HP quietly unveils the powerful ZBook x2 to rival Microsoft’s Surface Book 2

HP is looking to take on the newly revealed Microsoft Surface Book 2 with its ZBook x2, a 2-in-on hybrid with specs to rival the Redmond-based firm’s latest.

The ZBook x2 joins the Surface Book 2 and the refreshed Razer Blade Stealth in adopting Intel’s 8th-gen Coffee Lake CPUs, though it offers 7th-gen Kaby Lake configurations as well.

With a clock-speed running up to 4.2GHz and 32GB of RAM spread across two channels, a fully-loaded ZBook x2 should be a portable powerhouse, though that comes at the cost of weight. The ZBook z2 weighs a solid 1.7kg and is 15mm thick, with its angular and arguably bulky design aimed more at function over form when compared to the sleek aesthetics of the Surface Book 2.

HP’s latest hybrid can be had with 1TB of Z Turbo Drive PCIe SSD storage, which it says offers 4x the read/write speeds of normal SSDs. That’s not the only option though, as storage starts at 128GB of M.2 SATA SSD and goes up to 2TB of PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD.

Dedicated graphics cards are also on offer for the high-spec models courtesy of Nvidia’s Quadro M620 2GB professional-grade GPUs; two Thunderbolt 3 port can harness graphics power to allow the ZBook x2 to connect to a brace of 4K external displays.

Unlike the Surface Book 2, the HP ZBook x2 comes in just one screen size, with a 14-inch touchscreen IPS display sporting a 4K resolution. An optional 4K Dreamcolor 10-bit panel is available to improve RGB coverage. Connectivity options include an HDMI 1.4 port, USB 3.0 connector, and a full-sized SD card slot.

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Battery life is claimed to be up to 10 hours, but we’d expect that to drop with heavy use of a top-spec model; fast charging is on offer though to refill the battery to its half-way point in a mere 30 minutes, according to HP.

Designed for creative professional use, with a bundled Wacom EMR stylus and virtual shortcuts for Adobe software when in tablet mode, the ZBook x2 has a further three modes; laptop with the keyboard dock, detached with the keyboard connected via Bluetooth, and docked with the tablet connected to external displays and the keyboard used separately.

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Sadly, Brits after a powerful 2-in-1 workstation will have to wait or head over to the US, as there’s no word on when the ZBook x2 will arrive in Europe or how much it will cost. Due to ship in the States in December, the ZBook x2 will start at $1749, a good bit more expensive than the $1499 base-model of the Surface Book 2.

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