Zbook X2 Just Announced

Discussion in 'Hewlett Packard' started by dv8nathan, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Selofain

    Selofain Chronic Lurker

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    Nice idea! I'll have to find some bright stickers. Or maybe just paint a dot on them; I do have paint on hand.

    I'm pretty sure my non-Dreamcolor screen does auto-switchable graphics. :p I never check though, so maybe I'm imagining it? Haven't had the chance to really push the graphics card yet.
     
  2. Tha C-Master

    Tha C-Master Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Yea just keep looking until you find a deal for you. The deal I got was the cheapest I saw, until is saw the one I posted earlier that beat mine by about $45 bucks or so.

    Maybe you could have a friend or relative ship it to you? Or someone you could trust? If you could pull t hat off, it would be worth the savings I think.
     
  3. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...surprisingly he has quite harsh on its industrial design. I've never seen him be quite that critical of the aesthetics of any device. Of particular note is that he says the plastic surface feels "cheap and dated"...>>

    ...Now that I've been able to actually touch an X2, I understand where Colbow was coming from, although I don't altogether agree with him.

    He began by saying that his remarks were partially personal preference. Fair enough. As they say, there's no accounting for taste and if he doesn't like the overall aesthetics of the X2, that's his privilege.

    More specifically about the plastic, the matte surfaces of both the screen and the plastic end caps do fingerprint readily, but as I see it the finish was a deliberate design choice by HP: the matte over the screen for better pen feel and to reduce glare, and the matte finish on the end caps to match the matte of the screen. A shiny finish on the plastic would have looked strange. Taken in that context, I don't find the plastic either "cheap"-feeling or "dated." As others have commented, the construction is robust and the fit and finish of the parts is excellent.

    With regard to the keyboard, I can see why he might dislike the back surface from a creative's point of view. But again, I see it as a deliberate design choice by HP based on practical considerations. That's the side of the keyboard that's going to be abused in every day use; a simple, durable material that doesn't readily show scratches and wear makes the most sense and that's what HP used. Is the material a little drab? Yes, but I'd rather have that than the shiny metal back of the VAIO Z Canvas keyboard which requires constant care to avoid scratching. The extended edges of the X2 keyboard (I forget how Colbow disparaged them) make sense for the same reason; they serve to protect the metal perimeter of the keyboard deck from minor bumps and impacts. It may not be aesthetic, but it is good industrial design.

    As for the little ridge "spacers" on the top side of the keyboard that bother him so much, they prevent the keyboard keys from rubbing against the screen when the keyboard is closed. I have seen tablets whose screens (actually whose screen protectors) have been marked over time by keyboards that lack this design feature, so I'm glad that my X2 includes them!

    And then there's the connector of the AC adapter. Is it clunky? Yes. Could HP have done better and provided a more "sophisticated" design (a la iPad and Surface)? Sure. But is the connector perfectly adequate as is? Of course.

    Colbow does have a point that creatives have a unique and sometimes critical point of view and expectation for the things that they own and use, and Apple has successfully exploited that fact for years. But points of view vary depending upon what you create and, of course, your particular preferences. Which leads us back to the beginning of these remarks; if the design and construction are sound, then it's mostly an issue of personal preference.

    Like Colbow, I hope that HP produces another iteration of the X2. But Unlike Colbow, I don't think that HP needs to feel any embarrassment over the X2 as it currently exists...
     
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  4. artistebot

    artistebot Scribbler - Standard Member

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    Hey Steve, I am with you, on your observations. I think HP put functionality ahead of other aspects, and I for one am grateful. A sexy looking tool that does not do what I want it to do is WORSE than a ugly one that totally works. I don't find the Zbook ugly, nor the materials "cheap" looking.

