Can HP tempt you away from your MacBook Pro?

Written by Tom Lansford


What is stylish, lightweight, powerful, and made for creators? HP’s new ENVY and ZBook systems. Here is a look at what’s coming from HP.

Creativity takes power. Creators like style. No one wants to be tied to a desk. Does that sound like you? Five new ENVY notebooks and two new ZBook mobile workstations are vying to become your next creativity tool. The odds are good that one of them will win you over.

It’s about Gen Z?

How do you define a complete set of mobile computers and workstations to meet the needs of a target market as diverse as the creative market? HP does it by investigating Gen Z creative users. The company uses Gen Z as a crystal ball to stay on top of the trends among creative users, looking at how they work and play as well as their self-image and personal priorities. In the end, HP tries to address their needs and preferences with these new creative ENVY and ZBook systems. Then they divide the creative market into consumer, prosumer, and professional segments.

From a marketing perspective, HP addresses consumer and prosumer creative users with the ENVY product line. Allowing for some overlap, the company addresses the prosumer and professional creatives with two new ZBook mobile workstations. The new line-up includes:

  • HP ZBook Studio (15 inch)
  • HP ZBook Create (15 inch)
  • HP ENVY 17
  • HP ENVY 15
  • HP ENVY x360 15
  • HP ENVY 13
  • HP ENVY x360 13

HP ENVY: Mobility, Versatility, and Performance

The ENVY product launch includes 13”, 15”, and 17” systems. Two convertible models, one in the 13” format and one in the 15” format, are flip-able. This format allows you to work in three different modes: a conventional mode, a tablet mode, and a tent mode.

 HP ENVY x360 15 allows you to work in 3 modes conventional tablet and tent modes.jpg

HP ENVY x360 15 allows you to work in 3 modes: conventional, tablet, and tent modes.

The 13 inch models target mobility. The 15 inch x360 version targets versatility. The 17 inch ENVY delivers more capacity. A hint that HP is serious about targeting creative user needs is that all of the new ENVY systems, from 13 inch to 17 inch, can be equipped with discrete graphics options.

HP positions the 15 inch ENVY against a MacBook Pro. They looked at the pain points that a creative user faces with a MacBook Pro and attempted to address them. For example, the ENVY 15 has more powerful graphics and processor. It supports a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU and a 10th generation Core i9 processor. It delivers a higher pixel per inch (PPI) display and offers a brighter, higher contrast OLED display. The display supports HP’s DreamColor technology for consistent color workflows. And, of course, HP integrates a full set of connectors and media ports enabling customers to connect accessories without extra adapters. 

The two kilogram ZBooks get monster graphics, and one of them is a GeForce

The ZBook Create is the first time HP uses a consumer GPU in a ZBook workstation. You can select a GeForce RTX 2080 Super as the high-end GPU option. The ZBook Create uses the same industrial design as the ZBook Studio. The ZBook Studio uses traditional workstation GPUs. The high-end option is the Quadro RTX 5000.

 The HP ZBook targets creative users with more demanding workflows

The HP ZBook targets creative users with more demanding workflows. 

Thermal design is key to integrating GPUs as powerful as the GeForce RTX 2080 Super and the Quadro RTX 5000 in a mobile workstation that weighs in under 2 kg / 4 lbs. The high-end options for the GeForce and Quadro GPUs have similar specs. The most obvious difference is the graphics memory: 8 GB for the GeForce RTX 2080 Super and 16 GB for the Quadro RTX 5000.

While the GeForce is a consumer GPU, it is in a ZBook mobile workstation. This means that HP has run the entire system through its ISV certification testing. This is one of the important differences between the ZBook family and the ENVY notebooks.

Pricing and availability 

  • The ENVY 17 is available now on starting at $1100
  • The ENVY 15 is due to ship in June starting at $1350
  • The ENVY 13 is expected in May, starting at $1,000
  • The ENVY x360 13 and x360 15 are both expected to be available in May with models starting at $700
  • The ZBook Create and Studio are scheduled for delivery in August with pricing available closer to the launch date

A Final Perspective

HP views the creative market broadly and HP offers a broad choice. That seems appropriate from a vendor perspective, although I don’t think that individuals necessarily classify themselves into HP’s consumer, prosumer, and professional buckets.

Instead, we look at our work. We work with still images, moving images, graphics, and special effects. Each one runs from relatively simple to very demanding. I suspect that many of us look at our needs, line those needs up against the capabilities of the mobile workstations, and make a logical choice for our work.

In the end, these different perspectives merge together. The new HP family of creative notebooks and mobile workstations offers a complete menu to choose from. I suspect that many of us will find a (near) perfect fit.

Tags: Technology


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