 26 mm thick, so you can easily transport your laptop in a backpack, laptop bag, or briefcase. Plus, it has built-in DNN noise reduction to keep unwanted noise out of video calls, making it easier to work in an airport, coffee shop, or construction site.
Since there are risks to taking your notebook with you, HP’s designers took extra care to reinforce this device with high quality materials. It was also tested against MIL-STD 810H standards to make sure it can stand up to the rough workday.
Choose from Intel Core or Xeon processors when you customize your HP Fury, including the i5, i7, and mega-powered i9. It’s easy to find a solution to handle the most complex, multithreaded apps loved by designers and data engineers. You’ll render, edit, and simulate without drag or lag.
Pick from either the NVIDIA RTX A5000 Laptop GPU or AMD Radeon Pro GPU and watch as your colors, videos, and 3D objects pop. Make edits in real-time and see them on your screen without any lag or extended render times. And when combined with the processor, this workstation is VR-ready, so you can create and explore all the virtual worlds you want.
You can choose from the 15-inch diagonal screen of the HP ZBook 15 or the 17-inch screen of the HP ZBook 17, and both are built to show off each brilliant pixel. And with HP DreamColor Display technology, you’ll enjoy 100% DCI-P3 coverage and Pantone Validated color accuracy, plus a 120 Hz refresh rate.
You can also choose from a variety of screen technologies, including Full High Definition (FHD) with anti glare, 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) with anti glare, and touch screen with Corning Gorilla Glass protection against cracks and scratches.
LOADED WITH SOFTWARE
Save time and money with a notebook installed with the top productivity tools. By having the leading software applications from the get-go, you can rest assured you’ll use the latest, certified versions. Create, render, edit, and share in the environments you already know and trust.
Adobe Creative Cloud Data Science Stack HP QuickDrop HP JumpStart HP Noise Cancellation Software HP ZCentral Remote Boost 2020 Software for Z workstation
EXPANDABLE AND ADAPTABLE
What you see with your eyes isn’t always the only thing you get, and that’s particularly true when it comes to memory. You can load up to 128GB of RAM into the HP Fury G8. Better yet, you don’t need to be (or hire) a pro to add RAM. Just use the tool-free access, and you can upgrade removable components and keep an eye on your components.
You also get a bevy of ports to plug in monitors, drafting tools, and networking accessories, or you can quickly hook up the HP Thunderbolt Dock for a seamless experience.
All HP Fury G8 models come with these ports:
SD card reader HDMI 2.0 Mini DisplayPort 1.4 (2) USB Type-C (2) Thunderbolt 4 with USB4 Power
Anyone who works in video and data knows that projects can get into the hundreds of gigabytes. But with the HP Fury G8, you can avoid leaning on external drives thanks to the included PCle storage. Get up to 8TB to store everything you need – and then some.
COOL AND EFFICIENT
Powerful programs simply need more power, which sometimes leads to overheating and increased energy consumption. The HP ZBook Fury G8 solves both issues with its vapor chamber, which vaporizes liquid and redistributes heat away from the CPU and GPU.
Plus, the included vents pull out heat with help from the liquid-crystal polymer fans. Also, the upgraded BIOS configuration manages power better to direct energy resources to the apps that need it most, right when they need it.
When working with important business data, how do you keep your projects safe from prying eyes and hackers? Keep people from peeking over your shoulder with the HP Sure View privacy display. All you need to do is click a button on your keyboard to engage the feature and keep those eyes from viewing your screen.
The HP Sure Start function ensures you’re always running the most updated firmware for the world’s first self-healing BIOS. If your BIOS does become compromised, it will recover and repair corrupted files.
Thanks to the Sure Sense AI-based features, your computer notices and removes newer malware threats and never-before-seen risks before you even know they happen. The deep-learning algorithms and neural network tech help protect your data and valuable work.
The extras you didn’t know you needed
The HP Fury G8 has additional treats other notebooks simply don’t offer, including TILE technology that helps you find your device if it’s ever lost or stolen. It’s also sanitizable, allowing you to wipe it down more than 1,000 times with household wipes.
Connectivity is easier than ever with the HP Extended Range Wireless LAN, which increases data speeds at shorter ranges with less packet loss. Pair that connection with the HP QuickDrop app for incredible convenience as you transfer videos, documents, and more between your computer and connected mobile devices.
How the HP ZBook Fury stacks up
While previous versions of the HP ZBook Fury family led the marketplace in innovation and portable power, this latest iteration continues to build on the tradition. The HP ZBook Fury G8 offers the latest Intel processors, with the 11th generation Intel Core i9 processor, a step up from the previous generation’s WM490 chipset.
While this model has the same RAM slots and capability as its predecessor, the transfer rates improved from 2667 MT/s up to 3200 MT/s. Plus, the HP ZBook Fury G8 upgraded to the even speedier Thunderbolt 4 port.
HP ZBook Fury review summary
The days of creating all your best work in the office are long gone. Whether you already take your projects on the road or you adjusted to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now possible to create, edit, and share highly technical projects from a mobile workstation.
With the same power and durability as a desktop PC, but with the adaptability you need in this fast-paced world, the HP ZBook Fury G8 is a complete game-changer. For remote teams, travelers, and anyone who wants to maximize space and time, you won’t miss your traditional workspace when you choose this computer.
Available in 2 sizes, the HP Fury G8 is expandable and customizable with your choice of processing, memory, display size, and graphics. Add on your choice of accessories or take it into the office and hook it up to a large display (or two!). Whichever way you use the HP Fury G8, the end result is the same: a brilliant, streamlined experience, backed by loads of power.
