Product and service reviews are conducted independently by our editorial team, but we sometimes make money when you click on links. Learn more.

A Deeper Look At The HP ZBook Studio (Updated)

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

HP just revealed its new lineup of ZBook mobile workstations, and we got some time to take a closer look at the brand-new ZBook Studio, a quad-core ultrabook with workstation-level performance.

The ZBook Studio features the Intel CM236 chipset and is compatible with 6th generation (Skylake) Intel Core i7 chips and the new Xeon E3 v5 family of processors (coming in Q1 2016). Here's a rundown of the primary system specs:

Processor OptionsMemory OptionsGraphics OptionsStorage OptionsNetworking Capabilities
Intel Xeon E3-1545M v5Up to 32 GB DDR4-2133 ECCIntel Iris Pro Graphics P580
Nvidia Quadro M1000M 2 GB GDDR5
-128 GB M.2 SATA SSD

-256 GB up to 512 GB M.2 SATA SED SSD

-256 GB up to 1 TB HP Z Turbo Drive G2 (NVMe PCIe SSD)
-1 RJ-45 Port (Intel i219-M gigabit controller)

-Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (Intel Wireless AC 8260 controller)
Intel Xeon E3-1505M v5Up to 32 GB DDR4-2133 ECCIntel HD Graphics 530
Nvidia Quadro M1000M 2 GB GDDR5
Intel Core i7-6820HQUp to 32 GB DDR4-2133Intel HD Graphics 530
Nvidia Quadro M1000M 2 GB GDDR5
Intel Core i7-6700HQUp to 32 GB DDR4-2133Intel HD Graphics 530
Nvidia Quadro M1000M 2 GB GDDR5

In addition to Core i7 options, the ZBook Studio (and the rest of the lineup) can be configured with mobile Xeon processors. Xeon-based models are loaded with up to 32 GB of DDR4-2133 ECC memory, whereas Core i7 models have non-ECC memory. Each processor has a TDP of 45W, which seems quite unlike an ultrabook.

Other features of the ZBook Studio are also uncharacteristic of an ultrabook, such as its 15.6-inch screen, impressive maximum memory capacity and optional dedicated Nvidia Quadro M1000M 2 GB graphics. However, each of these technologies are more efficient than ever, with DDR4 memory and Nvidia's Maxwell architecture drawing less power than their predecessors. Despite these powerful options and a larger-than-usual size (14.76 x 10.04 x 0.71 inches), somehow the ZBook Studio qualified as an ultrabook, and it could be one of the most powerful devices in the segment.

One of the primary qualifiers in order to earn the "ultrabook" connotation from Intel is its battery life, which HP said has improved significantly since its last generation of ZBooks. The ZBook Studio has a prismatic 4-cell lithium-ion battery that is capable of up to 64 working hours. This is an unprecedented amount of on-battery operation, and the ZBook Studio could easily be considered an ultrabook with that kind of efficiency.

The ZBook Studio can be configured with a 1920x1080-pixel FHD IPS touchscreen or a 3840x2160 (4K) IPS display. The 4K version features HP's Dreamcolor technology, which recently won an Academy Award (a scientific and engineering award) for its vibrant colors, sharpness and visual fidelity.

Under the hood, a single fan exhausts heat out the rear of the machine from two heat pipes covering the CPU and GPU. Two DDR4L DIMMS support up to 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) of RAM, and a Z Turbo M.2 SSD is easily accessible. A flap covers an additional M.2 slot, enabling dual Z Turbo configurations. An M.2 Wi-Fi card is visible, providing wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac connectivity in addition to Bluetooth 4.0. The battery uses the majority of the real estate in the chassis.

The left side of the ZBook Studio sports a gigabit Ethernet port and two USB 3.0 ports (one for charging). The right side has the power connector, two Thunderbolt 3 ports with Type-C connectors, an HDMI 1.4 port, another USB 3.0 port and a stereo microphone-in/headphone-out combo jack.

Two speakers on either side of the keyboard produce more-than-adequate and somewhat impressive sound with Bang & Olufsen audio. An optional 720p webcam features an additional microphone, giving the ZBook Studio the capability of a dual-microphone array. The ZBook Studio is also compatible with the new ZBook Dock, which connects via a single cable and features additional Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort and USB 3.0 ports.

The ZBook Studio will be available this December and starts at $1,699, competing with similar products like the Surface Book in the light and powerful commercial ultrabook space. The ZBook Studio may not come apart like its competitor, but it can be configured with mobile Xeon processors, for artists and producers looking for the dependability of the Xeon chips and DDR4 ECC memory.

Updated, 11/13/2015, 6:25pm CT: A change was made to reflect new information on the onboard Thunderbolt 3 connectors.