HP’s ZBook lineup — which encompasses the lightweight ZBook Firefly, the affordable ZBook Power, the potent ZBook Fury, and the best-of-all-worlds ZBook Studio firebrands — doesn’t attract a lot of attention. As a portable workstation-class maneuver, the ZBook Studio is not as flashy as most gaming laptops or as inexpensive as most “creator” laptops, but in many ways, it’s better than both.
In the parlance of the tech moron, the HP ZBook Studio G8 is a “mobile workstation.” On the hardware area, that typically means that you’re getting a Xeon processor, error-correcting( ECC) RAM, and an -Aseries or Quadro graphics card, paired with some sort of reliability testing( MIL-SPEC or MIL-STD ), application certifications from major developers like Adobe, and an extended warranty. All of this usually comes attached to a price so high-pitched you’ll get altitude sickness if you stare at it for too long.
We don’t normally remember mobile workstations on PetaPixel because the price increase associated with things like ECC memory and an enterprise GPU doesn’t translate into a discernible concert advantage for photo and video editing, but HP did something interesting with the ZBook Studio G8: the company sort of split the difference.
The Studio G8 doesn’t use ECC memory or an Intel Xeon CPU, and it can be configured with a ordinary GeForce RTX 30 -series GPU, but it still comes with all the other workstation perks. In other texts: it offers the same performance as a high-end gaming laptop and the same sleek, professional intend as a high-end consumer laptop, with better develop character, guaranteed reliability, and a longer warranty than either of the other categories. As a ensue, it comes in a little cheaper than same alternatives from, say, the Dell Precision lineup.
That’s not to say it’s cheap. The modeling HP sent us for remember still expenditure an eye-watering $4,400 😛 TAGEND
Even if you downgrade some of the components, you’re still going to spend a lot of money. We actually expected the folks at HP to send us “Good, Better, Best” configuration options that they would recommend, and “the worlds largest” affordable of the assortment will still feed you nearly $2,800 😛 TAGEND
But that’s not to say that the price isn’t justified, or at least reasonable. From design to usability to raw performance, this laptop is fantastic. It’s just important to set expectancies from the get-go: We’re not talking about a budget laptop today. We’re not even talking about a semi-affordable laptop. We’re talking about a mobile workstation that freights a substantial premium in exchange for professional-grade reliability and guaranteed performance.
If paying a $1,000 payment for MIL-STD reliability testing, application certifications, and an extended warranty sounds crazy to you, then a portable workstation is the wrong option and there’s no reason to read on. However, if that is just like a tolerable asset and you like the facts of the case that HP isn’t forcing you to throw added coin away on sure-fire enterprise-grade specs you don’t require or need, then predict on, because the HP ZBook Studio G8 turns out to be an excellent laptop for innovative professionals.
Design and Build
There are only a few laptops that can compete with the likes of Apple and Razer when it comes to chassis design, but the HP ZBook Studio G8 is right up there with the most wonderful. The magnesium-and-aluminum alloy chassis is as rigid as a container, most thin, and engraved into a sharp-witted design language that I adoration from the moment I set eyes on this laptop.
Build quality really is top-notch. HP’s workstation-grade “Z” manoeuvres all undergo MIL-STD-8 10 testing, ensuring a height of reliability that outstrips anything you can expect from a standard consumer laptop. The MIL-STD-8 10 standard includes a suite of tests that check for resistance against vibration, dust, sand, humidity, altitude, plunges, temperature startle, and even a “Freeze/ Thaw” test.
Adding to the laptop’s reliability quotient is a three-year warranty direct from the manufacturer, a perk that is generally expenses extra( if it’s available at all) when you buy a consumer laptop.
Crack the ZBook Studio G8 open, and you’ll reveal an excellent keyboard that combines a satisfy sound with a good quantity of wander, zero goo, and per-key RGB lighting that contributes the laptop simply a little bit of gaming flare. The lighting is controlled by HP’s “OMEN” dashboard, and it’s a recreation touch on an otherwise very professional-looking laptop.
This is accompanied by a slick, glass-topped trackpad that stipulates a precise and extremely well-optimized experience that can compete with the best-of-the-best. Because the speaker grill is positioned above the keyboard, the trackpad isn’t quite as big as the ones you’ll find on the latest Apple and Dell computers, but it was plenty big enough for me.
Port selection is solid, with simply a little room for improvement. On the left side of the machine is an audio-combo jack, a USB Type-A port, and a Kensington lock; on the right side, you’ll find a sealable SD card slot, a Mini DisplayPort 1.4 port that’s connected instantly to the GPU, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports that they are able carry 40 Gbps of data, superpower, and a showing signal.
My objections are minimal. Mainly, I was annoyed that the Thunderbolt 4 ports are connected instantly to the iGPU with no way to re-route that signal in the BIOS( this is according to HP ). As a make, anyone using a high-end 4K external flaunt will want to use the Mini DisplayPort for true 10 -bit pigment or high-pitched refresh-rate gaming.
