HP Z1 27-inch AIO Workstation Review

Design & Layout

Not surprisingly, the HP Z1 Workstation has a substantial stand that takes up much more desktop real estate than the stand of a typical monitor. The Z1’s stand offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to display height and tilt, and it’s very solid too. Once you have the Z1 where you want it, the system isn’t going to tilt or sink on its own.

The Z1 is a sharp-looking, but not flashy system. The 27-inch display is surrounded by a black, nondescript bezel that houses two dual-cone speakers, which are aimed directly at the user. The screen itself is an IPS display, which offer much better viewing angles and color reproduction than cheaper TN panels. That’s an important feature for you if you collaborate with nearby colleagues or are a content producer. The LED display has a 2560 x 1440 resolution, and offers bright, crisp images.

Most of the Z1’s ports are hidden in an area at the lower-back of the computer, making it easy to direct cables back behind the stand. The card reader, a couple USB 3.0 ports, the FireWire port and mic/headphone jacks are on the bottom left side the computer (your right, when you’re facing the Z1). Above them is the slot-loading DVDRW, as well as the Power button, which has a blue light that makes it easy to spot.

Power and Eject buttons (left) and a smattering of handy ports (right), as well as the card reader.

A wheel at the top of the system adjusts the webcam (left). On the right is one of the tabs you'll need to slide to open the Z1.

The button in the center lets you collapse the stand.

A 1080p webcam (capable of shooting 2.0MP still photos) sits atop the Z1’s display. Obviously, tilting the computer to best suit your view of the display is likely to point the camera too high or too low, so HP built in a wheel that sits discreetly at the top of the system for vertical camera adjustment.

USB ports, the Gigabit LAN port, and other inputs, just behind the HP Z1 Workstation's display.

One of the things we like about the Z1 is that you’ll rarely need to turn it around: most of what you need to reach is accessible from where you sit or stand. The system’s serial number and related info, for example, are on a small card that pulls out of the Z1’s right side, rather than being plastered on the back of the system. In fact, the back of the Z1 is so clean, you can easily put this system on desks that face into a room, rather than against a wall.

What will make administrators happy is how easy it is to access the Z1’s guts. Just push gently at the top of the system, and it will glide down until the Z1 is completely horizontal on its base. Push the two clasp buttons, lift the display housing, and you’re looking at the Z1s internals. A gas-based strut holds the display up and out of the way. We felt as though we had just lifted the hood of a car.

The HP Z1 Workstation, open for business. Notice the strut, which keeps the heavy lid up while you work.

The CPU is covered by a large fan (left), with the hard drive cage in the foreground. The memory (right) is full-height and standing straight up, which is unusual.

A 400W power supply and the NVIDA Quadro K3000M video card (left). At right is a large fan at the dual-cone speakers, below the slot-loading optical drive.

From here, reaching most components is easier than it would be in a typical PC chassis. You have unfettered access to the memory DIMMs and the hard drive tray. Should you need to remove the power supply or video card, those are exposed, as well. The processor is covered by a large, flat fan-sink assembly, with another fan nearby. Even the slot-loading DVD-RW drive is easy to reach. Closing the system and returning it to an upright position is surprisingly easy job too.

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