[In-Depth Comparison] HP ZBook Studio G9 vs MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) – Alder Lake can make any laptop that much better

The Creator landscape has changed significantly in 2022, as more and more laptops adopt 16:10 displays and hardware gets more powerful. This makes it harder to stand out in the market, unless you’re ASUS and stack double displays and go all-out crazy.

Today, however, we have two Creator laptops that are ready to go head-to-head. One is from 2022, while the other is from last year, but that won’t stop it from showing off its greatness.

Starting off, we have the new HP ZBook Studio G9, which looks really good and has really powerful hardware, offering up to a Core i9 and a slew of RTX GPUs. On the other side, sits the MSI Creator Z16, which takes full advantage of the Tiger Lake H-series from last year, while offering more mid-range RTX GPUs. Both laptops have 16-inch displays with a 16:10 aspect ratio, however, the ZBook does bring OLED tech into the picture, which is pretty amazing.

Today we present you with an in-depth comparison between the HP ZBook Studio G9 and the MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux).

HP ZBook Studio G9: Full Specs / In-depth Review

MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux): Full Specs / In-depth Review

HP ZBook Studio G9 configurations:

MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) configurations:


Design and construction

The ZBook Studio G9 has a slim body, weighing only 1.78 kg and having a profile of 19.3 mm. However, it appears even thinner, due to the rounded edges and corners. The lid also has a Z-logo, while the aluminum on it can be felt. The base is a bit different, as it has some sort of coating that makes it soft to the touch or is made from a polymer mixed with glass fibers or carbon fibers, similar to what Lenovo does with many of its devices. Still, it remains durable, as both the lid and the base resist our attempts when we try to flex them. The lid is difficult to open, mainly because you have no grip, as there’s no notch to grab onto.

The MSI Creator Z16 uses an aluminum chassis that’s made using CNC milling, which means that the whole body is crafted from a single block of aluminum. In stark contrast, the edges are rounded, while the edges are quite sharp. There’s also a dent in the edge of the base, which allows the lid to be grabbed comfortably. The laptop is considerably heavier, reaching 2.30 kg on the scale while being more than 2 mm thinner. The lid has an MSI logo while being pretty resistant to flex.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

Keyboard and touchpad

The base of the ZBook has a fingerprint reader, and two large speaker grills on the left and right, while the keyboard in the middle sports large keycaps, except for the Up and Down arrow keys. There is a per-key RGB backlight available. The touchpad is large and uses glass for its cover, which means a smooth surface with accurate tracking.

The Creator Z16 has one large vent, used solely for cooling. The keyboard layout is very similar, albeit the Arrow keys are properly sized. The board doesn’t have the longest key travel, due to the slim profile, but the feedback is clicky, so typing is great. The touchpad here is covered in glass as well, albeit the size is noticeably smaller.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)


The HP laptop comes with a total of two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2), one USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, a 3.5 mm audio jack, and a MicroSD card slot.

The Creator Z16 also has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and one USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, but upgrades the Type-A port to a Gen. 2. A MicroSD card slot and an audio jack are still present.

Disassembly, and upgrade options

The ZBook uses a total of five Torx screws to hold the laptop together, with one of them behind the rubber foot that’s used for grip. Once opened, we see two SODIMM slots for DDR5 memory and one M.2 slot for PCIe Gen 4 SSDs.

As for the Creator Z16, you need to undo 6 Phillips-head screws, with this time two screws being behind the two back rubber feet. While the laptop does have two SODIMM slots for DDR4 memory and two M.2 PCIe SSD slots, they are on the other side of the motherboard, so you’d have to take out the battery and the whole board, in order to access them.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

Spec sheet

Display quality

Both laptops have 16-inch displays with a 16:10 aspect ratio. The ZBook Studio G9 has one FHD+ IPS option and one 4K UHD+ IPS option. It also offers an OLED panel with the same UHD+ resolution. As for the MSI device, there are two QHD+ IPS displays with either a 120Hz or a 165Hz refresh rate.