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HP ZBook x2 G4 review: The perfect laptop for a cluster of creatives
HP’s detachable workstation melds class-leading Wacom feel with HP DreamColor accuracy and hits the bullseye for some.
I’ve been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I’m currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I’ve also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
If I had to describe the HP ZBook x2 G4 in one sentence, it would have to be “It’s like a Microsoft Surface Pro and its competitors, but way better.”
HP ZBook x2 G4
The HP ZBook x2 G4’s Adobe RGB-accurate DreamColor matte screen is far more usable than the typical glossy panel, and combined with Wacom EMR’s 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity provides brushes that feel more natural than most to work with. It’s also powerful for its size, relatively full-featured and the detachable Bluetooth keyboard is comfortable for typing.
You’re limited to the one, single-button stylus, it’s relatively heavy and while the battery life is good for its components, it won’t get you through the day.
The Bottom Line
As long as you aren’t constrained by the stylus and are comfortable with the cost, the HP ZBook x2 G4 DreamColor delivers accurate color and smooth sketching with workstation credibility.
The detachable mobile workstation doesn’t excite me quite as much when I first saw it.- I really thought it had a 10-bit panel.- but it’s still a great solution for a select group, especially heavy users of Adobe Creative Cloud applications. People who need a full Adobe RGB gamut coverage and hardware color profiling; who want excellent pressure sensitivity and feel for digital brushwork; and who need a workstation graphics processor to either run certified applications along with workstation-class security, or enable 10-bit color support in applications like Photoshop. And who can afford all of the above. Some limitations, though, may narrow that club a little further.
Now, your 1,500 words of why.
Adobe RGB FTW
The 14-inch 4K touch display comes in two versions: one with DreamColor, one without. The DreamColor versions are factory calibrated to accurate Adobe RGB, and for that, it’s definitely great: out of the box, Delta E 2000 values repeatedly measured well under 2, white point averaging about 6,730K (a smidge high, but within 4 percent of D65), a peak brightness of 340 nits and black level of 0.23 nits (but that’s at 100 percent screen brightness) with a 1,500:1 contrast and a clean 2.2 gamma curve. (We test using Calman 5 Ultimate and an X-Rite i1Display Pro.)
Overall, it’s well designed, though the industrial design probably isn’t to everyone’s taste. The detachable keyboard is rigid, with key travel and feedback sufficient for comfortable typing. Plus, its high-end-plastic back doesn’t attract schmutz. Or cat fur. The kickstand is rigid for inking, and can tilt down to a low angle. Because it’s a detachable, you remove the magnetically attached keyboard to turn into a tablet, and it conveniently reconnects via Bluetooth for use while separated. That’s great for applications where your muscle memory insists on keyboard shortcuts.
Finally, the price
Normally, this would be one of the first things I talk about. But you have to think about whether it delivers what you need before making the “wow, that’s expensive” assessment. Because it’s significantly more than all the consumer options, even after factoring in the Surface Pro’s essential add-ons, like a keyboard and stylus, which add at least 230 to the price.
HP’s preconfigured models start at 2,280 in the US; that’s for a Core i7-7600U with 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD. While all the systems come with the Quadro M620.- ignore the i5/iGPU configuration option, I have no clue why it’s there.- they don’t all come with the DreamColor-calibrated display. However, DreamColor support adds only 175 to the price, so if you care about color profiling it’s worth it.
Models with eighth-generation i7-8650U CPUs start at 2,900, and come with at least 16GB RAM and 512GB or 1TB SSDs. You can also customize it from the ground up, but that 2,900 model configuration looks pretty good to me unless someone else is footing the bill. For video editing, you might want to increase storage to the 1TB Z Turbo Drive SSD, which will add about 420 to the cost.
HP ZBook 14 Mobile Workstation Video Review (HD)
Our evaluation model wasn’t a standard configuration.- we had 32GB rather than the 16GB-equipped 3,400 version. In Australia, there are no eighth-generation Core i options, at least not yet, so the nearest configuration has the same storage and RAM but an i7-7600U for AU6,860. And then in the UK, there’s no 1TB option, and you have to choose between 16GB with a 512GB SSD or 32GB and a 256GB SSD, plus there are only i7-7600U choices at the moment. The 16GB/512GB model runs £3,656, but isn’t available; the 32GB 256GB model, the only available model, costs about £3,710.
It’s worth the extra money for the seventh-generation processors, at the very least because they likely deliver better battery life.- and this needs it. I suspect the Quadro GPU takes a lot of power, and with workstations there’s rarely fallback to the integrated graphics to extend battery life, which tested at almost five hours. That’s actually not bad for a tablet with discrete graphics and a 4K display, but that’s small consolation on a cross-country flight.
And finally, its performance stands up quite well against full laptops, though I don’t have a lot of data for comparisons (we haven’t run the Cinebench tests, which are the relevant ones here, on enough of the competing systems.) In practice, it felt as fast as a typical midrange desktop. That’s one of the trade-offs for its size and flexibiility. But it never got hot, which is important as well.
Streaming video playback battery drain test
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) 984 Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017) 643 Microsoft Surface Pro 505 HP ZBook x2 G4 283 Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 243 Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) tablet section 239
Geekbench 4 (Multi-Core)
Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017) 15973 HP ZBook x2 G4 15060 Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) 12940 Microsoft Surface Pro 8845 Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 3707
Cinebench R15 CPU (multi-core)
Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017) 764 Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) 691 HP ZBook x2 G4 524