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Hands On With the HP Folio 13

  • Category: Notebook Computers
Date:11/16/2011

By Brian Westover

HP is getting into the ultrabook game with its own ultra-thin ultraportable, the HP Folio 13, and we got a chance to see it for ourselves.

The HP Folio is a strong addition to the growing ultrabook category with the light weight and long battery life of other ultrabooks. But HP is also attempting to bridge the gap between the personal and the professional with a business version of the Folio that boasts business-friendly features, like a TPM chip and three-year warranty.

The HP Folio 13 is a 3.3-pound ultrabook, meeting all of Intel's initial specs for the new category. It's light (3.3 pounds), it's thin (0.7 inch), and HP claims it will provide up to nine hours of battery life. If true, the Folio will provide the best battery life in the category—but we'll wait to test it ourselves before handing down that verdict. In addition to being light and thin, the Folio is also very sturdy, thanks to a metal frame, and brushed metal across the lid and palmrest. Intel's Rapid Start technology provides speedy boot and restart times, while a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD) provides storage on the go. The HP Folio 13 will be available with either Intel Core i3 or Core i5 low-voltage processors.

The HP Folio 13 also includes an array of ports, including an Ethernet port, both USB 2.0 and the faster USB 3.0, a full-size HDMI port, and an SD card reader. The 13.3-inch screen offers 1366-by-768 resolution, the same seen on the Toshiba Portege Z835-P330 and the Acer Aspire S3. Above the screen is an HP TrueVision HD webcam.

The Folio's chiclet-style keyboard has square tile keys, with a black finish. Like most ultrabooks, these keys are plastic, with square, isolated keys, and a fairly shallow key height. One of the unexpected features found on the Folio was a backlit keyboard. Thus far, the only other ultrabook to offer this has been the Toshiba Portege Z835-P330. The Folio has a glass-surfaced touchpad, using HP's proprietary ImagePad for multitouch support and a clickpad experience similar to that of the MacBook Air.

We didn't get to spend much time trying out the touchpad, but our past experiences with HP's ImagePad have been fairly good. The consumer model of the HP Folio 13 will be available Dec. 7, with a starting price of $899.99 for the Intel Core i3 configuration.

HP is also releasing a business oriented version of the Folio 13 in early January. In addition to the features found in the consumer model, the business version will also boast features like a TPM embedded security chip, Windows 7 Professional, and an optional three-year warranty with HP's Care Pack, which HP hopes will woo business users. A USB 2.0 docking station will also be available, with additional monitor and speaker outputs and greater network connectivity to provide a desktop-like experience. The business version of the HP Folio 13 is expected to be available Jan. 20, but pricing details are currently unavailable.


This article is in partnership with Ziff Davis Media.