Our ZBook used the FHD+ IPS display, which has a pixel density of 141 PPI, a pitch of 0.18 x 0.18 mm, and a Retina distance of 61cm. On the Creator Z16, we had the 120Hz panel, which has a higher pixel density of 189 PPI, a lower pitch of 0.13 x 0.13 mm, and a Retina distance of 46 cm.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

The viewing angles are excellent, as you can see in the reference images below.

HP ZBook Studio G9

The HP device has higher max brightness and better uniformity, with 438 nits in the middle of the screen and 412 nits average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 11%. The contrast ratio is higher as well, at 1330:1.

The MSI Creator Z16’s upper right corner is a bit off, resulting in uneven brightness, which can affect how colors look. It reaches  350 nits in the middle of the screen and 331 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 9%. The contrast ratio measures at 960:1.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

Color coverage

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows the color coverage of both the HP ZBook Studio G9 and the MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux). The ZBook shows 99% sRGB coverage, while the Creator Z16 fully covers the sRGB and DCI-P3 gamuts. What is more, is that it also shows 92% AdobeRGB coverage.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

Color accuracy

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results in factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can check the results from the test of both laptops, with both the factory settings (left) and with our “Design and Gaming” profile applied (right).

Both laptops reach a dE value of <2, which is optimal for color accuracy. With that said, the Creator Z16 does have more accurate colors.

HP ZBook Studio G9

MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

The MSI Creator Z16 (11Ux)’s panel has a much faster response time, with a Fall + Rise time of 8.1 ms.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

Health impact – PWM / Blue light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Both laptops show no PWM usage across all brightness levels.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

HP ZBook Studio G9 16.0″ AUOAB9B (WUXGA, 1920 x 1200) IPS: Buy our profiles

MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) 16″ WQXGA IPS AUO B160QAN02.P (AUOBF99): Buy our profiles

Battery life

Despite offering a slightly smaller battery pack, the ZBook offers more than double the battery life. It lasts for 6 hours and 6 minutes more in Web browsing and 6 hours and 57 minutes more in video playback. These results were accomplished using the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.


The HP laptop is powered by the Alder Lake H-series, with a total of four processors to pick from, the Core i7-12700H, Core i7-12800H, Core i9-12900H, and Core i9-12900HK. For Graphics, there are both the RTX 30-series GPUs with up to an RTX 3080 Ti or the RTX A-series of workstation graphics, with up to the RTX A5500.

On the side of the Creator Z16, we have the Tiger lake H45 processors, with the Core i7-11800H and Core i9-11900H. On the GPU front, you can get two versions of the RTX 3060, with either a 65W or a 95W TGP.

CPU benchmarks

Here we tested the Core i7-12800H and the Core i7-11800H. The older 11th Gen CPU scores 55% higher in the Cinebench R20 3D Rendering benchmark, but still falters in Photoshop, as the i7-12800H is almost a second faster. In the newer Cinebench R23 test, the Alder Lake CPU scores a lot higher, with a lead of 46%.

Results are from the Cinebench R23 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)

Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)

Cinebench R23
HP ZBook Studio G9 16238 (+46%)
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) 11114

GPU benchmarks

Here we tested the RTX A3000 and the RTX 3060 with a 65W power limit. The workstation GPU is 12% quicker in 3DMark Fire Strike and has a 9% higher score in Unigine Superposition.

Results are from the 3DMark: Time Spy (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the 3DMark: Wild Life benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)

Gaming tests

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Very High (Check settings) Full HD, Ultra (Check settings)
HP ZBook Studio G9 – RTX A3000 97 fps (+11%) 85 fps (+15%) 57 fps (+16%)
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) – RTX 3060 (65W) 87 fps 74 fps 49 fps

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018) Full HD, Medium (Check settings) Full HD, High (Check settings) Full HD, Highest (Check settings)
HP ZBook Studio G9 – RTX A3000 112 fps (+29%) 85 fps (+15%) 71 fps (+25%)
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) – RTX 3060 (65W) 87 fps 74 fps 57 fps

Temperatures and comfort

The HP device uses a vapor chamber with two fans. As for its opponent, the MSI laptop comes with a more traditional setup, using four heat pipes. Two of them are shared between the CPU and GPU, with both of them getting one separate pipe as well. They connect to a total of four heat sinks and two fans.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)

Max CPU load

Intel Core i7-12800H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
HP ZBook Studio G9 3.15 GHz @ 2.72 GHz @ 83°C @ 88W 2.93 GHz @ 2.59 GHz @ 85°C @ 76W 2.69 GHz @ 2.42 GHz @ 78°C @ 62W

Considering the thin form factor, the Core i7 still manages to maintain a clock speed above the base one, while wattage is higher than the 45W base TDP.