    FIY I found a Zbook X2 review that was helpful to me in learning more about the Zbook x2 and direct comparisons.

    https://pocketnow.com/hp-zbook-x2-g4-dreamcolor-review
     
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  5. Tha C-Master

    Tha C-Master Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hey artistebot, I saw a comment you made about the pens on this device? Were you saying that some Wacom pens work with it while others don't? I have my Fujitsu pens that work with it but I couldn't figure if there was a way to get it to detect two buttons which is why I was curious.
     
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  6. artistebot

    artistebot Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I have not been able to get the second button recognized using the Wacom UP-911E or the Fujitsu pen. Frankly those pens are old, have considerable off-set, less pressure levels and don't recognize tilt, I don't see any value in pursuing it. For me having the second button would be helpful mostly using Zbrush, that It is about it.

    My guess is the pen from the Dell Canvas could work as it is only ~1 year old. It has two side buttons only, no top eraser, so possibly the second button is recognized in the HP create control panel as the Eraser?
     
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  7. Tha C-Master

    Tha C-Master Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Yea, that's the reason I stopped bothering for the most part. The HP Z Book pens are much more modern with better features. They also feel nice in my hand. I still have a spot for those pens though.

    With the extra buttons it's not an issue for me anymore. I was curious though.
     
  8. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    The first 48 hours.

    The following comments aren't meant to be a review; rather, they are some of my impressions of the ZBook X2 after two days of set up and early use:

    The unboxing wasn't particularly special. Rather than the fancy octagonal packaging that mostly has been shown, my X2 arrived direct from China in a plain cardboard box with foam inserts. I assume that was because mine was a custom build: i7-8650 / M620 / DreamColor / 16GB / 512GB Zturbo / FP Reader

    Start-up was a little odd, too. Windows never asked me for my Microsoft ID (so it could log me in). Yet somehow, it associated the X2 with my account and downloaded some updates. I had to log into my account manually and verify the X2 but everything else seemed to be in order. The update process didn't run smoothly, either; The first night I kept getting update errors (but I also noticed update errors on a couple of my other tablets). The next day, everything was suddenly OK again! The number of updates was small, so the out-of-the-box software load was pretty up to date.

    The X2 comes with a lot of.. ahem... HP bloatware. Years ago, I would have probably complained about that but in recent years I've noticed that some, actually many, of these OEM apps have value. And you can always ignore them, if you want. I've deferred looking into most of these add-ons for the moment so I can focus on getting Windows settings adjusted and apps loaded. I did start HP's Support app, and so far it seems to be pretty useful.

    The X2 is solidly built and nicely finished but the indicator LEDs are so small!! There appears to be no indicator associated with the I/O button and the "charging" LED is below the adapter port and hard to see. What I find really unusual is that the AC adapter has no indicators of any sort on it, so there's nothing to indicate if it's working or not! The only indication is if the charging LED comes on when you plug it into the X2.

    The screen is gorgeous and every bit as saturated as my Z Canvas. Also like the Z Canvas, the maximum brightness is about 350 nits. I don't find that to be any issue for my use case; in fact, I've been setting the screen to run at 75% brightness. Interestingly, except for for a few software titles, there is no hardware indication that the screen is a DreamColor screen! Also, there is no light bleed around any of the screen edges. Inking feel seems solid, but I haven't done enough of that yet to have any definitive opinion. The processor seems as snappy as I expected and the ZTurbo SSD (with Samsung chips) also meets expectations. (Perhaps more on that in a separate posting.) The keyboard has excellent tactile feel and it's great to have backlighted keys; I really missed that on the Z Canvas. Also Windows Hello, which is really fast!

    Finally, I've decided to make some app changes this time around. I'm continuing to use FluidMath for calculations of all types, and Office 365 (of course), but I'm thinking about switching to Clip Studio Paint rather than ArtRage 5 and... maybe... TurboCad in place of Moment of Inspiration 3. Time will tell on those last two.

    So, at 48 hours in, I'm very pleased with my purchase. The X2 is a worthy successor to my Z Canvas...
     
