HP ZBook x2 G4 review: The perfect laptop for a cluster of creatives – CNET

The detachable mobile workstation does n’t excite me quite ampere much when I first base saw it — I actually thought it had a 10-bit panel — but it ‘s silent a big solution for a blue-ribbon group, particularly arduous users of Adobe Creative Cloud applications. People who need a full Adobe RGB gamut coverage and hardware tinge profile ; who want excellent pressure sensitivity and feel for digital brushwork ; and who need a workstation artwork central processing unit to either run certified applications along with workstation-class security system, or enable 10-bit color hold in applications like Photoshop. And who can afford all of the above. Some limitations, though, may narrow that club a little far. 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 decidedly great : out of the box, Delta E 2000 values repeatedly measured well under 2, white point averaging about 6,730K ( a shred high, but within 4 percentage of D65 ), a top out brightness of 340 nits and black degree of 0.23 nits ( but that ‘s at 100 percentage filmdom 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. )

HP ZBook x2 G4

Price as reviewed $3,622.32
Display size/resolution 14-inch 3,840 x 2,160 DreamColor display
PC CPU 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U
PC Memory 32GB DDR5 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 2GB Nvidia Quadro M620
Storage 512GB SSD, SD card slot
Ports 1x USB 3.0 Type-A, 2x USB-C/Thunderbolt, 1x HDMI 2.0
Networking 802.11ac 2×2, Bluetooth 4.2
Operating system Windows 10 Professional (64-bit)
Weight 4.9 lbs/2.2 kg

The DreamColor comes with profiles for sRGB/BT.709, DCI-P3, DICOM and native a well, but the display only covers about 90 percentage of P3, and it ‘s calibrated to DCI-P3 Theatre, not the D65 P3 display standard. besides, per HP, entering calibration targets beyond the panel gamut do n’t work at the moment, but it ‘s working on a software fix for the write out. There are tablets that can surpass the color gamut, notably the P3-capable iPad Pro, but there ‘s no systemwide color calibration, much less hardware calibration, available in any of them. While it uses 10-bit coloring material calculations and is reasonably accurate, it ‘s still an 8-bit IPS empanel using frame-rate control condition to simulate 10 bits. ( HP refers to IPS panels as “ Ultra wide viewing angle ” or UWVA. ) You can connect it to a better external monitor through HDMI or Thunderbolt 3 when you need a larger gamut and more precise beyond-Adobe RGB discolor. That ‘s another cause why hardware profiles are so crucial. It ‘s the alone way to guarantee that the profiles for the built-in and external displays are using the discipline profiles. As with most DreamColor solutions, though, hardware calibration profiling entirely works with X-Rite i1 units. I ‘ve seen some complaints about backlight bleed, but it ‘s no worse than any I ‘ve seen — and given the built-in Wacom EMR layer, probably harder to manage than usual. I tested the uniformity in the corners and it was n’t that bad .

Smooth strokes

Another luminary expression of the x2 is the Wacom EMR hold, along with a Wacom/HP custom-designed HP Pen, with 4,096 levels of pressure. One of the big benefits of EMR is that the stylus draws its exponent from the blind quite than a abdominal aortic aneurysm battery. This is n’t peculiarly novel ; Samsung uses the technology, for case. But the HP ‘s display is chemically etched, which serves two purposes : it adds a little more clash to the screen for a more natural, accurate stroke spirit, and vastly decreases glare. In a ocean of glossy pill screens, it ‘s an haven of ocular sanity. Keep in mind that antiglare does n’t equal antireflective. While working in Starbucks with the tablet on my lap, the lights shining from above name it about as hard to use as the typical glossy expose. And it does feel about arsenic responsive as its truest rival, the Wacom MobileStudioPro, with its similarly flatness expose and Wacom ‘s latest generation of engineering for 8,192 levels of atmospheric pressure. Some people feel that ‘s besides much, though, and requires besides much customization of the atmospheric pressure curves to respond to a light touch. Once you ‘re up that high you ‘re into personal preference district, unless you need badly farinaceous control over strokes. Nib, shield friction and to a certain extent, latency, can impact your feel more. As for rotational latency, that ‘s application subject. It feels instantaneous in applications with fast brush algorithm. then there ‘s Photoshop, which has unserviceable slowdown on complex brushes, no matter what hardware you throw at it. The stylus responds to tilt well, excessively ; I admit I never got to testing rotation, but it should work fine as well. The 14-inch HP feels a little less unwieldy than the 16-inch MobileStudioPro, and while the 13-inch is a better size, it does n’t come with a 4K display choice. The 4K display on the HP works out to a 315 pixels-per-inch sieve density, bang-up for dealing with extra-thin strokes. But it ‘s besides heavy at good under 5 lbs/2.2 kilogram. The sides of the display hold programmable QuickKeys, which you ‘ll be familiar with if you use a Wacom Cintiq or Intuos Pro ‘s ExpressKeys. ( And seriously, why is the nonpayment for Photoshop Undo preferably than Step Backward ? ). That ‘s another boastfully advantage over more consumer-focused tablets. unfortunately, there ‘s one awful, atrocious, no good, very bad drawback for some people who are differently the accurate buyer for this : it only works with the HP stylus, which alone has one push button. That means at best you ‘ll have to relearn some habits, and at worst, makes it unserviceable for your needs if they run to airbrushes or three-button pens for 3D work. The touchpad is pretty decent, but it ‘s a conventional consumer touchpad without the multiple buttons on power mobile workstations. overall, it ‘s well designed, though the industrial design credibly is n’t to everyone ‘s taste. The detachable keyboard is rigid, with key locomotion and feedback sufficient for comfortable type. Plus, its high-end-plastic back does n’t attract schmutz. Or vomit fur. The kickstand is rigid for ink, and can tilt down to a low lean. Because it ‘s a detachable, you remove the magnetically attached keyboard to turn into a pad, and it handily reconnects via Bluetooth for use while separated. That ‘s great for applications where your muscleman 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 ” judgment. Because it ‘s importantly more than all the consumer options, even after factoring in the Surface Pro ‘s all-important 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 shape option, I have no clue why it ‘s there — they do n’t all come with the DreamColor-calibrated display. however, DreamColor support adds lone $ 175 to the price, so if you care about color profiling it ‘s worth it. Models with eighth-generation i7-8650U CPUs startle at $ 2,900, and come with at least 16GB RAM and 512GB or 1TB SSDs. You can besides customize it from the anchor up, but that $ 2,900 model configuration looks pretty good to me unless person else is footing the bill. For video recording edit, you might want to increase storage to the 1TB Z Turbo Drive SSD, which will add about $ 420 to the price. Our evaluation model was n’t a standard shape — we had 32GB quite than the 16GB-equipped $ 3,400 translation. In Australia, there are no eighth-generation Core one options, at least not so far, so the nearest configuration has the same repositing and RAM but an i7-7600U for AU $ 6,860. 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 merely i7-7600U choices at the consequence. The 16GB/512GB model runs £3,656, but is n’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 identical 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 disengagement to the integrated graphics to extend battery life, which tested at about five hours. That ‘s actually not bad for a pill with discrete graphics and a 4K display, but that ‘s small consolation on a cross-country flight. And ultimately, its operation stands up quite well against full laptop, though I do n’t have a distribute of data for comparisons ( we have n’t run the Cinebench tests, which are the relevant ones here, on enough of the competing systems. ) In practice, it felt ampere fast as a typical midrange background. 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

Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

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

Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R15 OpenGL

HP ZBook x2 G4

107.17

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017)

91.19

Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance (FPS)

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

Notes: Longer bars indicate better performance

organization configurations

Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (15-inch, 2017) Apple macOS Sierra 10.12.5; 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HQ; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 4GB Radeon Pro 560 / 1,536MB Intel HD Graphics 630; 512GB SSD
HP ZBook x2 G4 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U; 32GB DDR5 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 2GB Nvidia Quadro M620; 512GB SSD
Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 ; 1TB SSD
Microsoft Surface Pro Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-7600U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB (dedicated) Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640; 512GB SSD
Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 3.3GHz Intel Core i7-6567U; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 4GB Nvidia Quadro M1000M; 512GB SSD
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