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If you need to run demanding workloads such as photo or video editing and/or do some high-end gaming, you need serious computing power -- which, naturally, comes at a price. HP's ZBook Create G7 certainly has compute power – our review unit came with a Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 graphics with 8GB of dedicated video memory. That comes at a premium price, of course -- £2,842.80 (inc. VAT; £2,369 ex. VAT). Although it's not a true workstation-class device with the top-end GPU and ISV certifications that designers and architects require, for example, this is still a beast of a 'creator' laptop.
The HP ZBook Create G7 packs a 15.6-inch screen, and is big and heavy, measuring 35.4cm wide by 23.46cm deep by 1.79cm (non-touch) or 1.75cm (touch) thick. Weight starts at 1.92kg, which means you won't want to carry it very far or very often. If you do travel with the ZBook Create G7, its solid metal chassis should ensure it survives any knocks or drops ("Our ZBooks are designed to undergo extensive MIL-STD 810H testing", as HP carefully puts it). Mobile professionals will appreciate this laptop's fast-charging capacity -- from zero to 50% in half an hour, HP claims -- which may justify carrying the large power brick, even though it adds even more weight.
The ZBook Create G7's 15.6-inch screen sits in relatively narrow bezels on three sides, leaving a bottom bezel that's around 18mm deep. The screen on my review unit was a 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS panel with an anti-glare finish and 600 nits maximum brightness. Supporting 100% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut and with HDR 400 certification, this HP DreamColor panel displays images wonderfully, but is not touch responsive. If you need that, a Gorilla Glass 6-protected HDR 500 4K touch-screen is available, but it's less bright (400 nits) and will set you back another £221.42 (ex. VAT).
The Bang & Olufsen-branded audio subsystem is superb. There are two speakers under a long grille above the keyboard, and another pair on the underside, on the left and right edges. These sit in an upward angle of the chassis so they're protected from desktop muffling. The speakers plenty of volume, bass tones are strong, and there's no distortion even at the very top of the volume range. The ZBook Create G7 proves that laptops can deliver great audio quality.
The HP Premium Quiet Keyboard is comfortable to use and although the action is quite resistant I had no typing issues, reaching my usual touch-typing speed quite easily. True to its name, this is an unobtrusive keyboard, generating just the slightest tapping noise, making it a good option for quieter workspaces. The touchpad is smooth and very responsive.
The processor needs a fair bit of cooling, and the left edge has a long vent to promote airflow. Nonetheless, even with the system idling I felt a bit of warmth on the wrist rest and base. The heat rose noticeably even with light workloads involving video streaming and music playing. That's something to beware if you plan to push the 10th-generation Intel Core i9-10885H processor really hard.
There's no security cover on the webcam, which you'd expect on a laptop at this price point. On the plus side, face authentication via Windows Hello is supported. Connectivity is a little on the light side. The left edge is largely occupied by the aforementioned air vent, leaving space just for a 3.5mm headset jack and a single USB 3 port. On the right there are two USB-C ports, an SD card slot and a Mini DisplayPort connector, along with a round-pin charge port (which means that both USB-C ports are always available). HDMI is available in place of DisplayPort on other models, but surely room could be found for both video connectors? There's a fingerprint sensor on the wrist rest.
The HP ZBook Create G7 is a premium laptop with plenty of CPU and GPU muscle, RAM and SSD storage, and superb 4K display and audio subsystems. A touch-screen will add extra cost, and it can get rather warm, but otherwise this is an impressive laptop for power users and creators.