If you are a working professional who spends more than two-thirds of a day working on a computer, it is imperative for you to have a machine that can endure the rigour of operating throughout a day. The HP Zbook Studio G5 seems to be made specifically for such a usage pattern — it is sturdy, compact and has a lightweight design. Importantly, it is the notebook’s privacy and security features that make it an interesting premium notebook.
Powered by the Intel Xeon processor, the HP Zbook Studio G5 is primarily a performance-centric notebook designed for working professionals, especially those in the creative field, such as developers, coders, content producers, graphic designers, video producers, music makers, et al. This notebook clearly has a lot to offer in terms of design, performance and utility. But how does it match up to the company’s claim of being a mobile workstation? Let’s find out:
The Zbook Studio G5 has an impressive build, thanks to its precisely crafted single-block-machined aluminium construction that feels solid and adds to the overall aesthetics. The notebook looks nothing like any other mobile workstation machines. It is thin, lightweight and compact for the mobile workstation standards. The notebook has a no-frills rectangular design with pointed corners on one side and sharp cut-out corners on the other. It looks neat from all angles because of the fact that the design elements are minimal.
Like any other notebook, the Zbook Studio G5 has most of its hardware fitted inside the chassis. The lid cover has a glossy aluminium HP logo on the back side and a 15.6-inch screen on the front, facing downwards a chiclet keyboard when closed. Below the keyboard, there is a touch-sensitive touchpad aligned at the centre and a fingerprint sensor placed at the top-right side. Above the keyboard, there is a power key on the left that sits below a line-shaped backlit button. The notebook has a quad-speaker system placed on top of the keyboard, under an X-designed micro-holes mesh.
Along with power-in port, most connectivity ports are placed on the right — two Thunderbolt 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, aux-in port and an SD card slot. On the left, there are a couple of USB 3.0 ports and a Kensington lock. Both the right and left sides have huge grille openings for air transfer to keep the internals cool.
The HP Zbook Studio G5 has a brilliant 15.6-inch screen. It is an anti-glare 4K IPS panel (3840 x 2160 pixels) that can attain a maximum brightness level of 600 nits. For a notebook, this level of brightness is overwhelming. Though the screen does not support high dynamic range (HDR), it has HP DreamColor technology that adjusts screen tone automatically to natural colours settings. It covers over one-billion colour spectrum with DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB coverage for smooth transitions, making it a suitable choice for video producers and graphic makers. The screen on the HP ZBook Studio G5 has a standard refresh rate of 60Hz. A screen with higher refresh rate of 90Hz or 120Hz would have made it an all-rounder designed for working professionals.
Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard is backlit for ease of use in dim or dark environments. The keys have ample spacing among them and the key travel distance is satisfactory, if not class-leading. One major omission here is the numerical keypad, which is a must for professionals. This diminishes the notebook’s utility as a workstation machine.
The touchpad area is optimal, if not big. It supports gesture navigation, which is part of the Windows 10 operating system, such as two-finger swipe up and down to scroll, three-finger swipe down to minimise applications, three-fingers swip up to open all open applications, etc.
The HP ZBook Studio G5 is a power-packed performance-centric device with top-of-the-line hardware. Powering the notebook is an Intel Xeon E 2186M vPro processor with a dedicated Intel UHD P630 graphics and a discrete 4GB GDDR5 Nvidia Quadro P1000 graphic card. The processor has a base frequency set at 2.9 GHz which can be increased to 4.8 GHz using Intel Turbo Boost technology.
Specifications aside, the notebook is swift and does not slow down even after extensive use, something expected from a workstation-grade machine. The machine boots operating system in no time, thanks to one terabyte of solid-state drive (SSD) that comes as part of the package. This storage drive has a quicker response time and better longevity, making it a suitable option for machines designed for extreme work environments. The SSD also offers incredibly fast data transfer rate from one partition to another. However, its use case is noticed while working on software like Adobe Premiere Pro. In Adobe Premiere Pro, the timeline renders almost instantly (thanks to discrete Nvidia GPU) and the final output takes no time to export, thanks to the SSD.
What is interesting about the notebook is that the company has paid attention to small details to make it a suitable work machine. The notebook has a dedicated fingerprint sensor for Windows sign-in and other utilities. It also supports Windows Hello for sign-in using face recognition through web camera and infrared sensors.
Another useful addition is a noise-cancellation microphone. It is tuned to work optimally with voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP)-based services such as Microsoft Skype and Google Hangouts. Interestingly, there is an option in the audio setting that allows the microphone to set to recognise either your voice or multiple voices. This setting comes handy if you make a lot of video calls or audio calls over network and fix the microphone setting based on nature of interaction. There is a noise-cancellation setting for speakers as well that allows you to optimise to deliver noise-free output by removing background noise.
Though everything works in favour of this notebook, thermal management is one area that tempers the experience in some conditions. The notebook has a dual-fan chamber inside the compact chassis that works optimally to keep the thermals in control. However, while processing heavy production jobs, such as long videos, the fans work continuously, making sound that is strong enough to distract. In the long run, even with fans working continuously, the aluminium body starts to heat up and reach a level where it becomes uncomfortable to use. Though the heating issue is not persistent, it comes every now and then, diminishing the overall utility of this otherwise capable machine.
In a regular day, with heavy and regular workload, such as creating a short video for social media usage, graphic for an interactive timeline, browsing internet to curate information, video calls over network and working on data sheets, the battery goes down from 100 per cent to 15 per cent in around four hours. Though not much, it is still a good feat to achieve given that the notebook has a 4K screen and a powerful processor, both of which require a lot of power to operate.
The HP ZBook Studio G5 has all the qualities of a decent mobile workstation. Apart from things expected from a workstation machine, this notebook also offers useful add-on utilities and tools that give it an edge over other machines in the same segment. Priced at Rs 221,580, the notebook is in the league of Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro, making it a worthy option for users to have an equally incredible experience, but with Windows 10 operating system.