HP EliteBook Folio review: first look
HP’s Global Influencers Summit in Shanghai has been dominated by Ultrabooks – and, of course, Sleekbooks – but the firm’s fourth new laptop is one of the most intriguing.
It’s the Elitebook Folio 9470m, and HP hopes that on release in October it’ll entice high-flying executives with its combination of corporate features and attractive design.
For starters, there’s TPM, Intel vPro and a range of HP software, including a customisable BIOS – handy for IT managers who want to restrict access to certain parts of the software or, indeed, lock out meddling employees entirely. HP will also install its ProtectTools software suite alongside Windows 7 Professional, and a fingerprint reader is also an optional extra.
The Folio will come with a set of accessories. The battery, which HP says will last nine hours, can be upgraded with a secondary power pack that – the firm claims – increases the Folio’s longevity to a whopping 20 hours. The battery slice attaches to the bottom of the 19mm EliteBook and adds several millimetres to the base of the machine, bringing the Elitebook’s dimensions firmly out of Ultrabook territory. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile addition for those who spend plenty of time on the road.
For those who stay attached to their desk, there’s also a docking station with a broad range of additional ports and sockets: four USB 3 ports, a D-SUB output, Ethernet socket, audio outputs and a DisplayPort output, which complement the D-SUB, RJ45 and USB 3 sockets that are already included on the machine.
HP has also paid attention to the Folio’s design, with James Mouton, the senior vice president of HP’s global computing unit, saying that “users want something more compelling and sleeker” – a change that’s seen HP “deliberately blur the line between commercial and consumer”. The Folio is certainly one of the best-looking corporate machines we’ve seen thanks to its brushed metal exterior and black bezel, although the odd hint of plastic and visible seams mean it can’t quite compete with the best consumer machines.
We can’t comment, though, on screen quality or ergonomics. With release so far away and final tweaks presumably still being made, HP could only bring a dummy model to Shanghai.
Aside from confirming that the Folio will use Intel’s ultra-low voltage Ivy Bridge processors and that its 14in screen will have a resolution of at least 1,366 x 768, HP’s representatives wouldn’t divulge any more information about the Folio’s internals.
And the October release date also means pricing hasn’t been finalised. Don’t expect it to be cheap, though, thanks to the premium design, Ivy Bridge processor and broad range of security features – and don’t expect the docking station or battery slice to command bargain prices, either.
The big question is whether HP can produce a business class Ultrabook to accompany the Folio by October.