HP ZBook Studio G5 Mobile Workstation review: Stylish, sturdy and powerful

hp-zbook-studio-g5-header.jpg
  • Editors' rating
    8.0 Excellent
  • $1,799.00

Pros

  • Very bright 4K screen
  • Xeon processor
  • Good array of ports and connectors

Cons

  • 4K screen impacts on battery life
  • Large and heavy
  • Fan noise in high-end configurations
HP ZBook Studio G5 Mobile Workstation: The ZDNet verdict HP ZBook Studio G5 Mobile Workstation review: Stylish, sturdy and powerful

HP's mobile workstations come in several format factors, including detachable (ZBook X2 G4) and compact PC (Z2 Mini G4). The laptop-style ZBook Studio G5 Mobile Workstation has a 15.6-inch screen and some very high-end specifications.

The HP ZBook Studio G5 is made for toughness and power, but not so much for portability. It's a big and heavy machine, weighing 2kg taking up a desktop footprint of 360mm wide by 254mm deep, with a maximum thickness of 174mm. The build quality is very solid, with almost no flex in the lid and a base that should withstand a fair bit of handling as the laptop moves between desks and offices. According to HP, the ZBook Studio G5 has "passed 14 rigorous military standard tests like shock, drop and dust".

There is a distinctive styling to HP's ZBook series, in the shape of angled corner cutouts at the back of the screen and keyboard edges. These serve no purpose, but look good.

hp-zbook-studio-g5-main.jpg

The 15.6-inch ZBook Studio weighs a hefty 2kg: if you do take it on your travels, it's sturdy enough to take a few shocks and drops. The 4K screen is very bright.

Images: HP Inc.

Another standout feature is a speaker grille that extends the full length above the keyboard. Carrying the Bang & Olufsen marque, the stereo speakers pump out high-quality sound with rich bass tones even at the highest volume — which is rather higher than most laptops can manage.

The display can be driven by the UHD Graphics 630 GPU that accompanies the latest generation of Intel processors, or by a discrete Nvidia Quadro P1000 if you require more graphics performance. There are two off-the-shelf ZBook Studio G5 models available in the UK (see below), both of which include the Quadro P1000 with 4GB of dedicated video RAM.

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My review sample came with a 15.6 inch non-touch screen with 3,840 by 2,160 resolution. This resolution is not available in the two UK iterations of this laptop, both of which have FHD (1,920 x 1,080) screens. I found the 4K screen's 600cd/m2 maximum brightness somewhat overpowering, but its colour rendering (100% Adobe RGB) was excellent.

Above the screen is a webcam, which had a sliding privacy screen in my review sample. This feature is only available on non-touch versions of the ZBook Studio G5.

hp-zbook-studio-g5-back-right-edge.jpg

The B&O speaker system under the grille puts out good audio quality. The backlit keyboard has a firm but smooth action.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The keyboard is a pleasure to work with. The keys sit rather more proud than is customary, and as a result require a firm typing action. This might not appeal to everyone, but the key action itself is very smooth, and I had no trouble touch-typing at my standard speed. There are two backlight levels, easily toggled via a Fn key.

The glass clickpad is large and very responsive to single-finger sweeps, clicks and gestures. Buttons are embedded, and also work well.

There's a fingerprint sensor in the wrist rest, and HP provides a range of additional security features including HP Password Manager, HP Power On Authentication and pre-boot authentication.

I noted earlier that there are two off-the-shelf models of the ZBook Studio G5 available in the UK. Their base specifications are:

  • Intel Core i7-8850H, Windows 10 Pro, 15-6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non-touch screen with ambient light sensor, Nvidia Quadro P1000 graphics (4GB GDDR5), 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £1,870.80 (inc. VAT)
  • Intel Core i9-8950HK, Windows 10 Pro, 15-6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non-touch screen with ambient light sensor, Nvidia Quadro P1000 graphics (4GB GDDR5), 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD
    £2,470.80 (inc. VAT)

There's also a Xeon processor option, although this is not available off-the-shelf in the UK. However, it was included in my review unit, which had the following core specs:

  • Intel Xeon E-2186M, Windows 10 Pro, 15-6-inch 3,840 x2,160 non-touch screen with ambient light sensor, Nvidia Quadro P1000 graphics (4GB GDDR5), 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD

With these high-end specifications, the review unit's fan kicked in occasionally — even when the system was idling. It was fairly noisy and would be an irritation in a quiet office. I wasn't pushing the laptop particularly hard, either — just writing into a web-based app, streaming some music and charging the battery. Yet the fan buzzed away for ten minutes or so at a time.

When the fan was on, the area above the keyboard (containing the speaker grille) became noticeably warm, as did the back underside of the chassis.

If you need to carry this large and heavy laptop around, battery life could be an issue. On my review specification, and with the default battery settings, I found that my relatively undemanding workload depleted a full battery to 42 percent over four hours.

However, it's worth noting that the default setting had the screen set to 95 percent brightness, which I found too bright for everyday use — in fact I could work quite happily with it at 25 percent for much of the time. The 4K screen in my review sample may also play its part in draining the battery. Working with a lower-spec UK configuration might deliver all-day battery life, albeit at the expense of performance.

The ZBook Studio G5 has a good range of connections: full-size HDMI, two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, a 3.5mm audio jack and an SD card reader on the right, and two further USB 3.0 ports on the left.

hp-zbook-studio-g5-sides.jpg

The ZBook Studio G5 measures 88mm-174mm thick and carries a good set of ports, including a full-size HDMI connector and two USB-C Thunderbolt ports.

