Week 2 with the the HP ZBook Studio G3 has been interesting, and also goes to show that one shouldn't necessarily base judgements on first impressions. Last week I mentioned that compared to my MacBook Pro the screen on the ZBook wasn't as bright or as good as viewing angles, however what I have come to realise after working with the HP ZBook G3 Studio is that the HP's screen is far better for general day to day working than the MacBook,
Normally I use the laptops in the house or out at meetings, the photo above was taken at my 'house-desk'. As you can see after I got the angle right on the HP and Mac for the camera the HP screen is much better at showing you what's going on with no disturbances, just in the same way that I am typing this now on the HP in the middle of the day in full daylight.
Apple on the other hand, make a screen that is better calibrated out of the box, the HP shifts a bit towards the red, but with the correct calibrator this would be easily fixed. What cannot be fixed with the Apple is the fact as it is a reflective screen, the reflections really get in the way. Like most things in life this is only really apparent when there is an alternative directly in front of you, and in the past week the HP has become my default go to laptop for most task's as all I need to do to get a workable screen in most lighting conditions is tilt the screen. This particular HP ZBook Studio G3 doesn't come with the dreamcolour screen, and hopefully that would sort the calibration issues out of the box, but on the whole I prefer using the HP day to day.
Another advantage of a longer term review is that time can be spent ironing out wrinkles, for example the trackpad, while still not as responsive as the trackpad on the MacBook Pro is getting there. After some tweaking of the control panel (where there are a LOT of options) the trackpad is now behaving and is perfectly usable, although an old school part of me misses dedicated trackpad buttons which would be great for assigning middle clicks for example in Autodesk MAYA.
I have started to benchmark the HP ZBook G3 Studio vs the MacBook Pro, but I have decided not to number crunch too much in terms of 'standard benchmarking', as the only way todo that is to putBootcamp on the MacBook which I always feel is meaningless for most creative users. Rather I have decided to test on real world usable benchmarks of how a modern Windows Laptop workstation compares to it's Mac equivalent, as that is how most creatives will use them, and I will be spreading these over the next couple of weeks, (mainly because I need to think a lot of them up).
However, there is one benchmark that I can run on both machines, yep its Cinebench R15.
As can be seen, while there isn't much between the laptops in terms of render grunt the HP wins in terms of MultiCore, the Mac for Single Core. The HP dominates OpenGL frame rate, which is born out in general use, while using the HP for 3D in the evening away from my workstation the combination of the Ultra HD display and the under the hood grunt, makes the whole experience much more pleasing than using the Mac.
Also there seems to be an underlying trend fact that as Digital Content Creation Apps developers seem unsure of giving all the goodies to Mac Users at the moment, I can do everything on the HP that I can do on my workstation, just not necessarily as quickly.
The first 'real world benchmark' I performed was using Adobe Lightroom, The MacBook Pro is supposed to have one of the fatstes SSD's on the market, so I decided to see how quickly both machines could import and process into a new Lightroom Catalogue 141 RAW files directly from the SD card of my 42MP Sony A7R2.
The time for the MacBook Pro was 1 minute and 38.5 seconds, for the HP it was 1 minute and 34.5 seconds, which makes a worrying misnomer for Apple hardware, I am starting to question how much OS X is getting the way?
As the HP was quicker, not much admittedly, but enough to make a difference, and again Lightroom is nicer to use on the HP, it is more responsive, the increased screen real estate available due to pixel density of the screen makes image work much nicer, I wish that the screen was 16:10 like the MacBook Pro, while the 16:9 ratio of the HP is great for watching moves a bit more room for palette's vertical would be appreciated, and again the colour is a bit off but this can be fixed with a decent calibration tool.
The more time I spend with the HP, the more I can see where Apple is going wrong for Creative Pro's, the HP is very good at just being there and not offering any hoops to jump through, and these are hoop's that I hadn't realised I was even jumping through with the Mac until I started to use the HP.
I have a week of 3D modeliing and mograph ahead of me, so tune in (yes I know) next week to see how the HP copes, and if you have any question's, leave a comment below.
RGBHQ would like to thank Escape Technology for the opportunity to review the HP ZBOOK G3 MOBILE WORKSTATION. Escape Technology are the one of the leading providers of Hardware solutions to creative specialists and studios in the UK