Zbook X2 Initial Impression

Discussion in 'Hewlett Packard' started by carnageX12, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. carnageX12

    carnageX12 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Wanted to post an in-depth initial impression of the Zbook x2 and possibly get to a real review eventually.

    Tablet History

    I'll first start off with this is not my first tablet, I've had a ThinkPad X61 which I liked a lot, but thought about getting something smaller and more portable, so then I got a galaxy note 10.1 which worked well but felt burned that Samsung never updated it more and since I felt the same way with my epic 4g never bought another Samsung product. Tried a surface pro 2 with power keyboard for full Windows experience again but found it too small to work comfortably. Next for me was a Cintiq companion 2 which seemed ideal 3 USB ports, full and micro SD slots, able to connect as a Cintiq to other computers, but I could never get over the constantly revving fans and was disappointed with how the stand was implemented, tried a flipsteady case but the fan noise truly killed it. I then got a ThinkPad yoga 14 which has been nice but still prefer EMR over AES, I've kept it for school. I briefly had a Modbook, which was cool being able to use OS X on a tablet, but I found a lot of the software I had started to use was for Windows only, and for some reason I could never get Bootcamp to work on it, so ultimately got rid of it. I also got a Cintiq companion hybrid, great drawing experience, sucks that the software was never updated but I knew that going in, I was able to get 123D creature before it was taken down which was nice, but there's no real CAD software for that device, and I will admit it's pretty heavy for an android tablet. Next up was the Vaio Z Canvas which I have a love hate relationship with, love the size, power, noise level, stand, hardware buttons at the top, but hate how it felt like I had to jump through holes to get things to work the way I wanted and it feels like Vaio stopped caring about this product. A Cube Mix Plus was next, which I mostly used as a note taker, then I installed Ubuntu Studio and started using more as a Retropie machine, Also the keyboard really increased the weight, so despite its small size, the portability factor was hampered by the weight. Then I decided to try an iPad 10.5 as there seemed to be an influx in software that interested me: Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, Shapr3D, and could still use OneNote and Medibang and I found the drawing experience to be quite awesome with a matte screen protector. I also tried replacing the ThinkPad with a Surface Pro 3, which I love the portability of but recently decided to get rid of due to the keyboard and just going to stick with the ThinkPad. I also got a first gen iPad 12.9 for cheap, because I wanted the bigger screen real-estate, been awesome, but a little big for a portable tablet, since I would still need my PC for certain things. That brings me to now, still not satisfied with the Z canvas I saw new tablets using EMR were announced. I was considering the Acer Switch 7, but seems to be missing in action still, and as I said earlier I'd prefer to stay away from Samsung products so didn’t really consider the galaxy book series or the notebook pro 9. When the Zbook X2 was initially released I found it too expensive and disappointed there wasn't a quad core option, but I've kept up with what people have been saying and when eBay came through with a decent deal I decided to go for it.

    Initial Impression

    To put it quickly I love this device. The keyboard feels nice to type on, I like that it can be attached at an angle, lay flat, or completely detach from the device and still work. The trackpad also feels nice and like that I am able to customize the way I want to scroll, which I know seems silly, but I had to use AutoHotKey to scroll the way I wanted on the Z Canvas. The screen has a nice matte finish which feels great to draw on. Speaking of which, it's always nice to have EMR and this is one of the most accurate implementations of it I've ever used. The speakers are passible, but nothing to brag about. There is some definite weight to the device, but I expected that. The kickstand is okay, it works, but I do prefer the kickstand of the Z Canvas and how it can be adjusted with one hand. There are a couple of negatives I found, one touch has to be disabled to draw, I've tried multiple ways, but no matter what, as soon as my hand touches the screen a line is drawn from the pen tip to my hand. There may be a way to fix that behavior, haven't looked too much into as I've just been disabling touch for now. Also while drawing I've noticed stray little dots, something I came across on AES and N-Trig/MPP but not something I encountered with EMR before. This might have to do with the curve settings, and I've messed with the pressure curve a bit to fix the behavior, but something I still have to be aware of. Despite those negatives, I still love this device. It is what I wish the Cintiq Companion 2 could have been and definitely glad I got it. I even like that it has a quadro card, because from what I've read, CAD programs will benefit from that series and SolidWorks says it is fully compatible, although if they would have put a 4GB model that would have been cool. Now I just need to get around to selling the devices I don't use anymore to offset the price of this thing lol.

    Comparing Pens

    I thought I would finish this post comparing the official HP X2 pen to the Modbook pen, and both of those to the Cintiq companion hybrid. For this comparison I used a drawing I had started in Medibang on the Cintiq. I then took it over to the HP Zbook X2 and used the official pen. I next tried the Modbook pen, where there was a offset, but not much. One thing I noticed was the official pen was a lot quieter on the screen compared to the Modbook pen, and I'll probably stop using the Modbook pen due to worries it will eventually scratch the screen. I've noticed there are two big scratches on my Cube Mix Plus screen which must be due to the Modbook pen or Lifebook pen. So much for using a two button pen since I don’t want to chance it. I also noticed that I had less random stray dots with the Modbook pen, which again makes me think I just need to calibrate the pressure curve more to the way I draw. With the Cintiq sketch I was just taking my time and trying to practice with the splatter brush, the other two I quickly did for comparisons sake but overall I’m satisfied with the pen experience on the Zbook X2 and the way it compares to the Cintiq Companion Hybrid. Looking forward to getting to delve into the Zbook X2 more.


