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HP ZBook Studio G8 review

ZBook Studio G8 is the Wagyu of content creator mobile workstations. When in doubt, protein gets the work done, while fruit only offers a short-lived high

HP ZBook Studio G8 review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

A sleek, lightweight, powerful, top-five content creator mobile workstation, that can get pricey depending on the options you choose

For

  • Stunning 4K OLED display
  • Powerful overall and gaming performance
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Good audio

Against

  • Pricey
  • Can get hot
  • Poor battery life (on 4K OLED model)
HP Zbook Studio G8 specs

Price: $2,479 starting ($4,727 as reviewed)

CPU: Intel Core i9-11950H

GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 6GB vRAM

RAM: 32GB

Storage: 2TB SSD

Display: 15.6-inch, OLED 4K (3840 x 2160)

Battery: 4:56

Size: 14.13 x 10.08 x 0.64 inches

Weight: 3.3 pounds

This year’s HP ZBook Studio G8 holds on to the award-winning G7 series styling but bumps up the power to help content creators with their creative projects either in the studio or in the field. 

This salacious attention grabber comes with an 11th Gen Intel Core i9 processor, 32GB of RAM, 2TB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU that will more than handle all your Adobe Creative Suite power-hungry needs and then some.

HP ZBook Studio G8 pricing and configurations

Totally tricked out, the HP ZBook Studio G8 we received costs $4,727 and comes with an 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11950H CPU, an Nvidia Geforce RTX 3070 GPU with 6GB of VRAM, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB NVMe SSD, and a 15.6-inch OLED 4k multi-touch display. 

HP’s base version of the ZBook Studio G8 costs $2,479 and is loaded with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11800H CPU, Nvidia T1200 GPU with 4GB of vRAM, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB NVMe SSD, and a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS anti-glare display rated at 400 nits of brightness.

HP ZBook Studio G8 design

With an all-aluminum turbo silver chassis, the Studio G8’s lean, razor-sharp styling is the same as last year and just as pretty. Seriously, nobody gets tired of a Lamborghini, that’s what the ZBook Studio is, a powerful, elite sports car begging you to push it to its limits. When closed, the low profile helps you easily slip it into any backpack with room to spare.

HP ZBook Studio G8 review

(Image credit: Future)

 

On the back of the lid, sits the chromed-out Z logo that pops against the silver frame. There are chrome accents on all four sides of the lid edges as they meet with the bottom of the unit when closed.

HP ZBook Studio G8 review

(Image credit: Future)

 When opened, you come face to face with an RGB keyboard and spacious touchpad. To the right of the touchpad beneath the keyboard is the fingerprint scanner. Just above the keyboard, we find the grill that houses the Bang & Olufsen-tuned speakers. 

Let’s get into the numbers, HP’s ZenBook Studio G8 comes in at 13.9 x 9.2 x 0.7 inches and weighs 3.3 pounds, making it the lightest of the workstations in our test group. Asus’ ZenBook Pro Duo 15 is 2 whole pounds heavier at 5.3 pounds and measures 14.7 x 9.8 x 0.9 inches, but keep in mind it’s got two screens. The single-screened MSI Creator Z16 (14.1 x 10.1 x 0.6 inches) weighs in at 4.9 pounds. Closing out our group is the Dell XPS 15 OLED which weighs 4.3 pounds and measures 13.6 x 9.1 x 0.7 inches.

HP ZBook Studio G8 security and durability

HP’s ZBook Studio is secured by its fingerprint reader and Windows Hello-compatible webcam. Additional layers of security come from a whole host of features. This includes an embedded TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module) chip and HP’s BIOSphere Gen 6’s enhanced firmware protection from the moment you boot up. MS BitLocker protects against offline attacks and unauthorized access in case your laptop is stolen by fully encrypting your hard drive and Master Boot Record security makes sure the first section of your hard drive where the system boots from is secured and safe. HP Sure Click secures your computer by opening suspicious websites and documents in a micro virtual machine so the suspect files remain contained away from your system and personal files. Windows Defender offers antivirus and malware protection and HP Wolf Security is an extra layer of protection that reduces the addressable attack surface, enables remote recovery from firmware attacks and is self-healing, and a Nano Security lock slot gives you physical security for your laptop. 

Lastly, if it’s lost or stolen you’ll be able to find your ZBook thanks to built-in Tile integration which works whether the unit is on or off. 

This ZBook Studio G8 feels like a solid shield in the hand, lightweight but strong as it has survived tough MIL-STD 810G testing for reliability and durability. So don’t panic if it takes a few bumps, hits, or small spills.

HP ZBook Studio G8 ports

The ZBook Studio G8 doesn't have a ton of ports, but what it has will keep your workflow in motion. 

On the left, you’ll find a 3.5 combo headphone/mic jack, a USB-Type A port, and a Nano security lock slot.

