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Top 5 Uses for Workstation Laptops
December 31, 2018
Remember the days when you had to choose between portability and power? This is no longer an issue. With today’s powerful workstation laptops, you can create, share, game, and invent without trading in the convenience of a notebook.
If you’ve never considered the benefits of a fully equipped laptop, you are going to be truly delighted with these top ways to embrace the versatility of today’s modern mobile workstation.
What is a workstation laptop?
Before we get into the amazing capabilities of these tools, it’s important to clarify what qualifies as a true workstation laptop. While laptops of the past focused more on being light and offering impressive battery life, this meant that they usually lacked the more advanced processors and RAM needed for the most involved computing processes. They also got hot easily, and it was a challenge to cool down any portable machine that could handle multiple processes at once.
There has been a big turnaround in recent years, however, as the most recent laptops substantially advanced the computing game. You can get incredible processors, amazing memory, completely expandable storage, and display options like never before.
The only thing these new mobile workstations are lacking is a larger screen, but it’s easy to incorporate external PC monitors and accessories to turn your laptop into a work configuration nearly identical to those that desktops offer. In fact, some of the more advanced laptop workstations do more than a typical PC.
Top ways to use your workstation laptop
When battery life, portability, and efficiency are your top goals, a laptop delivers nicely. Let’s take a look at the most notable uses for these mobile workstations.
Photo professionals have unique needs. In addition to requiring computers with powerful processors that can meet the challenge of popular photo editing software, they need a true-to-life image of the projects they’re creating.
After a photo is taken, placed on the portable workstation, and loaded up in programs like Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, GIMP, or Corel, it’s essential that each pixel displays with the purest color and brightness possible. Editing photos takes a trained eye and the right tools, and a capable laptop can do this just as well as a desktop PC. What should photographers look for in workstation laptops?
The following traits are a must-have for anyone who wants to create a photographic masterpiece:
- A powerful processor that can handle the highest resolution and allows you to manipulate multi-layered photo files from several open applications
- Amazing storage capacity of up to 6TB
- A responsive touch screen that can react to your most intricate commands, as well as show off your work in 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD)
- Compatibility with external monitors, such as the HP DreamColor Display with 1 billion rich colors and a calibration sensor
- Integration with high-performing pen technology, such as the Wacom AES pen6, which comes with tilt, low latency, thousands of levels of pressure sensitivity, and customizable buttons
For these features and more, consider the HP ZBook Studio x360 mobile workstation. It’s a convertible, which makes it even easier to switch from pen to keyboard and back again. It’s also a fully-functional tablet, laptop, and PC in one device.
With so many of the current gaming events taking place all over the world, it’s not possible to stay tethered to a desktop PC. Most professional gamers prefer to take their gear with them and use their own gaming workstation laptops to compete.
These workstations are designed to keep cool when running for long periods of time while holding a battery charge for impressive lengths. The right gaming laptop can also accommodate the latest virtual reality gear and offers appropriate ports for all kinds of peripheral connections.
Here are the must-have perks of a reliable and portable gaming laptop workstation:
- Cutting-edge graphics that can fit inside a thinner laptop frame
- Stays cool and quiet, even after running for hours
- The latest generation of processors, such as the 8th Generation Intel® line
- Upgraded memory at a minimum of 16GB, and SSD storage options
- High-resolution displays, at a minimum of 1080p with a 144 Hz refresh rate (A 4K display is preferred for maximum clarity and realism)
- Ample ports for hooking up HDMI, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort, Ethernet, and more
- Compatibility with VR-ready products and gear
- Spill-resistant, full-size keyboard that can handle all of life’s accidents
For a gaming solution that doubles as a workstation, go with the pick that game creators and VR developers use to make the titles you love most; the HP ZBook 17-inch mobile workstation, the world's most powerful workstation.
3. Video and animation
Editing large video files used to require a stationary desktop with a loud fan and hot processor. Well, we’ve come a long way toward freedom of movement for directors, editors, and animators who need to work on set or take their projects out in the field.
Consider a portable workstation that can offer the following:
- Updated components that can edit and render the largest files without dragging the system, such as NVIDIA® Quadro® graphics and the latest Intel Core™ i9 processors
- Security features that keep your work and private data protected, including a one-push HP Sure View privacy screen and RAID backup storage functionality
- Incredible laptop display options, like the HP DreamColor Display that shows your video work in 600 nits of brightness with more than 1 billion colors and 100% Adobe RGB coverage
- Durable laptop body that can sustain the active lifestyle of the typical creator and offers the perks of both a fully-functioning tablet and a laptop keyboard
When you need powerful editing and rendering tools, nothing comes close to the HP ZBook Studio x360 G5 laptop workstation, which also has convertible body styling for ease of use.
4. 3D rendering
Make the things that bring dreams to life. 3D creators are in for a treat with the newest lines of workstations that can go wherever your latest project happens. Whether you work in the arts, the medical field, mechanical engineering, or you just love to create as a hobby, the right portable workstation can make worldwide travel and up-to-the-minute tech achievements possible.
Check out these must-have features of the best portable workstations for 3D pros:
- Easy access to inner compartments for quick upgrades to the processor, memory, and RAM so you can make changes to components as technology advances
- Compatibility with design and development through complex programs like Catia and Siemens NX
- Durability under the most stressful work conditions and backed by the rigorous military standard test most HP Z workstation products have easily surpassed
- Tools for working with groups of any size in any space, including the HP Collaboration Keyboard that lets you connect with teams worldwide
While many of the HP Z products are made to work with top 3D rendering tools, the HP ZBook 15-inch workstation laptop is a solid choice. If you’re looking for a bit more power, upgrade to the HP ZBook 17-inch workstation laptop, considered the world’s most powerful mobile workstation based on maximum processor, graphics, memory, and power supply available for the model today.
Students live busy lives. When they’re not studying, they’re hanging out on social media, watching movies, and video chatting with family back home. That’s why the best laptop workstations can handle the varied tasks that college kids will do an any given day, such as research, calculations, and project creation. Because space is an issue, it’s also desirable to have a laptop that can double as a tablet. Convertible models are ideal for giving today’s student the best of both worlds.
Here is what to look for in a workstation for students:
- Windows-based software suite included, along with the top apps for productivity, creating, and social media
- Convertible styling, so that it can be used as a tablet with a pen and drawing tools, and as a notebook with a full-sized keyboard for endless writing sessions
- Brilliant graphics for displaying entertainment and video-chats with friends
- Freedom-focused battery life, up to 11 hours for the full college day
- Durability so that it can take all the bumps that active campus life throws at it
- Sleek and modern design
Because it’s no longer acceptable to take along a handful of gadgets, products like the reliable and innovative HP Pavilion x360 convertible laptop have become popular with the college crowd. Use it in laptop, tablet, tent, or stand mode for comfortable computing in and out of the classroom.
While there are popular choices among photographers, gamers, and students, it’s OK to look outside these common picks to suit your unique needs. The suggestions above are generally suited for each group, but you may want some extra features. In addition to picking your portable workstation based on usage type, you may want to explore how the following will add to your computing experience.
How long of a charge do you need? Remember that more involved tasks, such as rendering, will drain a battery faster than casual web browsing and checking email. If a laptop suggests that it can provide power for up to 11 hours, for example, check to see if that’s for video playback or another comparable activity to what you’ll use it for in a typical workday.
Fast charging has its advantages. If you are out on the road and need to re-up your battery quickly, does your laptop give you the option to use a specially designed power cord to get 50% of power in 30 minutes or less? It should. Many HP laptops have fast-charging features to get you from dead to working again in under an hour.
Yes, it matters. If you plan to haul your laptop across the country or world, you need to know if it will conveniently fit inside a laptop backpack of your choice. Will the screen size be too large for use behind a reclined seat back? This is where it may be useful to consider convertible options, such as the HP x360, which converts to a tablet for more streamlined space requirements.
There is also a solid advantage to the HP ZBook x2 laptop workstation models, which offer a tablet and detachable keyboard configuration for an even slimmer profile than a traditional laptop or notebook.
Creatives use a lot of gadgets, and while Bluetooth and advanced WiFi tech are making the dongle obsolete, you’ll still need to connect for data transfers, 3D printing, and some types of secure networking. Ensure your laptop has all of the ports you need for HDMI, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3.0 port, as well as common display connectors.
While most tech has evolved to give you various adapters for all connection types, it’s best to be able to plug in directly without additional hardware to keep data quality at its peak.
Most of today’s HP mobile workstations come standard with the Pro version of Windows 10, but it’s wise to make sure your model can also be purchased with a creative bundle that fits your work life. Buying your software pre-installed saves on hassle down the road, and it can often be more affordable. Check to see if accessories can be thrown in, as well.
The right choice for all your passions
When deciding on the best workstation laptop, ask yourself how you’ll use it for the majority of your day. While many of the models geared toward photographers can also make for amazing gameplay, knowing which activity you’ll do most is essential.
With today’s HP workstation laptop designed to be expanded, upgraded, and decked out with the most innovative accessories, it’s more than possible to buy the model equipped for your everyday life and use it in ever-expanding ways as you pick up new interests and creative pursuits.
You no longer need to have a separate model for each compartment of your life; HP workstation laptops really can do it all.
- Best HP Computers for Animation
- Best HP Laptops for Video Editing
- Best HP Laptops for Photo Editing
- HP Workstations Complete Review
- 5 Best HP Laptops for Graphic Design
- HP ZBook Studio Workstations Complete Review
About the Author: Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.