Zbook X2 Just Announced

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

  1. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Hey, guys!

    Just dropping in on this thread for the first time since it began.

    How is this machine working out for those who own it?

    They've come down in price a bit from the statosphere.
     
  2. doobiedoobiedum

    doobiedoobiedum Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I have a slightly older model with 16GB RAM which I bought in December 2018 and I really like it but there are a few things to consider:

    1) It's heavy but I don't mind. I came to the zbook after older EMR1 tabletpcs so I never got to try any of the lighter early EMR2 tablets in between.
    2) I would like the zbook to be 15" or even 16" ~ 14" can still feel cramped - especially when you consider #3 below.
    3) Screen ratio - it's what I would call "panoramic" so I sometimes find there is a lot of wasted screen space if I'm working to A4 image size or even square ratio for Instagram or other format. I'd much prefer iPad Pro screen proportion. Can't remember who started posting comparative screen ratio diagrams but that really struck home. I suppose if you were creating images for a display or print which was similar output proportion then the zbook is perfect.
    4) that Nvidia Quadra M620 graphic card probably does something that helps performance somewhere but I often feel disappointed when my 2013 MacBook Pro with 4GB and no graphic card renders out a Photoshop / Clip Studio video or animation faster than my zbook.
    5) The pen is great but personally I would prefer slightly heavier.
    6) Accuracy is very good - even at the corners and edges. Have to admit I was very nervous having spent a large amount on this thing hoping NOT to have an EMR 1 experience...
    7) Make sure you get the Dreamcolour display. I read that the non Dreamcolour display can be muted.
    8) Pen feel on the surface is excellent - feels pretty natural for drawing. I personally still prefer the Apple Pencil for accuracy but the Pencil's feel on that glass surface is 3rd rate.

    Finally, back on screen ratio - I have seen video of larger graphic tablets where the artist has a smaller image alongside the space they are working in and I suppose you could put a digital reference image up into the zbook's spare screen space - but I am still one of those who prefers to draw from real reference in front of me. In Europe, we use A4 a lot and it's close to standard comic book format so the zbook is not quite the perfect fit.

    Maybe my next exploration for a comic should look to use the zbook's proportions.......
     
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  3. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Cool. It looks like a really nice machine, but it was so far out of my price range at the time, that I didn't even consider it.

    14" does seem a bit tight, especially at 16:9. 15" is barely big enough.

    How is the pen driver? Is it limited as it is with the Samsung devices? -Or do you get to exploit the full functionality Wacom builds but doesn't always provide drivers to tap into? Like, can you do a hover click without a hack?
     
  4. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    It looks like HP is employing a reskin of Wacom's DTK control panel (similar to Dell's approach on the Canvas):



    They also published a thorough guide on pen functions, which is a welcome addition to most bare-bones support pages these days.

    Also curious, having used the Samsung pen drivers for work, did you find any practical limitations besides button customization (eg. line quality, pressure curve, etc.) compared to standard Wacom Feel drivers?

    If so, what methods did you use to get around them?
     
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  5. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...How is this machine working out for those who own it?..>>
    <<...It's heavy but I don't mind...>>