HP ZBook Studio G8 review

(Image credit: Future)

On the right is an SD card reader, two USB-Type C ports, a Mini DisplayPort, and the AC power jack.

HP ZBook Studio G8 review

(Image credit: Future)

HP ZBook Studio G8 display

Bright and colorful, the HP ZBook Studio's 15.6-inch Gorilla Glass 6, multi-touch OLED 4K display produces sharp, vivid images and video. Whether I was editing photos, video, or playing WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship, everything was lusciously colored.

HP ZBook Studio G8 review

(Image credit: Future)

 

The powerfully colorful imagery of the Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora game trailer was hypnotizingly reproduced. The opening forest scene was like something you'd see on a National Geographic special. Watching a Na’vi leaping off a cliff to avoid a missile, I was transfixed by the orange and red explosion. The razor-sharp details of the alien planet’s flora were stunning and life-like as our Na’vi protagonist free falls only to be rescued by a beautiful flying creature.

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HP ZBook Studio G8 review

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We measured the Studio G8’s display with a colorimeter and it covered an impressive 142.5% of the DCI-P3 color gamut which blew past the premium laptop average of 84.4%. It came in as a close second to the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 which scored a ludicrous 143.8% followed by the MSI Z16’s 114.1% and the Dell XPS 15 OLED which reached 85%. 

During our brightness test, the ZBook Studio G8 scored an average brightness of 464 nits, which exceeds the premium laptop average of 384 nits. The ZenBook Pro Duo hit 422 nits, followed by the MSI Z16 with 401 nits, and the XPS 15 closed out the group with 398 nits of brightness.

HP ZBook Studio G8 audio

I listened to Jamie Foxx's "Blame it on the Alcohol" on the Bang and Olufsen-tuned speakers. I heard the poppy hip-hop dance flow of Jamie’s auto-tuned voice throughout my entire studio apartment by way of the pair of tweeters and woofers. There was some depth and bass separation from the mid and high tones. The music and vocals were all reproduced very cleanly. All I needed was a cocktail to get the party started. If you go into the HP audio control software, you can adjust the equalizer and add a little more low-end, just in case you’re a basshead like myself. 

To end my evening of audio enjoyment, I put on "Music For Brain Power" featuring Beethoven. The heavenly high notes of the violins with the slow-building crescendo of the bass strings, with the flowing harmonious flutes and oboes providing background as if angels were softly singing. 

I watched this week’s episode of What If? on Disney Plus, and the vocals were clear and discernable from across my studio. The sound effects from Captain Marvel and Thor battling it out across Earth were nicely reproduced and oftentimes hilarious. 

Although the audio experience on the HP ZBook Studio G8 is good for a laptop, and its dual-microphone array performed well during my morning meetings and test calls with my daughter. I suggest to all creators who take editing their audio seriously to purchase a good USB mic, computer speakers, or a pair of wireless headphones for the best sound quality.

HP ZBook Studio G8 keyboard and touchpad

The ZBook Studio G8 possesses one of my all-time favorite keyboards. The RGB-lit Chiclet-style keys are clicky and responsive with excellent key size and travel. Thanks to the Omen Gaming hub which is new to the Studio line, you can choose your keyboard color scheme or play around and create your own.

HP ZBook Studio G8 review

(Image credit: Future)

 

During the 10FastFingers.com test, my rock monster hands blazed at Flash-like speeds recording 96 words per minute with an astounding 94% accuracy, which is above my normal 80-to-85 WPM with 90% accuracy.

HP ZBook Studio G8 review

(Image credit: Future)

 

The G8’s touchpad measures 2.8 x 4.5 inches and is centered on the deck and quite ample. The chrome highlighted touchpad is very clicky, and responsive while using Windows 10 gestures, including two-finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom.

HP ZBook Studio G8 performance

An Intel Core i9-11950H CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD? These specs are what content creators are looking for in a mobile workstation and exactly what the ZBook Studio G8 is packing. 

I opened 51 tabs in Google Chrome with six playing YouTube videos simultaneously. Then I opened a Google Doc and started typing away while running Capture One to export some images. The ZBook Studio G8 treated me like Sharon Lopez at my first High School dance, ignoring my attempts to slow it down and get its attention. 

During the Geekbench 5.4 overall performance test, the ZBook Studio scored 9,034, which blew away the premium laptop average of 4,753. It was followed by the XPS 15 (7,477, Intel Core i7-11800H CPU). The MSI Creator Z16 came next (7,335 Intel Core i9-11900H CPU) with the ZenBook Pro Duo 15 (7,028, Intel Core i9-10980HK CPU) not too far behind.

On the Handbrake video transcoding test, the ZBook Studio G8 once again took the lead, taking 6 minutes and 33 seconds to convert 4K video to 1080p. It easily surpassed the 14:47 average as well as the Z16 (7:42), the XPS 15 (8:10), and the ZenBook Duo Pro (8:17). 

