HP ZBook Studio G9 review: A premium mobile workstation with multiple graphics options

Benefits

  • 16-inch 16:10 screen, up to 4K OLED
  • Multiple configuration options
  • Good selection of ports
  • Good speakers

HP’s ZBook Studio G9 is not a laptop for the generalist user. With a US starting price of around $2,500, it includes up to a 12th generation Intel Core i9 H-series processor, a 4K 16-inch display, up to 4TB of SSD storage and advanced discrete Nvidia graphics. With all this packed into a reasonably portable form factor and good battery life, is the ZBook Studio G9 the ideal companion for creative users?

Outwardly, the HP ZBook Studio G9 looks fairly standard, although the large “Z” mark on the lid is now something unfortunate. It’s a bulky and relatively heavy laptop that measures 35.6cm wide by 24.2cm deep and 1.9cm thick and weighs at least 1.73kg. Users should expect plenty of protection for the expensive insides of a laptop like this, so it’s no surprise to see MIL STD 810H certification.

HP ZBook Studio G9

Images: HP

The 16-inch screen sits in small frames all around. The screen has an aspect ratio of 16:10, and our calculation shows that screen-to-body ratio of 86%. There are several choices, with my review sample having the entry-level WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) non-touch IPS option. There are two variants with this resolution, one maxing out at 400 nits, the other going up to 1000 nits and including HP’s Certainly View Reflection privacy screen. My review unit was the former so I wasn’t able to test the privacy screen.

The 4K WQUXGA (3840 x 2400) options will suit creative users better. It offers a 120Hz IPS HP DreamColor screen with 500 nits brightness and 100% DCI-P3 color gamut coverage, or an OLED touch screen with 400 nits brightness, Gorilla Glass 5 protection and 100% DCI-P3 coverage.

No matter which screen you choose, the webcam is a 720p device. It’s a disappointment in a high-end laptop, and while there’s IR support, it enables it Windows Hello facial authenticationwe also prefer 1080p resolution.

A good audio subsystem is an increasingly important requirement for laptops of all types, and the ZBook Studio G9 does not disappoint. There are wide grilles on either side of the keyboard through which the Bang & Olufsen speakers – a quad array consisting of two tweeters and two woofers – deliver sound. There are additional narrow grilles on the underside for the woofers. The sound quality is reasonably rich without distortion at maximum volume, which is quite loud. There is enough bass for rock music to be enjoyable, and a good mix of tones for classical and chamber music. Spoken words were also crisp and clear.

HP ZBook Studio G9: keyboard

Our review unit had HP’s Premium Quiet Keyboard, which is spill-resistant, full-sized, and backlit.

Photo: Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

The keyboard consists of large QWERTY keys and a row of large function keys. The key action is light, with little resistance on the downstroke and plenty of bounce. Typing creates a lot of “click-click” noise that can be distracting to others nearby. While it provides a comfortable enough typing experience, this isn’t the most rewarding keyboard I’ve used. That said, keyboard settings vary, so this is just a personal opinion.

The clickpad is large, with a glass surface that is smooth to the touch and sensitive to gestures. There is a fingerprint sensor in the palm rest, below the keyboard on the right side. Many laptop manufacturers integrate the fingerprint sensor into a power button on the keyboard, so it’s strange to see a discrete sensor here – especially as the power button is part of the Fn row. That said, HP’s arrangement is perfectly functional.

There are plenty of configuration options available in the US. Processors include Intel Core i7-12700H, Core i7-12800H, Core i9-12900H and Core i9-12900HP. RAM is available in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB, and SSD storage in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB. And as you’d expect with a mobile workstation, there’s a (very) good selection of discrete GPUs, ranging from Nvidia: RTX A1000 (4GB), RTX A2000 (8GB), RTX A3000 (12GB), RTX A4500 (16GB), RTX 5500 (16GB), GeForce RTX 3060 (6GB), GeForce RTX 3070 Ti (8GB), GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (16GB).

My review unit had a Core i7-12700H processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia RTX A1000 GPU with 4GB of dedicated video memory. It turned in Geekbench 5 CPU benchmarks of 1715 (single core) and 10746 (multi core), while the Geekbench 5 Compute GPU benchmark was 48784. For comparison, a high-end Core i9-13900K processor gets around 3000 (single core) and around (23000) multi-core), while a high-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti GPU tops Geekbench 5 OpenCL benchmark chart with 229738 at the time of writing.

HP ZBook Studio G9: ports

Left side (top): power in, 2x Thunderbolt 4, 3.5 mm audio in/out. Right side (above): Micro SD card reader, USB-C, USB-A, lock slot.

Photos: Sandra Vogel/ZDNET

There’s a good range of ports and connectors, including a MicroSD card slot, USB-C port and USB-A ports, a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5mm headset jack and a pound-pin power connector. The presence of the latter means that three USB-C ports are always available, two of which are Thunderbolt 4. If you need HDMI or wired Ethernet, you need an external Docking station or hub.