    [​IMG]
    Also after noticing it to upload a picture to share, does anyone else with a ZBook X2 notice weird green artifacts showing up on pictures from Deviantart? I haven't noticed it anywhere else and it only shows up on the ZBook X2, but definetly makes me wonder what is going on.
     
  2. David B

    David B Pen Pal - Newbie

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    How are you finding the processing power/speed compared to the Z Canvas? I mainly work in lightroom/photoshop.
     
  3. carnageX12

    carnageX12 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I installed Photoshop CS6 initially on the ZBook before I did a clean install of Windows. The performance was similar, I mainly rendered a video from a Photoshop file that I had already made, I didn't time it like I should have. Because CS6 looked so distorted when scaling up, I decided I wasn't going to install it on the clean install. I rendered another video commercial with HitFilm Express and timed it, the Z Canvas took 28 sec and the Zbook took 26 sec, again very similar performance. I don't feel it it is a downgrade in performance, but I also don't feel it is really much of an upgrade either. If I still have both when I get into bigger projects I'll try do more comparisons.
     
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  4. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...the Z Canvas took 28 sec and the Zbook took 26 sec, again very similar performance. I don't feel it it is a downgrade in performance, but I also don't feel it is really much of an upgrade either...>>

    ...The table below is based on PassMark data for the processors in the Z Canvas and the ZBook X2:

    upload_2018-9-7_20-24-16.png

    The colored cells show the main areas of comparison. Note that the 4770HQ processor in the Z Canvas and the 8550U/8650U in the ZBook have similar single-thread and multi-thread scores. That explains the similar, but slightly faster performance of your ZBook. The big difference is that the 8th Gen processors are doing this slightly better job using significantly less power than the 3rd Gen 4770HQ. In everyday use, your ZBook should be able to ramp up execution speeds for longer periods of time while staying cooler (and avoiding throttling for longer) than the Z Canvas.

    On the right side of the chart, the PassMark Average G3D graphics performance marks are shown. The Z Canvas uses Iris Pro 5200 integrated graphics while the ZBook uses the discrete M620. The score suggest that the ZBook should exhibit about twice the graphics performance of the older Z Canvas. Interestingly, the scores for the 8550U/8650U integrated graphics (UHD 620) appear to be lower than the Iris Pro 5200, but I believe that they are actually slightly better because they are producing UHD quality images while the Iris Pro 5200 produces a lesser quality image. (However, I'm not going to claim to be an expert on graphics benchmarking.)

    As always, I caution that benchmarks can be designed to "show" many things and they should always be regarded with caution and only as general indicators of performance...
     
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  5. carnageX12

    carnageX12 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I remember researching the processor difference between the 4770HQ and the 8650U when that dealmoon deal of 40% off was offered, and the base clock speed gave me enough pause that I missed the deal. I also had read the multi-thread performance was better on the 4770HQ on like CPU Boss, Notebook CPU check, or something, but I like your source that said the 8650U eeked out a slight win there. I eventually stopped caring about if the performance was going to be an upgrade when I became more frustrated with Z Canvas. Plus like you were saying, these benchmarks that are given are synthetic and not a true indicator of real world use. I hope to find something that will push the processor for a longer stretch as I think that could make for a better ‘use case’ scenario between the two. But so far, for the things I normally do, the Zbook does not slow me down.
     
  6. stoneseeker

    stoneseeker Animator and Art Director Senior Member

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    Did you get the dreamcolor screen version? Curious on your impressions on it and if its worth it..
     
  7. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...Curious...if its worth it...>>

    ...I can answer that question for myself. Having lived with the Z Canvas and its Adobe RGB screen, I can say that the colors are noticeably more saturated to the extent that even today, I am sometimes taken with how much more vivid some of the colors are as compared to, say, the nSP. At the same time, others have complained about the screen edge light bleed, which is sometimes noticeable along the bottom edge. If the ZBook X2 has an edge problem, I haven't seen many comments about it.

    Do you need this extra color fidelity? I guess it depends upon how exacting you are as an artist. However, if I ever buy a ZBook, I intend to buy one with a DreamColor display...
     
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  8. carnageX12

    carnageX12 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Yes I got the dreamcolor version. While I've never seen a unit without the dreamcolor display, I can say I'm glad I have it. So short answer, yes worth it.
    I love the way the colors look while still keeping a matte screen finish. One thing I did with the iPad was install a matte screen protector and it washes out the colors a bit, so having accurate colors with a matte screen is killer.
    I would say if colors are important for your work you need to get the dreamcolor display, reading other people's posts that got the non-dreamcolor screen it seems they have been a bit disappointed in it's color/saturation. I've been happy with the dreamcolor screen since the day I got it. If color accuracy is not important to you I suppose you could get away without getting the dreamcolor display, but based on what I've read I'd say get the dreamcolor display.
     
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  9. incredulous

    incredulous Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Has anyone else had frustrations with the HP Create control panel?
    I find there are certain applications that it doesn't detect, (particularly CAD) so the quick key button functionality doesn't change to match the application I'm using.
    I also find the settings I've assigned to quick keys for Edge browser don't work - the reference overlay menu shows the functions I've set correctly, but the buttons still do the default function!

    I uninstalled the HP panel and reinstalled, which made no difference. I then removed it again and tried to install the Wacom drivers, since @Happehlemons said it is compatible.
    Weirdly, though when, I install the Wacom package (WacomTablet_6.3.30-6.exe) it installs the HP panel, not the Wacom one - how can that be! I thought I'd just clicked the wrong install file first of all, so I did it again and got the same result.

    Anyone else tried this?
     
  10. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    ...Is anyone who is on this thread still in touch with the HP engineers? If so, I have a question that I'd like to forward to them...
     
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