The ZBook Studio G8’ performed well on our file-transfer test by duplicating a 25GB multimedia file in 22.8 seconds at a rate of 1,175.81 megabytes per second, which incinerated the 1:24 category average. That was enough to breeze past the ZenBook Duo’s (1TB SSD) 950MBps and XPS 15’s (512GB SSD) 825.6MBps, but not the Creator Z16 (2TB SSD) with its 1,635.52MBps.

HP ZBook Studio G8 graphics

The HP ZBook Studio G8’s Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU with 6GB of VRAM is feisty. It never faltered or suffered any poor performance while editing videos with Adobe Premiere or DaVinci Resolve. When I shot photos tethered to it using Capture One, the lag between shots was minute as images transferred quickly to the display. 

With HP Omen software installed, an RGB keyboard, an Nvidia RTX GPU, and 32GB of RAM, it is armed and ready to play games and so I did. I wrecked cars in WRC 10 and assassinated enemies in Borderlands 2, which btw I finally finished. The 60Hz display kept up well averaging 60 frames per second during Borderlands 2 and WRC 10.

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We tested the GPU using Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (1080p) benchmark. The Studio G8 scored 79 fps in 1080p and 64 fps in 4K, easily defeating the 32-fps premium laptop average. It was enough to topple the XPS 15’s (Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050i) 67 fpsThat placed the G8 in second place behind the MSI Creator Z16’s 95.5 FPS score in 1080p, but not the Creator Z16’s (Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060).

During our synthetic 3DMark Fire Strike test, our ZBook Studio scored 16,629, which demolished the 5,683 category average followed by the ZenBook Pro Duo with 16,380. The MSI Z16 did well with a score of 15,528 with the XPS 15’s 8,433 closing out the results of this benchmark.

HP ZBook Studio G8 battery life

Like I’ve said many times, mobile workstations are power-thirsty beasts of burden and with all that power comes a mostly reasonable sacrifice of battery life. 

During the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the ZBook Studio G8 lasted 4 hours and 56 minutes, which is way shorter than the 10:23 premium laptop average. The XPS 15, Creator Z16, and ZenBook Pro Duo all had better times clocking in with times of 6:58, 6:27, and 5:01, respectively. It should be mentioned that the ZBook Studio G8 has fast charge capabilities and will reach a 50% charge in 30 minutes.

HP ZBook Studio G8 heat

HP’s VaporForce cooling system has been around for a bit now and the company keeps working to improve it. Keep in mind that the more powerful the specs, the hotter the system is going to run. I find it astounding they can find room inside this super-thin powerhouse for a cooling system of any kind.

During our heat test, which involves playing a 15-minute fullscreen, 1080p video, the underside measured a hot 112.6 degrees Fahrenheit, way over our 95-degree comfort threshold. The touchpad was much cooler at 82.4 degrees, with the temperature between the G and H keys reaching 98.8 degrees during testing. There were a few times during gaming or when transcoding videos from 6k to 4k that the fans got a little loud. But again, it’s the price you pay for the power you need to game and edit video.

HP ZBook Studio G8 webcam

HP’s 720p HD webcam is standard fare as far as laptops go. It’s not awful, but it’s not great either. The 720p HD camera produced color-accurate images of me, with spot-on skin tones in good lighting. Like most 720p HD cams, there is some visual distortion and a lack of sharpness in low-light situations. If you need a better-performing shooter, you should check out our best external webcams.

HP ZBook Studio G8 software and warranty

HP does a solid job of not overloading its systems with bloatware. HP has included some useful software to enhance your experience and protect your system. HP Client Security Manager, HP Audio Control, HP Sure Click Secure Browser The Omen Gaming Hub, and my all-time favorite HP Quick Drop which makes transferring files between your phone and laptop absolutely painless. 

The ZBook Studio G8 comes with standard Windows 10 bloatware, including Netflix and Xbox Game Bar, Skype, and the always abusive, needy Edge browser

The HP ZBook Studio G8 comes with a 3-year limited warranty. See how HP fared in our annual special reports, including Tech Support Showdown and Best and Worst Brands.

Bottom line

Love is a strong word I do not bandy about freely but, I am in serious like with the HP ZBook Studio G8. The $4,727 system is gorgeous, powerful, MIL-SPEC tough, and in my humble opinion is one of the best content creator laptops on the market. Oh, I forgot to mention, its OLED 4K touchscreen is bright, vivid and positively stunning.

However, for the price, I wish the battery lasted longer and it didn’t run as hot. If you’re looking for longer battery life and just a scooch more power, the $2,999 MSI Creator Z16 is an option that’s loads cheaper. However, if you’re on the hunt for a durable, portable powerhouse the HP ZBook Studio G8 is the way to go.

Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.