HP has upgraded its ZBook line of mobile workstations – ie laptops for the most demanding users (like us creative-types) with pro-grade components including Nvidia Quadro and AMD Radeon Pro graphics chips, the option of Xeon processors and generally better styling and reliability than consumer models.
The 'fourth-generation' ZBook G4 line have the same cases as their predecessors, but gain more powerful chips that require less power than those in their G3 predecessors – so you'll get longer battery life too. There's the option of Intel's 7th-generation Core i7 processor – known by their codename of Kaby Lake – and new graphics chip options from both Nvidia and HP.
The ZBook Studio G4 is HP's rival for the Apple MacBook Pro or Dell's Precision 5520, combining high performance with an elegant design and a top-notch screen. Read: Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar review, Dell upgrades the best laptop for designers and artists.
The ZBook Studio G4 has a machined chassis with diamond-cut edges. It's 18mm deep at its thinnest point and weights a little over 2kg.
The 15.6-inch DreamColor screen has a '4K UHD' resolution of 3,840 × 2,160 and can output 100% of the Adobe RGB colour space, according to HP. This would put it on a par with Dell's 5520 and ahead of the Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which has a lower resolution and can only output 91% of Adobe RGB. There's the option of a poorer-quality HD screen for the ZBook Studio G4 but why would you?
Inside is either a quad-core 7th-generation Core or Xeon processor up to 3.1GHz, up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and an Nvidia Quadro M1200M with 4GB of its own RAM (the only graphics option in this compact laptop). HP claims the laptop offers up to 16.5 hours of battery life – far longer than its predecessor.
The ZBook Studio can hold up to 2TB of storage, using two HP Z Turbo Drives (small PCIe SSDs). You can connect more external storage – or other devices – via two Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Pricing begins at £1,999 plus VAT.
If you need more power, ZBook 15 offers it in a larger and heavier chassis. It has the same 15.6-inch Dreamcolor display (or HD option) but is 26mm thick and weighs 2.6kg.
There's the same choice of Core or Xeon processors up to 3.1GHz, but you can have up to 64 of RAM and 3TB storage.
There are five graphics options: only Intel's built-in graphics (not for us), AMD's Radeon Pro WX 4150 with 2GB RAM, or Nvidia boards up to the Quadro M2200 with 4GB RAM.
Pricing begins at £1,799 plus VAT.
The ZBook 17 is a hefty beast, but HP says that it's capable of powering 90fps VR experiences – if you buy it configured with one of two particular graphics card options.
The most powerful ZBook has a 17.3-inch screen, is 33mm thick and weighs 3.1kg. Pricing begins at £2,069.
Its specs include an UHD screen with 100% Adobe RGB coverage, Core or Xeon processors up to 3.1GHz, up to 64GB RAM, and up to 4TB of storage.
For VR, you'll need to choose either an Nvidia Quadro P4000 graphics chip with 8GB of RAM (which adds up $909/£710 to the price), or the Quadro P500O with 16GB ($1,559/£1,250). There are also four other graphics options, including an AMD Radeon Pro WX 4170.