HP ZBook X2 G4 Review: A Powerful Convertible For Creative Professionals

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HP Zbook X2 G4 Review: Introduction

Mobile device manufacturers seem to have really stepped things up in the engineering department since the arrival of the Microsoft Surface. After racing to the bottom with netbooks for a time, things turned around, and we’ve seen an influx of high-quality systems using premiums materials. We've seen gorgeous designs from ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo, especially in standard clamshell form factors. However, no one seemed to crack the code when it comes to the detachable form factor where the Microsoft Surface Pro shines. There have been some solid offerings in the space, no doubt, but the Surface Pro still sets the bar.

HP takes a different approach to the detachable PC with its Zbook X2 G4 workstation. HP aims high with this machine and shoves as much power as possible into a sleek tablet form factor that’s a little over half an inch thick. While the Microsoft Surface Pro starts at $799 with a Core M3 and spartan memory and storage, the HP Zbook X2 G4 has a much higher $2,699 cost of entry for the latest generation models, but configurations start with a beefy quad-core Intel Core i7-8550u and discrete graphics.

hp zbook style

Pricing for the Zbook X2 G4 places it in direct competition with the Surface Book 2, but HP keeps all the hardware in the tablet section – there’s no performance reduction when it's detached from the keyboard. But is HP’s promise of more horsepower and Adobe-specific hardware features enough to lure users away from the Microsoft Surface Pro, Surface Book 2 or traditional clamshell designs? Join us as we find out...

HP Zbook X2 G4
Specifications & Features
Processor Options 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U Quad Core (8MB Cache, 1.9GHz to 4.2GHz)
Display
14-inch DreamColor (4K) 
Touchscreen
Wacom EMR pen included
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620
Nvidia Quadro M620 (2GB GDDR5)
Memory
32GB DDR4-2133 SDRAM (2 x 16GB SO-DIMM)
Storage
512GB Samsung SM961 M.2 NVMe PCIe x4 Solid State Drive
Audio Bang & Olufsen audio
Ethernet NA
Wireless Connectivity
Intel 8265 802.11ac 2x2, Bluetooth Version 4.2
Interface (Left)
3.5mm Headset/Microphone Combo 
Interface (Right)
2 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3.0 PCIe x4), HDMI, USB 3.0, SD card reader
Interface (Back) N/A
Webcam
Windows Hello face sign-in camera
720p HD front camera
8MP rear facing camera
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro
Battery 4-cell, 70Whr
Dimensions 0.53 (H) x 14.35 (W) x 8.94 (D) inches (tablet mode) / 0.75 (H) x 14.35 (W) x 8.94 (D) inches (with keyboard)
Weight
3.64 lb (tablet mode) / 4.78 lb (with keyboard)
Manufacturer Warranty
1-year limited  warranty, 3-year warranty optional
Pricing $3,575.52 (As Configured) - Starting @ $2248 (with 7th Gen Core) 

Touted as the most powerful detachable PC on the market, the HP Zbook X2 G4 packs a quad-core 8th-Generation (Kaby Lake R) processor and NVIDIA Quadro M620 graphics in all configurations. The Intel Core i7-8550U is the base processor with a 1.8 GHz base clock and 4.0 GHz turbo speed -- higher end models get the Core i7-8650U with a 100 MHz base clock bump and 200 MHz for turbo mode – 1.9 GHz and 4.2 GHz, respectively.

NVIDIA Quadro M620 2GB graphics gives the Zbook X2 G4 an edge in professional CAD and DCC apps, such as CATIA, ProE, Solidworks and others with its certified drivers. However, the GPU is somewhat old and based off a scaled-down GM107 with only 512 shader cores compared to the GeForce GTX 950M and its 640 shader cores. Microsoft equips its Surface Book 2 with a GeForce GTX 1050 or GTX 1060 GPU, which puts the HP Zbook X2 G4 at a disadvantage, unfortunately.

HP Zbook X2 G4 open

There are two RAM and storage options – 16GB or 32GB DDR4-2133 and 512GB or 1TB SSDs, which keeps configurations simple. The SSD choices are both PCI Express, too. HP also continues to offer the regular Zbook X2 with Intel 7th-Generation Core i7 processors and 128GB storage for a lower $2,279, but our focus is strictly on the quad-core Zbook X2 G4 models here.

HP sent over a configuration packed to the gills with a DreamColor display, Core i7-8650U, Quadro M620 2GB GDDR5, 32GB DDR4, and a 512GB NVME SSD. This specific configuration isn’t available as a ready-to-ship model, but comes to $3710 when custom built. However, HP offers an identical model with a higher capacity 1TB SSD for $3799 that’s ready to ship. It’s not a cheap workstation, so let’s see if it lives up to its price.
Tags:  HP, tablet, Wacom, zbook, zbook-x2

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