Editor's Choice AwardThe HP ZBook Studio G5 is one of the best looking PC laptops on the market, but it doesn’t put looks ahead of performance. The Studio G5 can be equipped with an Intel i9 or Xeon CPU, so if you need powerful processing, it’s got it. It can even be configured with up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and a discrete GPU.

And if that wasn’t enough, this mobile workstation can also be equipped with a UHD DreamColor Display with a brightness of 600 nits. The keyboard feels nice and when we benchmarked for performance, it scored well for its cost.

HP set out to make an ultra-slim performance laptop that a creative professional would like to be seen with. For all of those windows users jealous of the look of a MacBook Pro, the Studio G5 is the answer. The display is HP’s brightest UHD laptop display. It offers 100 percent Adobe RGB coverage. Even those who have a smaller budget can get into a Studio G5 for a little over two grand. Our favorite novelty feature is the webcam shutter. For those who like to put a piece of tape, a sticky note or something else over your webcam when not in use, the Studio G5 has a sliding door that offers a more attractive way to ensure your privacy.

As reviewed

Like most computers these days, the Studio G5 can be configured dozens of ways and with a wide range in cost. When set-up at its cheapest, the Studio G5 costs $2,100, but this configuration is not a good choice for video production. You’d get an Intel i5 CPU, no discrete GPU, 8GB of RAM, HD resolution monitor and 256GB of internal storage. On the top end, the Studio G5 costs $5,175 and is one beefy machine for its size with an Intel Xeon CPU, Nvidia P1000 GPU, 32GB of RAM, 2TB of internal storage and that beautiful and bright UHD DreamColor display.

For this review, we wanted the configuration of the machine to be the best value for a video producer who will use the system as their one and only computer, ready for editing on the go. With cost in mind, it was set up with the Intel 2.6GHz  i7 8850H with 6 cores and 9MB of cache. This is the best-priced CPU offered for the G5 that allows for a discrete GPU. Because video production relies on the power of the graphics card, GPU is a core component when configuring an editing computer. The GPU in this system is the Nvidia Quadro P1000 with 4GB of VRAM — the only discrete GPU available with this model.

To finish off the system, we choose 32GB of RAM and a 512GB M.2 SSD. The SSD will allow for your programs and OS to open faster and respond more quickly to commands. The 512GB drive is small for video production, but with external drives being more affordable than ever, there is more value in adding storage as needed externally. 32GB of RAM is the limit for this model, and that’s enough to get most jobs done, though there are similar systems from other manufacturers that allow you to upgrade further if your workflow would benefit from additional RAM. 

We were torn when designing the system for this review because many video editors don’t rely on their laptop as their primary machine. In those situations, some of the luxuries one might choose for your main system become less valuable. The biggest example of this in the Studio G5 is the monitor. If a user was going to use the system to edit on the go, but finish with a different system, not having the best monitor isn’t a big deal. Going with the lower resolution monitor is a quick way to lower the price by $378. in the end, our system totaled out to a little under $2,900.

In use

The Studio G5 is a system that you’ll want to be seen using. It’s stylish with great function — perfect to take to the coffee shop, airport or anywhere else you want to show it off. It’s a bit larger than the 15-inch MacBook Pro, but not by much. It’s also a little taller, though that’s for ventilation. It has a much better keyboard than the MacBook, by far. Additionally, the trackpad was a nice size.

On top of a well-designed chassis, the DreamColor monitor is quite nice. It offers great color and clarity, and it’s bright enough to use in sunlight without having to strain to see. Overall, its just nice to look at. Although we said earlier that skipping the upgraded monitor would save you $378, its not a huge price tag for the quality of the display. If you want a nice monitor on your computer, it’s worth the extra cost.

Finally, when considering a system that you are going to be taking from here to there, its ability to withstand the wear and tear is very important.

Finally, when considering a system that you are going to be taking from here to there, its ability to withstand the wear and tear is very important. The Studio G5 is nicely built. It doesn’t have obvious design flaws that will age poorly. 

Tests

With every computer that we test, we put them through daily use, like editing, color grading and rendering. We also put them through a benchmark test using PCMark10.