    @thatcomicsguy : Strangely, when I read your post, the first thing that popped into my mind was the same comment! In a world where the Surface Pro (5) weighs 2 lbs-6 ozs, the X2 makes a real impression at 4 lbs-14 ozs… almost exactly twice the weight! But, like @doobiedoobiedum , I don't find that weight to be particularly cumbersome because this isn't a tablet that you are likely to cradle in your arm very frequently. The X2 is more portable than mobile, but that fits my use case just fine. A few more comments to compare and contrast with the doobs:
    • I'm not an artist (as any sketch of mine would tell you) but I do use the X2 with ArtRage 6, Clip Studio Paint (thanks for the tip, Mark!) and TurboCAD. I understand doobie's comment about the screen ratio and its utility, but I also feel that the panoramic shape has its uses. In particular, I have always found the extra length useful because of the multitude of toolbars that applications like TurboCAD utilize. The "extra" length on the right side synchs nicely with the TurboCAD UI, and also, I think, with the Clip Studio UI. For ArtRage and its simple UI, the X2's screen simply gives you extra lateral space. My Z Canvas has a 3:4 aspect ratio screen but I find both screens are convenient to work in... I don't feel that the X2's screen is "cramped" at all. Of course, I recognize that everyone' mileage may vary on this...
    • While we're on the subject of the screen, the DreamColor display is gorgeous! Highly saturated and adequately bright. I have a calibrated Dell UltraShape monitor on my desktop system and the Z Canvas; both tablets compare very favorably with the Dell monitor. In particular, the better color saturation is noticeable in direct comparisons with, say, the Surface Pro.
    • Regarding apparent computing power, I was also a little disappointed with the X2 as it compares to my now 4 year old Z Canvas. Theoretically, the i7-8650 in my X2 should be slightly more capable than the i7-4770 in the Z Canvas. The M620 should be about twice as capable as the ZC's Intel Iris Pro integrated graphics. However, in real life, the two platforms seem about equally fast; sometimes the ZC is faster and sometimes it's the X2. However, bear in mind what I'm comparing; both platforms are noticeably snappier than my SP5! I've pondered this a bit and wonder if the issue is actually the software patches that Intel / Microsoft had to install because of the Spectre / Meltdown scare? You may remember that at the time, Intel said that the patches could result in a significant impact on computing capability, something like 15% to 30%! I'm almost positive that VAIO never issued a Spectre / Meltdown fix for the Z Canvas and I'm also guessing that the X2 incorporates the fix (and maybe more since). The presence of the patch in one device and not the other may explain the apparent lack of performance improvement in the X2... maybe... But again, I'm comparing two tablets that are (or were) near the top end of tablet performance; the X2 is still a very fast performer.
    • Battery operating life is at best average, which should be no surprise considering what's going on under the hood. About 3-1/2 hours for reasonably active use. Interestingly, this has never really bothered me. I'm almost always near an outlet and when I'm not, I have a 150 Whr external battery to cover me. One other note; the X2's BIOS offers an 80% charge limiter designed to protect the battery from constant charging to 100%. My Z Canvas has the same feature and after four years of use, the battery is still chugging along while a lot of other ZC batteries have puffed up and checked out. A useful feature, for sure!
    • I'll defer to doobie with regard to the pen; it's appropriate to let artist speak to artist. For what it's worth, I find the pen well balanced and nicely shaped. As doobie says, the pen feel against the X2's matte-finished screen is excellent! After almost a year of use without a screen protector, I do not see any noticeable wear on the screen surface.
    • One final comment for now. As @Marty points out in the post above, HP has done an unusually good job of documenting everything about the X2. In fact, I can't recall the last computer of any type that I've owned with such extensive documentation. And HP is still issuing periodic updates for the X2, which gives one a certain sense that maybe HP is in it for the long haul...
     
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  6. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Hey Steve, one of the things I've been constantly searching for are tablet-friendly, full-featured CAD applications.

    I mean back in 2012 we already could do this on the EP121 with SketchUp:



    7 years, later I'm sad to say that I haven't found any CAD tool that's significantly easier to use with digital pen-and-slate.

    Could you comment on how the TurboCAD UX is in this regard. What makes it your CAD app of choice on tablets?

    I'm looking for a parametric solid modeler (preferably with a node-based editing capability, eg. Grasshopper3D), as well 2D drafting tool for electrical and mechanical device schematics.