For that reason alone, I really wish that HP had included an HDMI 2.1 port in this configuration instead of the MiniDP port. None of the monitors I’ve ever recollected came with a MiniDP to DP 1.4 cable in the box, wihch magnetisms me to buy a new cable in order to get full concert out of the ASUS ProArt PA32UCG I was using when I reviewed this laptop and eliminates the option of using this as a “single-cable” setup with Thunderbolt providing data, display, and power.
Fortunately, the included spectacle is more than good enough to do professional creative work. The pose we’re testing includes a touch-enabled 4K AMOLED screen that was able to smash well over 100% sRGB, 99.9% DCI-P3, and 91.6% Adobe RGB with an excellent Delta E of less than 2 and a maximum brightness of~ 400 nits.
If OLED isn’t your thing, the ZBook Studio G8 is also available with a 4K 120 Hz “HP DreamColor” LCD display with an advertised peak brightness of 600 nits and 100% coverage of DCI-P3, or an even more cheap Full HD model that predicts 100% coverage of sRGB.
It’s nice to see a manufacturer offer both a 4K LCD and a 4K OLED option with analogous range coverage, as well as a more affordable( but still acceptable) Full HD option. If you’re sold on the peace of mind of a mobile workstation but hate the price tag it carries, the lower-end screen option opens the door to get imaginative with your configuration, peculiarly if you plan to use an external parade much of the time.
As for our 4K OLED unit, you can see the results from our DisplayCAL research below 😛 TAGEND
If there’s a big downside to the high-res screen on our sit it’s probably battery recital, which is decidedly middle of the road.
As with other high-performance notebooks, the ZBook Studio’s 83 WHr battery can’t support the computer’s full 110 W TDP( 30 W to the CPU, 80 W to the GPU ), and when you’re pushing the computer to its battery-powered performance limit, you can expect no more than about two hours of intense photo editing. In a more sensible, battery saver or poised state, I was able to get about six hours of use for writing, periodic content intake, and light-colored photo revising, but don’t expect this laptop to compete with something that’s powered by AMD.
Overall, I witnessed a lot to enjoy and very little to complain about when it comes to the design and construct caliber of the ZBook Studio G8. It’s an excellent laptop that felt like a little piece of armed equipment with just enough design flare. The excellent keyboard and trackpad, the professional-grade display, and the dual Thunderbolt 4 ports all make it a solid challenger for serious creative work.
Photo Editing Performance
Given the extremely thin motif, I was skeptical that the HP would be able to squeeze every ounce of achievement out of its Core i9- 11950 H and NVIDIA RTX 3070. I was only kind of right. In most of our standards, the ZBook couldn’t fairly out-perform the latest Razer Blade 15 Advanced, which technically use an ever-so-slightly slower Core i9- 11900 H, but the thinner ZBook Studio was still able to churn out top-shelf performance numbers.
Whether you’re go Photoshop, Lightroom, or Capture One, you can expect the Studio G8 to fly through most photo and video editing duties with ease, all while remaining remarkably gentle compared to some of the gaming laptops I’ve tested.
For our similarities today, we’re showing the results from the HP side-by-side with the same evaluations keep going an M1 iMac, an AMD-powered ASUS Zephyrus G1 4, and the aforementioned Blade 15 Advanced. Full specs below 😛 TAGEND
In our standard exports and imports evaluations, the ZBook clocked in a tiny bit slower than the Razer Blade, but faster than our other assessment machines. As a remembrance, these evaluations consist of importing 110 61 -megapixel Sony a7R IV and 150 100 -megapixel PhaseOne XF RAW files, making 1:1( Lightroom Classic) or 2560 px( Capture One Pro) previews, requesting a custom-made preset with heavy global revises, and then exporting those same enters as 100% JPEGs and 16 -bit TIFFs.
You can see the results for Lightroom Classic below 😛 TAGEND
Capture One Pro
The story is even better in Capture One, where the computer’s RTX 3070 ultimately gets to flex its muscle.
As we’ve mentioned in several of our past refreshes, Lightroom does not use any sort of GPU acceleration during exports and imports, relying exclusively on its implementation of the your CPU and RAM to generate the numbers you see above. However, Capture One does take advantage of the GPU, so when it comes time to export the heavily-edited Sony a7R IV and Phase One XF variances in C1, the HP ZBook Studio G8 was able to close the crack with the Blade and swap jolts among the priorities of the pack.
The results are essentially a soak between the three PCs, all of which benefit from NVIDIA RTX 30 lines GPUs, with the M1 iMac precipitate way behind 😛 TAGEND
Finally, we rolled our usual Photoshop test: Puget Systems‘ industry-standard PugetBench benchmark.
PugetBench ascribes an Overall and four Category tallies after period a great variety of undertakings including basic material like loading, saving, and resizing a large. psd, GPU-accelerated filters like Smart Sharpen and Field Blur, and heavily RAM-dependent chores like Photo Merge. As we have in the past, we led copy 0.8 of this particular benchmark, because it was the last version to include a Photo Merge test.