Let’s start off by talking about how the system did in daily use. We edit with the Adobe Creative Cloud. Using Premiere Pro CC, we loaded up footage from every camera we have reviewed, to see if the computer has any problems importing and manipulating the footage. We tested REDCode RAW, CinemaDNG, ProRes 4444, Canon RAW Lite, XAVC QFHD, HVEC (H.265) and various H.264 footage. We didn’t find anything that tripped the machine up. While editing, everything operated smoothly without problems. We then did some color manipulation on every clip and rendered out multiple projects with a mix of footage. Although we didn’t see lightning fast renders, they weren’t slow either. However, those are subjective tests; let’s look at the benchmarks.

The HP ZBook Studio, out of the box without any overclocking, received an overall score of 4563, with a digital content creation score of 4790 and video editing score of 5014. To put that into context, another system we reviewed recently, the Dell Precision 3530, had an overall score of 4640. At the time of that review, the system cost $2,960 and offered an Intel Xeon E-2176M, 6 Core, 12M Cache, 2.70GHz CPU, a Nvidia Quadro P600 GPU and 32GB of DDR4 RAM. Not only was the score better with the Studio G5, but the machine is also better looking and costs less.

Marketplace

We have already stated that the Apple MacBook Pro is a competitor with the Studio G5. Like the Apple, the Studio G5 combines style and function. Dell offers a similar product with the Precision 7530. The Studio G5, MacBook Pro and Precision 7530 can all be configured similarly. With the configuration for this review as the bar, the similarly equipped MacBook Pro costs $3,200 and the Precision 7530 sits at $2,800. Dell and HP will almost always be nearly the same price, and Apple will cost more. The deciding factor might be your thoughts on their style more than on their available components and performance.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations

The HP Studio G5 is a great looking laptop that can be configured to be a great video editing machine. Its price is comparable to the competition, and in every way, it met our expectations. If you are looking for a system that is good looking to be your video editing workhorse, you need to check out the HP ZBook Studio G5.

SUMMARY:

The HP Studio G5 is a good looking computer that can be configured to be a powerhouse. The big question is if you will splurge on the monitor.

WEBSITE: www.HP.com

STRENGTHS:

  • Good Looking
  • Webcam Hide Shutter

WEAKNESSES:

  • RAM cap may be limiting for some users

RECOMMENDED USES:

  • Documentary Filmmaking and Journalism
  • Online Video Production

PRICE: As Reviewed – $2,873

TECH SPECS:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 8850H vPro (2.6GHz up to 4.3 GHz, 9MB cache, 6 cores)
  • GPU: Nvidia Quadro P1000 (4GB VRAM)
  • Monitor: HP Sure View 15.6’’ FHD IPS antiglare LED, 650 nit
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz
  • Storage: 512 NVMe M.2 SSD

5 COMMENTS

  1. Hi folks, wanted to ask how the G5 was regarding fan noise and chassis heat during use? Also, can it be charged over USBC if you don’t have the charging brick with you?

    Cheers!

    • Hi, I am far too late to help you with your purchase, but hopefully other people can see this.
      There are two main issues that I have with the computer, one being the fans being quite loud, ramping up very noticeably at 15-20% CPU load, but my largest issue with this computer is the location of the headphone jack. First off, it’s on the wrong side. Headphones generally have their chords on the left side, but the Zbook has them on its left side, meaning that depending on your cable length, you will either have a headphone cable draped across your arms, or it will go along the back of the computer. The headphone jack is placed about 1/3 of the way up from the front edge of the computer, so if you have headphones plugged in, you won’t be able to actually use a mouse close to the computer as you will probably keep encountering the headphone cable.

      It might be me, but these issues have effectively removed any satisfaction that I would have from using it as I don’t feel like I am using something that would be worthy of the “Mobile workstation”designation that it has on the back.

      To add to this, when I typed this, the computer has frozen up several times for 1-2 seconds, on a near-fresh install.

      But hey, everything else about this laptop has been very satisfactory, and it looks good.
      I hope HP moves the location of the headphone jack in the next revision of this computer.

    • Hey Seph, Here are the specs for the computer we tested for this review:
      CPU: Intel Core i7 8850H vPro (2.6GHz up to 4.3 GHz, 9MB cache, 6 cores)
      GPU: Nvidia Quadro P1000 (4GB VRAM)
      Monitor: HP Sure View 15.6’’ FHD IPS antiglare LED, 650 nit
      RAM: 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz
      Storage: 512 NVMe M.2 SSD

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