HP refreshes EliteBook and workstation portfolios

HP Elite x2 G4 in leather

Today, in conjunction with the Computex event in Taiwan, HP announced a broad refresh of  both its commercial and consumer PC lines. On the commercial front, no brand new products were announced, but new versions of three EliteBooks were announced: the HP Elite x2 G4, HP EliteBook x360 1030 G4, and HP EliteBook x360 1040 G6. Next generations of both mobile and tower workstations were also announced, as well as their wearable VR Backpack PC. Finally, while HP announced their Sure Sense malware blocking technology last month, today they made public the cybersecurity vendor whose technology is used in their products.

“In the personal systems space in particular, but in HP in general, we are very much focused on transforming experiences,” said Mike Nash, Chief Technologist and VP, Customer Experience and Portfolio Strategy, Personal Systems at HP. “We have moved very much past a world of technology itself  to focus on transforming experiences, to how our customers use our products in their lives. These are products which we had versions of before, but we looked at customer feedback, understood how our products were being used, and enhanced those products to address the customer needs even more precisely.” The goal, he stressed, was to provide customers with a single product that could be used effectively both for work and play.

“With our commercial notebooks, we have turned our attention back to premium,” said Alex Thatcher, Director New Product Introduction at HP. There are three new mobile products, including a new detachable. These products are aimed at executives and people commonly associated with their companies, including high-performance salespeople.

The Elitebook 1000 series was where Thatcher said HP brings its most innovative designs and its most premium experiences, and three refreshed models were announced.

“The HP Elite x2 G4 is the world’s smallest business detachable, and now also the world’s most private,” Thatcher said. The latter capability comes from a a new privacy screen and an integrated dual camera privacy shutter, both of which he said are firsts for any business detachable.

“The dimensions of the side bezels have been reduced by over 50 per cent, to make the machine 51 per cent thinner,” Thatcher noted. A leather folio option – real leather – has also been added, as well as aluminum.

“The writing experience has also been improved,” Thatcher said. He said that the HP Rechargeable Active Pen G3 now feels more like real ink than ever before because they have engineered the lowest starting pressure ever in a PC active pen. He also noted that a charge now lasts a week.

Many enhancements cut across all the new EliteBooks. They have all been upgraded from Cat9 to Cat 16 4G LTE connectivity, which, combined with an antenna upgrade, makes them 122 per cent faster than before, Thatcher said. They all now have WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5. All these notebooks also benefit from enhanced screen brightness, moving from 700 nits to the option of 1000 nits. Thatcher also revealed that Deep Instinct ,which applies artificial deep neural network learning to cybersecurity, is the OEMd technology under the hood of HP’s recently announced new Sure Sense anti-malware technology. It is also now downloadable for EliteBook models that were upgraded before it was announced last month.

HP EliteBook x360 1040 G6

The HP EliteBook x360 1030 G4 is the world’s smallest and lightest business convertible. It benefits from the connectivity, brightness and security enhancements.

“The EliteBook x360 1040 G6 is what we refer to internally as the Premium Workhorse,” Thatcher said. He said that it has had a huge enhancement with 24 hour battery life.”

“While we have made some electrical refinements, the thing that is a real gamechanger on this is the introduction of a 1-watt panel, which increases battery life by over 41 per cent.”

He said the keyboard has also been massively improved, to make it half as loud as before. This model also has an outdoor viewable screen option, with the anti-glare capability coming from an acid etched screen which will be highly durable.

“We are also reinventing a new category with the HP Mini-In-One as we enter the modular all in one space,” Thatcher said. The HP Mini-In-One 24’s display fully encloses, secures, and powers a 65W ultra small form factor PC.

Also announced were HP EliteDisplay E223d and HP EliteDisplay E273d docking monitors to deliver video, data, and power over a single USB-C cable. The HP USB-C Dock G5 and the HP USB-C/A Universal Dock G2 also offer enhanced system network manageability for PCs in any power state.