Images: HP Inc.

Conclusions

HP's ZBook Studio G5 Mobile Workstation can be configured to handle high-end workloads, although the combination of a Xeon processor and a very bright 4K display will have an adverse effect on battery life. So long as you're not looking to get too mobile with this sturdy but stylish 15.6-inch laptop, it's a serious contender for power users.

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Specifications

General
Packaged Quantity 1
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) Security Chip
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core i5 (8th Gen) 8300H / 2.3 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 4 GHz
Number of Cores Quad-Core
Cache L3 - 8 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Features Hyper-Threading Technology, Intel Optane Memory Supported, Intel Smart Cache, Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Cache Memory
Type L3 cache
Installed Size 8 MB
Storage
Interface PCIe
Memory
Max Supported Size 64 GB
Technology DDR4 SDRAM - non-ECC
Speed 2666 MHz
Form Factor SO-DIMM 260-pin
Slots Qty 2
Empty Slots 1
RAM
Memory Speed 2666 MHz
Configuration Features 1 x 8 GB
Technology DDR4 SDRAM
Installed Size 8 GB
Data Integrity Check non-ECC
Rated Memory Speed 2666 MHz
Display
LCD Backlight Technology LED backlight
Widescreen Display Yes
Monitor Features Full HD eDP anti-glare
Type LED
TFT Technology IPS
Diagonal Size (metric) 39.6 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation Full HD
Environmental Parameters
Humidity Range Operating 10 - 90% (non-condensing)
Audio & Video
Multi-GPU Configuration 1 single GPU card / integrated GPU
Graphics Processor NVIDIA Quadro P1000 / Intel UHD Graphics 630
Sound Stereo speakers, dual array microphone
Features Bang & Olufsen Audio, HP Clear Sound Amp
Hard Drive
Type SSD
SSD Form Factor M.2 2280
Capacity 256 GB
Hard Drive Features NVM Express (NVMe), triple-level cell (TLC)
Input
Type ClickPad, keyboard
Localization & Layout US
Features gesture function, spill-resistant, volume control
Communications
Wireless Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Bluetooth Class Class 2
Wireless Controller Intel Wireless-AC 9560
Processor
CPU Type Core i5
Processor Number i5-8300H
Generation 8
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 2.3 GHz
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory SDHC Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card, SDXC UHS-II Memory Card
Battery
Capacity 96 Wh
Cells 6-cell
Technology lithium ion
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 150 Watt, 19.5 V
Connections & Expansion
Interfaces 2 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2/Thunderbolt 3/DisplayPort 1.3
USB 3.0 (charging)
USB 3.0
HDMI
Headphone/microphone combo jack
Memory Card Reader Yes (SDHC Card, SDXC Card, SDXC UHS-II Card)
Header
Brand HP
Product Line HP ZBook
Model Studio G5 Mobile Workstation
Localization English
Country Kits United States
Packaged Quantity 1
Networking
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 5.0, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Compliant Standards IEEE 802.11i, IEEE 802.1x
Wireless NIC Intel Wireless-AC 9560
Miscellaneous
Integrated Options Ambient light sensor
Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) Security Chip
Features Automatic DriveLock, BIOS Update via Network, HP DriveLock, HP Sure Click, HP Sure Recover, HP Sure Run, HP Sure Start Gen 4, Measured Boot, One-Step Logon, Power On Authentication, Pre-boot Authentication, Secure Erase, Setup Password, power-on password
Compliant Standards ACPI, CSA, Common Criteria EAL4+, FCC, RoHS, UL, WEEE, low halogen
Included Accessories power adapter
Manufacturer Selling Program HP Smart Buy
Theft/Intrusion Protection security lock slot (cable lock sold separately)
Security Slot Type Kensington security slot
System
Notebook Type notebook
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 256 GB
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) Security Chip
Monitor
Diagonal Size 15.6 in
Image Brightness 400 cd/m2
Dimensions & Weight
Width 14.2 in
Depth 10 in
Height 0.7 in
Audio Output
Compliant Standards High Definition Audio
Manufacturer Warranty
Service & Support Limited warranty - parts and labor - 1 year
Type 1 year warranty
Physical Characteristics
Weight 4.41 lbs
Power
Min Operating Temperature 32 °F
Max Operating Temperature 95 °F
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Edition
Video Output
Discrete Graphics Processor Yes
Multi-GPU Configuration 1 single GPU card / integrated GPU
Graphics Processor NVIDIA Quadro P1000 / Intel UHD Graphics 630
Graphics Processor Series Intel UHD Graphics, NVIDIA Quadro
Video Memory
Technology GDDR5 SDRAM
Installed Size 4 GB
Input Device
Backlight Yes
Interfaces
USB-C Ports Qty 2
Comment charging
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included parts and labor
Full Contract Period 1 year
Shock & Vibration Tolerance
Shock Acceleration (Operating) 40 g
Shock Duration (Operating) 2 ms half-sine pulse
Shock Acceleration (Non-operating) 200 g
Shock Duration (Non-operating) 2 ms half-sine pulse
Vibration Acceleration (Operating) 0.75 g
Vibration Frequency Range (Operating) RMS (random)
Vibration Acceleration (Non-operating) 1.5 g
Vibration Frequency Range (Non-operating) RMS (random)

Where To Buy

Price
$1,799.00

Top ZDNET Reviews

Where To Buy

HP ZBook Studio G5 Mobile Workstation - 15.6" - Core i5 8300H - 8 GB RAM - 256 GB SSD - US

Part Number: 4NH77UT#ABA
Price
$1,799.00