HP Zbook X2 G4 Review: Hardware & Display
Propping up the HP Zbook X2 G4 for lap use relies on a sturdy kick-stand. There aren’t predefined positions, so you can adjust it to find that perfect angle. While the kick-stand and keyboard are quite sturdy for lap use, like all detachables, it is somewhat clunky and doesn’t work as well as a clamshell. Then again, we doubt most of you would buy a detachable PC primarily for use on your lap. HP adorns the keyboard with a metal surface, wide trackpad and a vinyl back that suits its premium look and feel. The keys are sized and spaced well for our hands, but feel a little soft for our preference.
The keyboard is magnetic and has two modes of operation – flat or propped up at a slight angle. HP gave the Zbook X2 G4 keyboard a few new tricks as well; it connects directly to the tablet when attached as you would expect, but automatically switches over to Bluetooth for wireless operation when detached. You don’t have to buy or carry an extra adapter when you want to use the keyboard wirelessly, like with the Microsoft Surface Pro. The keyboard can charge via a micro USB port if you plan on leaving it detached, too.
HP provides few, but useful, ports on the right side of the Zbook X2 G4. There’s a DC power input, a pair of USB Type C Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI 1.4, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and an SD card slot. Both Thunderbolt 3 ports are PCI Express x4 ports so there’s full bandwidth for an external graphics dock or external solid-state storage should you need it. You can charge the tablet via the USB-C ports, but HP includes a standard DC charger in the box. Its nice to see HP support regular SD cards though, as most high-end cameras rely on SDXC storage.
Above the SD card slot is a fingerprint reader that works with the UEFI and Windows 10. We found the ability to prevent the system from booting Windows without a password or fingerprint quite useful. It provides an easy way to secure the system without too much hassle – simply swipe a finger and the system boots. The left side of the Zbook X2 G4 only has a combination headphone and microphone jack, unfortunately. We wish HP would’ve included an additional USB 3.0 port since there’s plenty of unused space on that side.
Headlining the entire Zbook X2 G4 package is the stunning HP DreamColor display. HP touts the 14-inch 4K display is capable of 10-bit color and it covers 100-percent of the Adobe RGB color gamut. Adobe Creative Cloud users are the major target audience and HP “hand-picks” configurations that are ideal for specific applications, including Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, and After Effects – the configuration we’re testing is ideal for every app in the suite.
We fired up a DataColor Spyder4 Pro to verify HP’s color claims and the they were indeed correct, after letting the display warm up for an hour. Our colorimeter measured 99-percent coverage for Adobe RGB color space, which is great for digital artists. While the DreamColor display should easily exceed 100-percent sRGB coverage, our DataColor Spyder4 Pro doesn't, unfortunately.
HP backs up the DreamColor display with a Wacom electro-magnetic resonance (EMR) pen that promises a pencil-like writing and drawing experience. All the detection equipment is built into the screen, thus making the pen completely passive so there’s no batteries to charge or replace. The Wacom EMR technology promises 100-percent palm rejection, too.
HP quick keys are placed on each side of the screen. There are 18 preconfigured shortcut keys designed for Adobe apps for functions such as brush size, hardness, turn touch on/off, zoom, undo and more. We found the undo button very useful for our limited artistic abilities.