As you can see, the strong GPU, 32 GB of 3200 MHz RAM, and the NVIDIA RTX 3070 GPU come together to put up superb counts in all categories measured 😛 TAGEND
There’s no questioning the HP ZBook Studio G8’s recital cuts. Is it the stronger laptop money can buy? Definitely not. HP’s own ZBook Fury lineup, the Alienware x1 7, and the Lenovo Legion 7i( to reputation a few cases) can all be configured with most powerful( and power-hungry) CPU/ GPU combinings that would no-doubt outperform the ZBook Studio. However, it’s awesome to see this kind of performance across the board from such a thin device.
This is seriously impressive photo editing performance packed inside of a chassis that’s thinner than we previously known possible for an Intel-based workstation.
Excellent Design, Great Performance, Painful Price Tag
If you can stomach the cost, the HP ZBook Studio G8 is a stupendous laptop for photo and video writers who want great performance paired with guaranteed reliability. That latter site truly matters to working pros, who often opt for high-end gaming laptops with less-than-ideal build quality and lower-quality displays in order to achieve this kind of performance.
However, even when you understand the benefits, the Studio G8’s rate is really hard to swallow. The variance I tested now expenditures about $1,000 more than you would spend on an( once expensive) Razer Blade 15 Advanced with basically the same core specs, a more powerful GPU, faster PCIe Gen 4 storage, and a next-gen OLED display that submerge 100% of both DCI-P3 and AdobeRGB.
You really have to value those un-sexy mobile workstation perks if you’re going to justify that kind of price hike.
Excellent performanceThin, light, rocky designFantastic trackpad and keyboardMultiple color-accurate display optionsSolid port selection with two Thunderbolt 4 ports and an SD card slotMIL-STD-8 10 tested3-year warranty included
No HDMI portSSD is PCIe 3.0 , not 4.0 RAM is not upgradableSky high-pitched price
I hate to devote so much time addressing a computer’s price since a lot more goes into judging the real-world value of a computer than the cost of its components, so in most cases, I’ll focus on performance and usability and leave the economic calculus to individual readers who have individual budgets and don’t hold an individual damn whether I judge a laptop is “reasonably priced.”
However, “mobile workstations” like the ZBook Studio G8 exist in a different economic reality, and it’s important to understand the benefits and detriments of that world before you either a) invest lane too much on a laptop you don’t need, or b) ignore features and benefits that could be used to move the laptop value every last penny.
For me, a well-built consumer laptop is reliable enough. I simply don’t use my computers hard enough to justify the cost climb and there are some really fantastic alternatives out there. But if you’re a professional photographer or video journalist who needs a well-rounded, rock-solid machine that will go with you everywhere for the next three to 5 year, the HP ZBook Studio G8 is worth the closest examine. It’s cheaper than many of its direct opponents in the workstation-class, gives you a wider variety of configurations to choose from, and it churns out better carry-on than we expected from something so sleek.
Are There Alternatives?
Several major laptop manufacturers have a workstation brand that renders same benefits to the ZBook Studio. The most popular are probably Lenovo’s ThinkPads and Dell’s Precision lineup. As I mentioned earlier, these laptops frequently swap NVIDIA’s GeForce graphics for a mobile Quadro or -Aseries GPU, sometimes they use error-correcting “ECC” RAM, and often they include longer assurances, the aforementioned military-grade certifications, and parades that employed an emphasis on color and/ or battery life over velocity and/ or gaming performance.
For photographers, we’d recommend avoiding anything with ECC memory, an Intel Xeon processor, or an -Aseries/ Quadro card, simply because these improves tend to increase the toll significantly without lending much to real-world photo and even video revising performance. An 11 th-gen Core i7 or Core i9 CPU, DDR4 RAM and a GeForce RTX 30 streaks GPU is just fine. Instead, if you’re interested in a portable workstation, be concentrated on facets like a solid producer certificate, standardized reliability testing, and a killer LCD or OLED display with close-to-1 00% coverage of either AdobeRGB or DCI-P3.
Many of HP’s ZBook-branded laptops, Dell’s Precision laptops, and several of Lenovo’s ThinkPad patterns trade blows here in a variety of price brackets and configurations, depending on the kind of CPU, GPU, and spectacle operation you need.
If you’re not interested in a mobile workstation, you can find similar achievement and solid build quality for a lot less money by purchasing a high-quality consumer or gaming laptop like the Dell XPS 15/17, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced and Razer Blade 17, or the ASUS Zephyrus G14/ G15( simply to refer a few cases ). You’ll get a lot more performance-bang-for-your-buck by going with a “consumer” or “creator” laptop vs a proper “mobile workstation, ” really be aware of what you’re giving up.
Should You Buy It
The caveats above apply, but other than a few minor objections that I mention above, I cannot fault this laptop. For imaginatives, it’s a workhorse. The ZBook Studio G8 delivered a lot more “umph” than I expected from such a thin and light-footed framework while remaining relatively calm, it examines and feels immense, and it offers a good variety of configuration alternatives that help you phone in a ratio of price-to-performance that works for you.
It’s ultimately up to you to decide if the un-glamorous benefits of a mobile workstation are worth the increased price tag. But if then there, then I have no hesitations recommending this laptop.
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