HP Folio 13 review
There might only be a few Ultrabooks currently available, but HP has already launched its second Ultrabook-certified model. Unlike the consumer-oriented HP Envy 14 Spectre, the feature-packed Folio 13 is aimed at business users, but that shouldn’t put you off – it’s one of the better Ultrabooks we've seen.
The clean design might use copious amounts of brushed aluminium, but it still stands out compared to the MacBook Air 13in clones we’ve seen from other manufacturers. The black keyboard tray and touchpad contrast nicely with the silver finish, and although the chassis is rather angular, it’s still an incredibly compact 18mm thick. Despite its size, HP has still managed to squeeze in a full-size Ethernet port, as well as two USB ports, a multi-format card reader and an HDMI output. One of the USB ports is a USB3 model.
A low-voltage Intel Core i5-2467m processor provides ample performance, even at a low clock speed of just 1.6GHz. Using Turbo Boost it can reach 2.3GHz, but only when in a certain thermal range. It managed an overall score of 36 in our multimedia benchmarks, which is about right for an i5-powered Ultrabook. You should have no trouble running everyday applications with some intensive work thrown in. A 128GB SSD also makes file transfers and start up times incredibly quick, and helps make Windows feel very responsive.
Intel’s processor also provides graphics power using the integrated HD 3000 GPU. It’s well equipped to play high definition video, at 720p on the laptop or 1080p on an external display, but it struggles with modern games. Our Dirt 3 test chugged along at 13.5fps, proving you’ll need to turn down the detail settings to sub-console levels to get a playable frame rate.
The saving grace of integrated graphics is the relatively low impact it has on battery life. In our light use test, the Folio 13 managed to last a very impressive nine and a half hours away from the mains. As long as you stick to light tasks, you shouldn’t have to take a power adaptor with you to get a full day’s work done.
Frequent flyers should appreciate the laptop's backlit keyboard – we had no trouble typing in the dark, so there’s no reason to stop working when the cabin lights are dimmed. The keyboard itself is comfortable to use, thanks to a full-size layout and responsive, springy keys. The touchpad is also surprisingly good, considering it uses an all-in-one design that doesn’t feel as natural as having physical buttons.
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