    Any help in finding such a wonderful tool for tablets, would be much appreciated. ;)
     
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  7. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Samsung N9P, even with the driver limitations, offers a far superior pen experience than the Dell Canvas. -It puts down a better, more reliable line (using the "Tablet PC" API rather than Wacom's in Clip Studio's preferences). -Mind you, I'm using an old Penabled Toshiba pen on the Dell because the two Dell Canvas pens I had gone through were both faulty in the same way; they just sometimes wouldn't register a stroke. It only happened when I was holding the pen at a certain attitude, so it seemed like a manufacturing flaw. I never bothered to contact Dell about that, as I was thoroughly fed up with them by that point and just hung up angrily and reconfigured the settings to work best with the old pens. -Those work flawlessly, except you have to press quite hard to get the lines I want, which is fine for drawing and inking, but precision selecting can be touchy, as you'll forget to press hard enough and a selection area will close before you're ready. Annoying, but better than arbitrary line dropout. The Samsung has none of these difficulties.

    On the Samsung I just use Radial Menu to fix the hover click limitation, and that works fine. The touch interface is just as good as Dell's (or vice/versa), so that's not even a question.

    The main thing the Dell offers is size; I find the N9P's 15" screen a bit cramped, and I need to export my work to the desktop in order to scope it out properly. Between the two devices, I manage well enough, but I am eyeing the Cintiq Pro 24. If I see one at a cut rate price I'll probably pick one up.

    What equipment are you working with these days?
     
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  8. Marty

    Marty Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    That's good to know! :thumbsup: So basically no functional limitations to using Samsung EMR for even pro work.

    Your glowing reviews have certainly got me interested in the next-gen N9P, especially if Samsung never returns to x86 with the Galaxy Book line. Grr... :vbmad:

    Ah, I'm the poor sod that's still using everything he back in 2016, lol...still rockin' my trusty old VAIO Z Canvas and Note 5.

    I still feel like the newer tablets aren't scratchin' that power-user itch. The ZC for all its flaws, is still the most solidly built, most well-tuned system I've ever used. (I still can't believe the CPU, over 4 generations old, is still beating nearly every 2-in-1 on the market today...)

    So without a clear upgrade path, I make do with N-Trig. I also recently sold my Cintiq, so it really has been pure N-Trig waviness (which is still usable folks! just not as good as EMR :vbtongue:).
     
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  9. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    <<...I'm looking for a parametric solid modeler...Any help in finding such a wonderful tool for tablets, would be much appreciated...>>

    @Marty : The best thing that I can recommend to you is to read the affordable CAD discussion thread (which I thought that you knew about?):

    http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/threads/affordable-3d-cad-application.62011/

    <<...Could you comment on how the TurboCAD UX is in this regard...>>

    The TurboCAD UI isn't really tablet friendly. On a 4k screen, the toolbars are tiny. I'm using TurboCAD because I "grew up" using traditional CAD UIs like Unigraphics and Catia. The only tablet-friendly CAD application that I have experience with is Moment of Inspiration, currently in Version 3. Here's what I wrote about it in December of last year (2018):
    • As for MoI 3.0, I confess that I'm a little conflicted about it. I originally bought it because the UI was (more or less) tailored for a tablet interface and in that regard, I think it is OK. However, the overall UI is just sufficiently different from a historical NCAD, Unigraphics or Catia UI so that I've never felt entirely comfortable with it; I keep having to look at the documentation. As a portable CAD, I'd still recommend it, but for desktop use, I've decided that I want a more traditional UI...
    • PS: MoI's strength is in solid modeling and I think it does that well. Coming from a (now ancient) wire frame to lofted (solid) surface background, I'm not as comfortable with solid modeling techniques as I would like to be. Part of this has to do with the complexity of the shapes that I'm trying to develop (think: streamlined shapes)
    Having said this, I still think that MoI is a worthwhile CAD app; it just wasn't quite what I wanted. Anyway, read (or re-read) the Affordable CAD thread; many potential options are listed there...
     
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  10. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Pen Pro - Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well, you know my general thoughts on old gear! -If it's the machine you love, then run it until it breaks down beyond reasonable repair. Then you can come up blinking in the F*U*T*U*R*E, like Rip Van Winkle. There are bound to be good options in the F*U*T*U*R*E.
     
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