HP Folio 13 review

7 Apr 2012

An affordable combination of Ultrabook luxury, great battery life and classy looks, with only a few compromises

Price when reviewed: 
799(£799 inc VAT)
5

After the glass splendour of its Envy Spectre 14, HP’s latest Ultrabook is a much more understated affair. The Folio 13 drops the screen size down to 13.3in, does away with the stylish sheets of Gorilla Glass, and slashes the price to a seriously tempting £799.

HP has got the look and feel of the Folio 13 just right. The brushed aluminium lid contrasts with the smooth, yet solid-feeling plastics moulded to the underside, and the chassis’ rounded, tapered edges make for a deliciously designed laptop. In fact, every inch of the Folio 13 exudes luxury – the build quality is excellent, without a hint of flex, and the combination of soft-touch plastics and cold metal feels gorgeous.

That pristine exterior hides a solid mid-range specification. The 1.6GHz Core i5-2467M processor is a familiar sight, as is the 4GB of DDR3 RAM, but we’re glad to see HP hasn’t scrimped on the solid-state storage – the Folio packs in a 128GB Samsung SSD. It perhaps isn’t the fastest SSD we’ve seen in an Ultrabook – sequential read and write speeds peaked at a modest 208MB/sec and 190MB/sec, about half that of the best we’ve seen – but it’s clearly fast enough, as proven by the Folio 13 racking up a solid 0.56 in our Real World Benchmarks.

HP Folio 13 - front

That performance doesn’t come at the expense of stamina, either. Our light-use battery test saw the Folio 13 last for a perfectly good 8hrs 12mins. Of the Ultrabook competition, only the Asus Zenbook UX31E can better that by a significant margin, with its time of 8hrs 53mins.

HP hasn’t skimped on the essentials. A single USB 3 port sits next to a full-sized HDMI output, a Gigabit Ethernet socket and an SD card reader, while another USB 2 port and a combined headphone/microphone socket are pushed to the right-hand edge. The presence of only single-band Wi-Fi is disappointing, but you do at least get Bluetooth 3. And unlike most of the more affordable Ultrabooks, HP has fitted a backlit keyboard – a genuinely useful addition.

It all makes for a laptop that’s a pleasure to use. The keyboard’s Scrabble-tile keys depress with a soft, cushioned stroke, and the large right-shift key and spacious layout make for fast, accurate touch-typing. The rubberised finish of the keys is worth a mention, too – in addition to feeling lovely under the finger, it also provides some welcome grip.

Details

Price ex VAT £666
Price inc VAT £799
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Performance 4

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 319 x 220 x 18mm (WDH)
Weight 1.500kg
Travelling weight 1.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-2467M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM65
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 0

Screen and video

Screen size 13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics 3000
Graphics card RAM N/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 128GB
Spindle speed N/A
Hard disk Samsung SSD
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 1
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 0
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader no
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 1.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 8hr 12min
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.56
Responsiveness score 0.79
Media score 0.55
Multitasking score 0.34

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition