The HP ZBook x2 PC: Is This the World’s Most Powerful Detachable PC?
Andrew Wheeler posted on November 10, 2017 | 1205 views

The HP ZBook x2 is a product that is clearly trying to demarcate and inhabit a very precise middle ground between performance and mobility for the detachable PC market. Billed as “the world’s first detachable workstation,” the target customers are digital imaging professionals, artists and designers—and specifically any heavy users of Adobe Creative Cloud. Users will get 20 percent off of an annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription with the purchase of an HP ZBook x2.

Revealed at Adobe MAX, the HP ZBook x2 has four modes: tablet, docked, detached and laptop. Each one includes a 4K multi-touch display, but a 10-bit, one-billion-color HP DreamColor display calibrated to 100 percent Adobe RGB is available as an alternative. (Image courtesy of HP.)
Revealed at Adobe MAX, the HP ZBook x2 has four modes: tablet, docked, detached and laptop. Each one includes a 4K multi-touch display, but a 10-bit, one-billion-color HP DreamColor display calibrated to 100 percent Adobe RGB is available as an alternative. (Image courtesy of HP.)

Cost and Features

The price starts at $1,724 for the HP ZBook x2, which makes it about twice as expensive as the Microsoft Surface Pro, but about 40 percent less than Microsoft Surface Studio, which retails at $2,999.

A quick comparison of cost, processors, memory and graphics between the HP ZBook x2 and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 2 and Surface Studio reveals some key differences.

Name

Starting Cost

Processors

Memory

Graphics

Storage

HP ZBook x2



$1,724

Intel Core i5-8250U

Up to 32 GB RAM

Intel HD 620; Intel UHD Graphics 620; NVIDIA Quadro 620

128 GB SSD

Surface Pro



$799

Intel m3, i5 or i7 (7thgeneration)

4GB RAM


Intel HD Graphics 615 (m3)

128 GB SSD

Surface Studio



$2,999

Quad-Core 6th-Gen Intel Core i5 or i7

8 GB RAM

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M 2 GB

64 GB w/1TB HDD

The table above represents the most accurate base-level configuration of each that are available. However, there are details about the HP Z Book x2 that haven’t been released yet, such as the minimal base configuration (i.e. what does the base price include).

One cool feature that separates the HP Z Book x2 from other “detachable” computing devices is that when you remove the keyboard, it automatically connects to the display via Bluetooth. Connectivity (4G LTE) details are noticeably absent from the tech specs.

The HP ZBook x2 has a 70Wh four-cell battery that lasts 10 hours (on an optimized power configuration), and it lasts a shorter time than the Surface Pro (13.5 hours). It weighs nearly 5 lbs., more than the Surface Pro (1.69 lbs.) and less than the Surface Studio (21 lbs.).

For CAD applications, the Surface Studio is outfitted with a gaming GPU, which doesn’t bode well for AutoCAD and SOLIDWORKS users, and the same holds true for Microsoft Surface Pro. The HP ZBook x2 has undergone tests for certification with Autodesk and Adobe. The availability of the NVIDIA Quadro 620 means there’s one option that is certified by Autodesk.

Interestingly, AutoCAD switched to support DirectX instead of OpenGL back in 2010, which is why it works well on consumer-level GPUs. However, most CAD applications rely on OpenGL, so having a GPU that supports OpenGL is crucial, but it doesn’t mean that the GPU will have the right drivers for CAD applications to take advantage. The fact that there is an option for a Quadro family processor versus a GeForce means that HP engineers decided to give CAD users access to a GPU that is optimized for workstation workflows.

With pre-orders beginning in a few weeks on Nov.21, it will be interesting to see what spec and price refinements will occur between now and then.


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