The HP ZBook Studio G9 has an 86Wh battery. This lost 30% from a full charge during a three-hour work session during which I typed into web apps, browsed and streamed various media. This suggests a total battery life of around 10 hours with moderate workloads for our Core i7/Nvidia RTX A1000 review unit. I let the battery go down to 21% and then started charging it; after a 45-minute period of mains power, the battery had risen to 74%.

Based on this real-world experience, I would expect a full day’s work to be possible on the battery. However, emergency charging may require some patience.

Conclusions

HP’s ZBook Studio G9 is a well-built and configurable 16-inch mobile workstation, although venturing into the upper range of the many options available can be expensive.

The audio subsystem and range of ports are impressive, but the 720p webcam is disappointing. Battery life is good for a powerful laptop, although our review unit was by no means a high-end configuration.


HP ZBook Studio G9 Specifications

Olympics Windows 11 (Home, Pro), Windows 10 Pro, Ubuntu 20.04, FreeDOS 3.0
Processor Intel Core i7-12800H, Core i9-12900H
Graphics integrated: Intel Iris Xᵉ Graphics • discrete: Nvidia RTX A1000 (4GB GDDR6); GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU (6GB); GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU (8GB); GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Laptop GPU (16GB); RTX A4500 Laptop GPU (16GB); RTX A5500 Laptop GPU (12GB)
Ram up to 64 GB DDR5-4800
– Memorial sites 2x SODIMM
Storage 256GB-4TB PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe M.2 SSD • up to 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SED SSD
Show 16″ WUXGA (1920 x 1200), IPS, anti-glare, 1000 nits, 72% NTSC, HP Sure View Reflect integrated privacy display • 16″ WUXGA (1920 x 1200), IPS, narrow bezel, anti-glare, Low Blue Light, 400 nits, low power, 100% sRGB • 16″ 4K WQUXGA (3840 x 2400), 120Hz, IPS, anti-glare, 500 nits, 100% DCI-P3, HP DreamColor • 16″ 4K WQUXGA ), OLED, multitouch-enabled, UWVA, BrightView, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, Low Blue Light, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3
Ports left side: power connector, 3.5 mm headphone/microphone combination, 2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4 (40 Gbps, USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4, HP Sleep and Charge) • right side: USB-A (5 Gbps, charging), USB -C (10 Gbps, USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4)
Slots MicroSD card reader
WiFi Wi-Fi 6E (2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz 802.11ax)
Blue tooth 5.2
Input HP Premium Quiet Keyboard (spill-proof, full-size backlit keyboard with drain and DuraKeys) • HP RGB Keyboard (full-size RGB backlit keyboard, per key) • HP RGB Z Command Keyboard (spill-proof, full-size, backlit keyboard with drain and DuraKeys) • Click pad with image sensor, supports multi-touch gestures and pressure
Audio Sound by Bang & Olufsen, four-speaker sound (2x tweeters, 2x woofers), dual-array digital microphones, volume up/down function keys, combined microphone/headphone jack
Camera 720p IR web cam
software Bing Search for IE11, Buy Office, HP Hotkey Support, HP Noise Cancellation Software, HP Performance Advisor, HP Support Assistant, Native Miracast support, HP Connection Optimizer, HP Privacy Settings, HP QuickDrop, Data Science Stack, HP Easy Clean, HP PC Hardware Diagnostics, HP ZCentral Remote Boost 2020 Software for Z Workstation, Tile Application, Windows 10 Cloud Recovery Client, 1 Month Adobe Free Trial Offer, HP Z Light Space, HP Camera & Super Resolution Software
security Absolute Persistence Module, HP Device Access Manager, HP Power On Authentication, Trusted Platform Module TPM 2.0 Embedded Security Chip, Master Boot Record Security, Pre-boot Authentication, Windows Defender, HP Manageability Integration Kit, HP BIOSphere Gen6, HP Sure Start Gen6 , HP Sure Admin, HP Image Assistant, HP Tamper Lock, MS Bitlocker Encryption, Nano Security Lock Slot, HP Client Security Manager Gen7, HP Privacy Key
fingerprint reader yes
Management functions HP Power Manager
Battery capacity 86Wh
AC adapter HP Slim Smart 150W • HP Slim Smart 200W
Battery charging time ~50% in 30 minutes
Measure non-touch: 35.6 cm x 24.2 cm x 1.9 cm (14.02 in x 9.54 in x 0.76 in) • touch: 35.6 cm x 24.2 cm x 1.8 cm ( 14.02 inches x 9.54 inches x 0.72 inches)
Weight from 1.73 kg (3.81 lbs)
Award from $2,853.20

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