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HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1

  • Category: Notebook Computers
  • Review Date: 7/29/2014
  • Bottom line: The rugged HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 ultrabook is equipped with a touch screen and trades physical connectivity for a slim and portable chassis. It's a good choice for a business that needs to buy new PCs for an entire staff.
  • Pros: Slim form factor. MIL-SPEC 810G rating. Touch screen. 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
  • Cons: VGA and Ethernet connectivity is via dongle. Sealed battery. ForcePad is novel, but requires learning new touch gestures.
Editor Rating: 4.00

By Joel Santo Domingo

HP's EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 (G4U67UT) ultrabook is the follow-up to the similarly named EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 we tested earlier this year. Priced at $1,719 (as tested), the new model downgrades some features for a lower price, but adds a very desirable touch screen.

Design and Features
The previous iteration is a powerhouse system shoehorned into a thin and light chassis. The new model shares its dimensions (0.63 by 13.5 by 9.25 inches, HWD), and is made from the same aluminum and magnesium alloy construction. Weight is up to 3.65 pounds, but you won't notice the extra few ounces in a travel bag. The new system also passes MIL-STD-801G testing for vibration, dust intrusion, and weather conditions like humidity, temperature, and altitude.

The new EliteBook Folio is a good rival for our current Editors' Choice business ultrabook, the Dell Latitude E7440 Touch. The Dell E7440 is a more traditional laptop, with dual pointing devices and a plethora of ports, while the new EliteBook Folio G1 is more of a slim-bodied, forward-looking laptop. Its ForcePad touchpad has no moving parts, not even a spring-loaded click mechanism to give you physical feedback when you press the mouse buttons. It's a little disconcerting, but when you become familiar with its operation, you'll be rewarded with new multitouch gestures for navigating, like scrolling that speeds up or slows down, depending on how much pressure you exert. You can also connect a mouse to the laptop, or use the 10-point touch screen for navigation.

The 14-inch LED-backlit display has a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution. It instantly picks up touch gestures like swipes and taps, and it works well with Windows 8.1 Pro. Screen quality is more than adequate for the majority of office tasks, like spreadsheet number crunching and word processing.

The system has fewer ports than the Dell E7440 and the Toshiba Portege R30-A1302. You only get a DisplayPort, a microSD slot, a smart card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, and an NFC reader under the palm rest. The laptop's docking port can be used with the included Ethernet/VGA dongle, but you'll likely rely on its 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 combo for wireless connectivity.

The battery is sealed away, like on the Toshiba Kirabook 13 i7S Touch and most other consumer-oriented ultrabooks. Businesses that share PCs or move them from employee to employee will probably be better served by systems with removable batteries, like the Dell Latitude E7440 and Toshiba R30-A1302, since receiving a hand-me-down laptop with an overused battery is never ideal. At least the warranty covers the laptop and battery for three years.

HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 (G4U67UT)

Performance
Our review unit is equipped with an Intel Core i5-4300U processor with Intel HD 4400 graphics, 4GB of memory, and a 180GB solid-state drive (SSD). Together, they helped the system earn 2,775 points the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test, which measures the system while it surfs the Web and performs office tasks like word processing, editing spreadsheets, and video conferencing. It's a better score than the 2,581 points the Core i7-powered Toshiba Kirabook achieved on the same test. This is likely because the Toshiba Kirabook has a higher-resolution screen that takes more time to display each test scenario.

Multimedia scores were good, but not great: 4 minutes on the Handbrake test and 5:23 on Adobe Photoshop CS6. The Toshiba Kirabook shaved a minute off the Photoshop score and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 completed the Handbrake test in less than three minutes. Still, the EliteBook is a good performer, and should feel speedy enough for most users for the next four years or so.

Battery life is adequate. The EliteBook missed having full-day computing power by 40 minutes, scoring 7 hours 20 minutes on our battery rundown test. This is 24 minutes less than the Dell E7440, and an hour and 24 minutes less than the Toshiba Kirabook.

The HP EliteBook 1040 G1 (G4U67UT) skips a removable battery and built-in VGA and Ethernet for a thinner build. It's a good fit for an office that's buying all of its users new PCs in one swift stroke. However, the Dell Latitude E7440 Touch continues as our Editors' Choice for business ultrabooks with better connectivity, including Ethernet, HDMI, and nn additional USB 3.0 port, plus it comes with a longer-lasting, removable battery.