HP didn't invent the convertible mobile workstation -- that honor goes to Lenovo, which unveiled its no-longer-available ThinkPad P40 Yoga in 2015. But HP did make some of our favorite hybrids. And it's now brought some of that design sensibility to its updated 15-inch ZBooks, the Studio G5 and new Studio x360, breaking out of the black-and-gray slabs and thick-bezeled displays that predominate.
The update coincides with the official release of Intel's Coffee Lake-based Xeon mobile processors, essentially the professional equivalent of theparts that just launched in a .
Like the Core i9, the new Xeon E3-2176 and E3-2186 CPUs will power the higher end configurations of mobile workstations. You can also get these with the quad- and hexacore Core i5 and Core i7 chips, but as usual Xeon adds capabilities not available in the consumer Core i series, including support for ECC memory and advanced security and IT-management features.
The other half of a workstation's personality is the GPU. All support discrete graphics, up to an Nvidia Quadro P1000. Given the size of the Studio models, it's unsurprising they go with the P1000, but it's a bit disappointing, since Quadro-based VR requires at least a P4000-level chip. That's the equivalent of somewhere between a GeForce GTX 1060 and 1070. It's only available in the updated ZBook 17 G5, which has options for the P4200 and P5200.
The two Studio models are almost identical -- the x360 is simply a backflipping version of the clamshell, so it has different hinges, and supports pen in addition to touch.
The display is more attractive thanks to slimmer side bezels, and whle the color-accurate antiglare DreamColor 4K model hits up to 600 nits at peak brightness and covers 100 percent Adobe RGB. You can opt for a screen with a built-in privacy filter mode, but those are currently limited to 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution displays.
And though the Wacom AES stylus for the x360 supports 4,096 levels of pressure; it connects via Bluetooth, requires a battery and has two buttons with no eraser.
One interesting new feature across the G5 generation of ZBooks is the world-facing microphone option for working in a conference room -- you can use it to better capture the other voices in the room as well as filter them out when they start discussing lunch options.
HP also updated its popular ZBook 15 to G5 with 8th-generation processors, the 600-nit 4K DreamColor option and other incremental configuration choices. It also introduced a new entry-level version, the 15v. The latter starts at $950 and tops out at a Quadro P600 and has lower-end display choices. (Directly converted, that's about £680 or AU$1,235, with UK and Australian prices yet to be announced for any of these machines.) The company also revved the DreamColor Z27x display to G2, bumping up to 4K and adding the built-in KVM switch and colorimeter that debuted in the.
HP expects to ship all the ZBooks in May. Prices for the 15 and 17 aren't yet available, but the HP ZBook Studio x360 will start at $1,300 and the Z27x will ship this month starting at $2,000.
Updated April 16, 2018 with corrections about the screen gamut and discrete graphics support for the x360.