It is almost as if HP has made it a personal mission to take forward the era of the convertible computing devices. There is a “x360” variant of almost laptop they make covering both spectrums of the price band—there is the x360 variant of an HP Pavilion 11 for as low as Rs38,890, the HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 that we are reviewing here (here carries a price tag of Rs215,456, and runs the Intel Xeon processor) and everything in-between. This means, you basically buy a 2-in-1 device which can be a laptop, a tablet and a tent, depending on what you need at any point of time.
That neatly brings us to the ZBook Studio x360 G5. This is as powerful as a laptop that you will get, and yet doesn’t lose out on any of the portability convenience. What you hold in your hand is a very fine metal construction, with a matte grey finish on it. The slimness and the straight lines with sliced edges give it a rather sharp personality. Open the lid, and the same grey finish is carried through, through the keyboard is a tad darker. The highlight is the display hinge, which allows you to push it all the way back—this enables the tent and tablet modes. This looks nothing like a lot of other business laptops, which tend to be boring to look at, have uninspiring matte black finish and don’t really have any design innovation so to speak of. The first betrayal that the ZBook Studio x360 G5 is also a business focused laptop is the fingerprint sensor, which should go that little bit extra in securing the data on the laptop. To that effect, HP has ensured that this series of laptops is tested to comply with the US Military ruggedness standards—this has passed as many 14 MIL-STD-810G3 standard tests. That means the ZBook Studio x360 G5 will be able withstand drops from as high as 2.5 feet, freezing temperatures, dust and sand as well as shocks. The ZBook Studio x360 G5 tips the scales at 2.26kg, which means this isn’t the lightest on the spec sheet, but important to remember that what you get here is a 15.6-inch display.
That said, you cannot ignore the fact that if you press down with a bit of pressure on the keyboard deck or the lid, there will be some amount of flex that is quite apparent.
You get the option of choosing between the latest generation Intel Core i5, Core i7 and Intel Xeon processors. These are paired with up to 32GB RAM, and the machines run Windows 10 Pro. Whichever spec you pick, the performance is akin to a desktop replacement machine. The configuration we are testing here runs a 2.9-GHz Intel Xeon E-2186M processor, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD and the Nvidia Quadro P1000 (4GB) graphics. Basically, HP shoved in as much power as it could have, in what is still a laptop form factor. The ‘workstation-replacement’ tag which the ZBook Studio x360 G5 carries isn’t at all ambiguous, and it really comes true on its claims. App loads, data read and write as well as graphics performance is top-notch. That said, we did notice the laptop heating up a tad when you keep this on your lap, which can be a bit of an issue for some use cases.
The 15.6-inch Full HD IPS display is a delight to use. Yes, before you may ask again, we’ll just say it—having a 4K resolution on a laptop screen does more harm than good, specifically in terms of graphics performance and battery life—and we are happy with the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution that this laptop display has. This isn’t a matte display, and there are some reflections off it depending on ambient lighting, but you wouldn’t mind that considering the Corning Gorilla Glass 4 layer that helps with scratch resistance. Colours look well distinguished on this screen, and the viewing angles are good too.
We have often remarked that the keyboard layout on HP laptops is the closest we get to the Apple MacBooks. Though that has been slightly changed off late, the key size, distancing and responsiveness remains very good. The ZBook Studio x360 G5’s keyboard is a delight to type on. There is no learning curve as far as the layout or the responsiveness is concerned. You can pretty much start to type quickly from the outset. Interesting to note are the dedicated keys for Skype calling, something that business users might find very relevant.
For all this power under the hood, it would perhaps be necessary for the battery life to be robust as well. And it is, because the ZBook Studio x360 G5 lasts a bit more than 7 hours on a single charge. Be a bit more careful with the display brightness, and you could get through a day at work without needing to plug in the charger.
There are a lot of configuration options that you can choose from for the HP ZBook Studio x360 G5. All of them are extremely powerful and will work well for business users. It isn’t hard to justify the premium price tag either, considering the melding of ruggedness, sleek design, great performance and long battery life all come together.