HP has a couple of new products to show at NAB that are relevant to digital film makers. The most significant one by far, is the new UHD Dreamcolor monitor, the Z32x. This product has been anticipated for years, and is still a few months away from being released to the public this summer, but we do have some specific details. It will be a 31.5″ panel with a 3840×2160 native resolution. It will support HDMI 2.0, as well as various Displayport and DVI options. It will also support quad panel HD for viewing 4 independent images from the various inputs simultaneously. The price has not been announced, but the HP Dreamcolor line has a history of offering high end displays at mid level prices. They aren’t low budget products, but they are much more reasonable than other options with similar features.
HP is also releasing a whole new series of monitors, with primary new feature being narrower bezels, for using multiple displays together with less dead space between them. I have always wondered why this took so long to implement, since I have been using multiple displays for 15 years, even as a low budget high school student. And laptop displays are proof that an LCD doesn’t require a huge amount of space around the edge of the screen, but desktop monitors still have huge cabinets around the edges. But now that that are finally dealing with that, I am way over it, because I have moved on to massive high resolution single screens, and the new Z32x continues that progression.
On the computing front, HP has released an update to their solid state offering, in the form of the Z Turbo Drive G2. It is supposed to be twice as fast, in the same PCIe x4 Gen3 formfactor, with the M.2 option for ZBook Workstations. Shipping in June, it is based on Samsung 951 NVMe technology, and there are 256GB and 512GB options, for the same prices as the previous models. It should be able to read data at over 2GB/s, and write at 75% of that speed. I think the Z Turbo Drive is great, especially in a notebook computer, but it is not as revolutionary as HP would have you think. M.2 drives are available in lots of high end laptops, my Aorus X3 Plus has two of them in it. What HP has done, is find the fastest possible permutation of M.2 and certified it with their fastest systems for professional work, which I think is great.
HP also released a new mobile workstation, borrowed from their gaming division, in the form of the OMEN Pro. It is a 15″ laptop with a touchscreen driven by a Quadro K1100M GPU. It is like a light version of the ZBook 15, with similar warranties and certifications, but not the same level of Milspec durability and thermal engineering. I don’t think we will see anyone standing on top of one during their presentation, like I saw with the ZBook launch. I am honestly not sure the advantages of the OMEN Pro, even though I am someone who uses a gaming laptop as my primary edit machine. Mine has far more power with a GeForce 870M, and while that is not a Quadro, it chews through anything I send its way. And mine is smaller and lighter than a ZBook, with similar power and features. So there is a gap in the ZBook lineup that could be filled by converting a gaming system for professional work, but that gap is at the smaller end, at or below 14″ where there are no other powerful options. I know it can be done, because I own one from another vendor. HP needs a ZBook 13 laptop with a Pro GPU and a ZTurbo drive, with no HDD or CD option to save size and weight. That will sell to power users on the move, who have large displays on their desks at home and the office, but need to have all their tools and data with them on the road. And it will be clearly differentiated from the existing ZBooks, which the OMEN Pro fails to do. But the higher end ZBook G2 notebooks continue to lead the industry in mobile capability, at a larger size and weight.