HP also announced new mobile workstation products designed to offer performance that had previously only been available in desktops.

“ZBooks are all about freedom and power combined,” said Anu Herranen, HP’s Global Head of New Product Introductions for Z by HP and VR. “We want to free creators from the constraints of the office. These ultra-performance ZBooks are designed for those seeking the performance of a desktop but the freedom of a laptop.”

The next generation HP ZBook 15 G6 and HP ZBook 17 G6 offer the choice of 9th Gen Intel Core and Intel Xeon processors, and next-gen NVIDIA Quadro RTX graphics, and provide tool-less expandability to upgrade memory and storage in seconds.

“Users can render the most demanding performance, or render VR or do data science,” Herranen said.

HP Z2 Small Form Factor G4

HP also announced new versions of its entry workstations, the HP Z1 Entry Tower G5, HP Z2 Mini G4, HP Z2 Small Form Factor G4, and HP Z2 Tower G4. The new HP Z2 Tower, the top of the entry workstation line, has been redesigned to provide two times the graphics power, and 41 per cent more processing power than the previous generation.

“These are designed for the writing creative class,” Herranen stated. “They provide high-end processing power but, on a budget.” She noted that they address use cases that were not previously supported on entry-level workstations like photo-realistic models or real time ability to use a broader portfolio of design applications.

“The price point makes these more accessible to broader audiences than ever before,” she said.

The Z2 tower now supports twice the graphics performance of prior generation – up to P6000.

“It can actually crush demanding multi-threaded workflows,” Herranen said. “We designed our proprietary motherboards to unlock an 8 per cent boost as part of a 41 per cent total boost over the previous generation.”

Finally, to give creators new ways to leverage virtual reality [VR] in their workflows, HP announced the new HP VR Backpack, a new version of their wearable PC which it terms the ultimate machine for both VR creation and consumption.

“A little over two years ago, HP started its journey into the world of VR,” Herranen stated. “One foundational aspect of HP has been its ability to forge partnerships and alliances to be able to package turnkey solutions, and that is exactly what we did in VR.”

HP VR Backpack

That portfolio is now being augmented with what she called the world’s most powerful wearable PC, which has the capabilities of a compact commercial VR-ready desktop in a design that provides a free-roam tetherless experience for the needs of multi-user entertainment venues, architectural walk-throughs, and design simulations.

“It is now specifically designed to tackle VR engines including Unreal and Unity,” Herranen said. “It has nearly a 30 per cent performance improvement and 25 per cent more powerful graphics from the previous generation, and better battery location, and better detachable and washable parts.” It is powered by 8th Gen Intel Core i7 and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080.

The HP Elite x2 G4 is expected to be available in August for a starting price of $USD 1,499. The HP EliteBook x360 1030 G4 is expected to be available in July for a starting price of $USD 1,449. The HP EliteBook x360 1040 G6 is expected to be available in July for a starting price of $USD 1,499.      The HP EliteDesk 800 G5 Desktop Mini is expected to be available in July for a starting price of $USD 924. The HP Active Pen G3 is expected to be available later this summer for a starting price of $USD 99.

The HP EliteDisplay E223d Docking Monitor is expected to be available in June for a starting price of $USD 279.99. The HP EliteDisplay E273d Docking Monitor is expected to be available in July for a starting price of $USD 409.

The HP Mini-In-One 24 Display is expected to be available in August at starting price of $USD 279.

The HP USB-C Dock G5 is expected to be available later this summer for a starting price of $USD 209. The HP USB-C/A Universal Dock G2 is expected to be available later this summer for a starting price of $USD 279.

The HP VR Backpack is expected to be available this summer for a starting price of $USD 3,299.

Prices for the new workstations are not yet available. The HP ZBook Mobile Workstations and the HP Z1 Desktop Entry Tower are expected to be available in July. The HP Z2 Desktop portfolio is expected to be available in August.