HP Folio 13 review
An affordable combination of Ultrabook luxury, great battery life and classy looks, with only a few compromises
Review Date: 7 Apr 2012
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £666 (£799 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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.
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.
mindblowingly mediocre surely? I'm increasingly concluding that display is everything. That's Apple's secret.
By gavmeister on 7 Apr 2012
I fully agree, but other manufacturers offer good displays. Sadly either not in the UK, or only in conjunction with a £1000 plus price tag. As I always say, visit Dell's US site to see what we are missing out on.
By tirons1 on 7 Apr 2012
wow awesome the 13 in its great
By mira548 on 10 Apr 2012
Folio 13 now good value
Hi ... bought folio13 early June for £630 PCWorld and really pleased with it ... review is accurate: keyboard is standout feature, screen average but no worse than any other in £600-£800 class, trackpad is fine ... takes a little getting use to, multi-fingure gesture does work and always option for bluetooth mouse. Price with PCWorld now sub £600 with their 10% discount offer. A well made, attractive, good performing ultra-portable/book that trades best in class looks & ~200g for great price making it best overall value IMHO ... I checked and tested the current range of suspects.
By Dabbler on 16 Jun 2012
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