Intel Core i7-11800H (45W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min Max Fans
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) 3.12 GHz (B+36%) @ 96°C @ 68W 3.03 GHz (B+32%) @ 95°C @ 62W 2.76 GHz (B+20%) @ 95°C @ 53W 2.90 GHz (B+26%) @ 95°C @ 59W

The Core i7-11800H runs hotter, while wattage and clock speeds are similar.

Real-life gaming

NVIDIA RTX A3000 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
HP ZBook Studio G9 1405 MHz @ 63°C @ 80W 1404 MHz @ 64°C @ 80W

The A3000 runs very cool, which makes us think that the cooling can take a lot more, but for some reason, HP isn’t pushing the limits.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 2 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (after 30 min) GPU frequency/ Core temp (Max Fan)
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) 1400 MHz @ 77°C @ 64W 1368 MHz @ 84°C @ 64W 1428 MHz @ 73°C @ 65W

The RTX 3060 maxes out its power limit, running at 1428 MHz, which is quite good, considering the low TGP.

Gaming comfort

The ZBook is noticeably cooled on the outside, with a base temperature of 39.6°C. Compare that to the 45°C of the MSI device and you’ll definitely feel the extra heat. In terms of noise levels, both laptops can get fairly loud, especially if you toggle the Cooler Boost setting.

HP ZBook Studio G9
MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)


Both the ZBook Studio G9 and the Creator Z16 are very good offerings for Creators, which deliver on both performance and portability. The HP laptop is around half a kilo lighter, however, it’s just as durable. However, we have to give props to MSI for the design of the Creator Z16, from the matte lid and base to the glossy sides. The MSI laptop gives you larger keycaps, however, the touchpad on the ZBook is noticeably larger. Both are covered in glass, which we appreciate.

I/O is pretty much the same on both laptops, however, upgradeability is better on the MSI laptop. While you have to take out the whole motherboard, you are rewarded an extra M.2 slot for it. The display on the MSI device also has much higher color coverage and better color accuracy out of the box. Its response time is quicker as well, which will be good when playing games.

The ZBook lasts for longer in our battery test, and the difference is quite large, with more than a 6-hour difference in both web browsing and video playback. In benchmarks, the two laptops trade blows, as the Creator Z16 is quicker in Cinebench R20, while the ZBook is faster in Cinebench R23. In GPU benchmarks and games, the RTX A3000 comes to be quicker than the 65W RTX 3060, but since there is a 95W option as well, the Creator Z16 is far from done.

Both laptops have decent cooling setups, which keep the CPUs on edge, going above the base TDPs, but the Core i7-11800H inside the MSI laptop runs noticeably hotter. Things on the outside sway in favor of HP, as the ZBook gets a 5°C colder hotspot. In the end, both devices perform well in certain areas, while we also feel like the ZBook can show us a lot more, as this is one of the most underperforming Alder Lake H-laptops that we’ve tested. A P-series chip might have been the answer here, as the Core i7-1280P is currently mopping the floor with the Ryzen 6000H series and the U-series.

Why choose the HP ZBook Studio G9?

  • Longer Battery life
  • More GPU performance
  • Way lighter chassis

Why choose the MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux)?

  • Much higher color coverage and better color accuracy
  • Faster response times
  • An extra M.2 slot for storage

HP ZBook Studio G9: Full Specs / In-depth Review

MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux): Full Specs / In-depth Review

All HP ZBook Studio G9 configurations:

All MSI Creator Z16 (A11Ux) configurations:

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments