More and more photographers use laptops to process their photos, but finding the ideal machine is tricky. It’s always a compromise between performance, build quality, size, screen, and so on—in my experience, no single machine can tick every check box. Could the new ZBook G3 workstation laptop meet all my needs?
Opening the lid gave me a great first impression. Few laptops have the right amount of resistance in the hinge—not too stiff or too loose, and the lid and body shouldn’t flex. The G3’s hinge is almost perfect, and although this sounds trivial, it’s an indication that HP have made the effort to perfect every detail of its latest laptop.
At around two kilograms and only 18 millimetres high, the G3 is also one of the most portable laptops in its class. It’s powered by an Intel i7 2.7GHz 6820HQ CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD drive.
The four options for the laptop’s 15.6-inch screen include one designed for pro photographers using HP’s DreamColor technology, which delivers excellent colour accuracy and 4K resolution, or 3840 by 2160 pixels on a 15-inch screen. With such high pixel density, photos look extremely sharp, and it also makes photo editing easier with plenty of screen space to display all the different Photoshop panels. Editing photos in Photoshop and Lightroom is effortless, and the laptop is really responsive.
But resolution isn’t everything. As well as great colour accuracy, the ZBook’s display also delivers very good contrast and brightness straight out of the box.
I would even go as far as to say that this is probably the best laptop screen I’ve ever used for photo editing work.
This was also partly due to its touchpad—I didn’t even think about plugging in an external mouse, and wasn’t just using the ZBook for web browsing or emails. I edited a whole set of photos from a recent session using Photoshop and Lightroom, which involve a lot of ‘mouse’ actions.
Last year, Bang & Olufsen became HP’s audio partner and the ZBook uses its HD audio. I had high expectations, but I wasn’t overly impressed with the integrated speakers. However, this isn’t a machine designed specifically for sound quality.
I also noticed that the top half of the laptop can get very hot under heavy use, although the metal chassis does a good job of dissipating heat, and as soon as I stopped heavy processing tasks, the temperature quickly dropped back to slightly above room temperature. A small price for having powerful technology in such a compact machine.
Overall, it’s hard not to like the new HP ZBook G3: it has excellent performance, appealing design, premium build quality—and that 4K screen.
See more at: hp.co.nz