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HP EliteBook Folio G1 review - the Windows 10 Macbook replacement?

HP EliteBook Folio G1 side
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,378
inc VAT (as of 8th July)

A gorgeous Windows ultraportable with a 4K screen that's let down by terrible battery life and lacklustre performance

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At first glance, the EliteBook Folio G1 looks like a dream ultraportable. With its smooth aluminium chassis, soft curved edges and beautiful 4K display, it’s arguably the most luxurious Windows 10 device we’ve ever seen, leaving the Dell XPS 13, Huawei Matebook and even the Lenovo Yoga 900 looking positively antiquated by comparison.

You’ll pay a pretty price for it, of course, but when the 4K touchscreen model weighs just 1.07kg and the Full HD version tips the scales at just 970g, it doesn’t take long to realise that this is the 12in Macbook replacement you’ve waiting for.

HP’s build quality is absolutely stunning. Having been subjected to numerous military-grade endurance tests, the Elitebook Folio G1 is very much built to last, and it looks and feels more than capable of withstanding the elements.


HP EliteBook Folio G1 lid down

Display

HP continues to impress when you open the lid, too, as its 12.5in, 3,840x2,160 touchscreen is a real beauty, producing wonderfully rich and vivid colours at a brilliant peak brightness of 462cd/m2. It’s a first class display, and its high 98% sRGB colour gamut coverage and excellent contrast ratio of 1,341:1 only reinforces that fact.

It’s easily one of the better, if not the best, display I’ve seen on a Windows ultraportable, and it even surpasses the panel used on the XPS 13, which has the added benefit of Dell’s gorgeous InfinityEdge display bezels. Indeed, when you compare it to the display on the Macbook, the Elitebook Folio G1 storms ahead, as the screen used by Apple only covers a rather pitiful 70.2% of the sRGB colour gamut and has a contrast ratio of 683:1.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard is another highlight and is a real joy to use. HP has yet again produced one of the most tactile and responsive keyboards I’ve ever seen, with each of the slim keys providing buckets of travel - perhaps even more than what you’d expect from a Macbook. It’s a brilliant tool for handling lengthy typing sessions, and I didn’t have any qualms about the touchpad, either. Windows gestures worked brilliantly, and the option to disable the touchpad completely by double-tapping the top left corner is a very handy extra.

It’s not all sunshine and roses, though, as I did notice that thermal cooling was a bit of an issue here. When charging the battery, for instance, the right side of the keyboard become noticeably warm. It was never uncomfortable, but that’s the price you pay for such a slim design.


HP EliteBook Folio G1 front

Ports and connections

Another downside of its svelte dimensions is its lack of ports. At least it does one better than the Macbook and Huawei Matebook, though, as it comes with two Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB3.1 Type-C ports instead of just one. This means you have to keep it running on the mains while it’s connected to other devices, although you’ll obviously need to buy a USB-C dock if you want to connect it to older, legacy devices.