HP ZBook G5 generation brings mobile workstation tally to eight

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HP is betting big on mobile workstations. Today, it added two new machines to its ZBook line up – the convertible HP ZBook Studio x360 and the ‘affordable’ HP ZBook 15v. It means HP now offers eight different mobile workstations in total, significantly more than the other major OEMs.

In addition, the IT giant has updated all of its current ZBook models, with the new ‘G5’ editions featuring new CNC machined aluminium alloy chassis, better security, new Intel CPUs (including models with six cores) and Nvidia Quadro Pascal GPUs.

So, let’s look at what’s new.

HP ZBook is really nice and new

ZBook Studio

The HP ZBook Studio x360 is a convertible mobile workstation. It features a 360-degree hinge that allows the machine to be put into five different modes, including laptop, tablet, clamshell, presentation and tent.

It features Wacom AES digital pen technology with tilt and 4,000 levels of pressure sensitivity but it is not the first ZBook to do so. It follows on from the HP ZBook x2, a detachable 2-in-1 that HP launched last October (reviewed here). Like the ZBook x2, the ZBook Studio x360 allows architects or designers to start with a concept sketch, then take their designs all the way into 3D on a single device.

With a 15.6-inch display and a fully integrated keyboard, the HP ZBook Studio x360 is less portable than the 14-inch HP ZBook x2, which is primarily a tablet with a detachable keyboard. It also lacks the ZBook x2’s HP Quick Keys, that can be programmed to do a variety of tasks that you might normally do with a keyboard and mouse.

What it lacks in tablet-first functionality, it makes up for in power, featuring a choice of new Intel ‘Coffee Lake’ CPUs, up to the six core Intel Xeon E-2186M (2.9GHz up to 4.6GHz, 6 cores), as well as the Nvidia Quadro P1000 GPU. The machine should offer plenty of performance for mainstream 3D CAD with the six core CPU giving a welcome boost in multi-threaded rendering or simulation workflows.

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With two DIMM slots, the ZBook Studio x360 boasts up to 32GB DDR4 ECC SDRAM and 4TB of PCIe storage spread across two NVMe SSDs. HP says the optional HP DreamColor 15.6″ display with one billion colours is the world’s brightest 4K. There’s an ambient light sensor that automatically adapts to changing light conditions.

The machine is ‘Skype for Business’ certified thanks to a ‘collaboration’ keyboard and a world facing microphone. The keyboard has dedicated buttons for answering calls, hanging up and presenting. The microphone (which is located on the back of the display) can be used in ‘conference mode’ so everyone in the room can be heard or ‘individual mode’ where it cancels out unwanted noise.

Other features include a fingerprint reader, facial recognition and HP Sure View G2 that activates a privacy screen at the touch of a button. Thunderbolt 3 is standard. The machine is 36 x 25.4 x 2.04 cm in size and starts at 2.26 kg. It’s a little bit thicker and heavier than the standard HP ZBook Studio G5 which has very similar core specifications.

HP has also done a minor update to the ZBook x2, now giving a choice of quad core processors.