  9. Tha C-Master

    Tha C-Master Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I need to use Windows hello! I had it on my Samsung Notebook 9 Pro and it's fast. I've just stopped turning off sign in because it's slow and annoying with tablet to reach my keyboard. I need to implement this solution.
     
  10. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...the ZTurbo SSD (with Samsung chips) also meets expectations. (Perhaps more on that in a separate posting.)...>>

    ...As promised, some additional comments on HP's storage options. During the process of customizing my ZBook X2, I was confronted with four system storage options in the 512GB size:
    • 512 GB Z Turbo Drive G2 Self Encrypted (SED) OPAL2 TLC SSD +$67.00
    • 512 GB PCIe NVMe TLC SSD +$161.00
    • 512 GB Z Turbo Drive G2 MLC SSD +$212.00
    • 512 GB M2 SATA-3 FIPS TLC SSD +$237.00
    Unfortunately, unlike other sales sites such as Dell, HP offered no explanation of the differences among these four options. Conversations with HP's sales reps provided only spotty and sometimes contradictory information. In the process of researching this, I eventually stumbled across the X2 White Paper (mentioned earlier in this discussion thread, see page 24 of the White Paper) and I also had a conversation with a sales rep who seemed to be better informed than most. So, here's how I think the four options stack up:
    • 512 GB M2 SATA-3 FIPS TLC SSD: We'll take the last one first. This is an SSD with a SATA-3 interface. That makes it the slowest one of the group. TLC means three bits per cell. TLC chips offer more storage capacity than MLC (2 bits per cell) but at the cost of a small reduction in speed over an MLC chip. FIPS is an encryption protocol. Hardware encryption is faster than using Bit Locker with an ordinary drive. So this SSD option is really about robust encrypted storage.
    • 512 GB Z Turbo Drive G2 Self Encrypted (SED) OPAL2 TLC SSD: ZTurbo is HP's proprietary storage drive design that incorporates ruggedness features for enterprise use (think: Mil-Spec-like ruggedness). HP claims that ZTurbo drives are their fastest drives. G2 means Generation 2, implying that the design of the drive has been updated. My research suggests that the ZTurbo design was developed in ~2014, with no information about when the G2 update was accomplished. SED stands for Self Encrypted Disc and OPAL2 is an encryption protocol. ZTurbo implies that this option is as fast as any PCIe drive, but the encryption / decryption may somewhat degrade speed, but not as much as Bit Locker. So again, this SSD option is about robust encryption but with (much) higher speed than SATA-3 can offer.
    • 512 GB Z Turbo Drive G2 MLC SSD: Now it gets a little murky; this or the last option may be the fastest drive option, depending on who you believe. As noted, MLC provides 2 bits per cell and is slightly faster than TLC. An MLC chip also has a somewhat longer operating lifetime than a TLC chip, but both offer substantial operating lives. Although it does not say so, this drive is PCIe NVMe. Most HP reps said that this was the fastest drive option... but the design and performance data are vintage 2014. Nonetheless, the performance data are quite good. If you enable Bit Locker, the speed of this drive will be affected.
    • 512 GB PCIe NVMe TLC SSD: This is the "vanilla" drive option. Except for the TLC factor, most data that I could find suggested that this option should be about as fast as the ZTurbo G2 MLC SSD. HOWEVER, one sales rep off-handedly commented that HP was using Western Digital Black SSDs for this option. The Black SSD is a relatively recent product and its performance specs are about 10% better than the 2014-vintage ZTurbo performance data. So if this performance comparison still holds, this option would be the fastest drive option (same comment for Bit Locker, though).
    As best I can tell, the last two options above offer largely comparable performance. If the Black SSD really has a 10% performance advantage, I think it is unlikely that a user would notice any substantial difference in normal day-to-day use. I ordered the ZTurbo G2 MLC SSD on the basis of its ruggedized design and MLC life, but I could have easily gone for the vanilla PCIe NVMe TLC SSD. I think it's just an issue of buyer preference...
     
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