HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1: Ultraportable business chic
Published on May 5, 2014 7:00 AM
This is the second high-end business laptop I have tried this year. Like the Lenovo X1 Carbon, the HP EliteBook Folio has more in common with ultrabooks than typical business laptops. That is to say, at times, its form takes precedence over substance.
For example, features that are taken for granted on business laptops, such as an Ethernet port or a removable battery, are missing. It has a microSD card reader instead of an SD version.
To be fair, the Folio does support Ethernet but it requires an adaptor. It still has a fingerprint reader, a security chip and a Smart Card reader.
But these are secondary concerns. My first impression is that the sleek aluminium chassis recalls ultraportables such as the Dell XPS 13 and the MacBook Air. Only its dark grey finish could be described as businesslike and sombre.
The Folio weighs just 1.55kg, which is light for a 14-inch model, though the carbon-fibre body of the X1 Carbon is lighter at only 1.42kg.
The Folio has a lower screen resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) than the 2,560 x 1,440 pixels of the X1 Carbon. The screen is dimmer than expected and I found myself having to adjust it to around 80 per cent brightness.
The matte display on the Folio has excellent viewing angles. However, unlike the X1 Carbon, it offers no touchscreen option.
While Lenovo fiddled with the keyboard layout on the X1 Carbon to its detriment, HP has equipped the Folio with a normal backlit keyboard. This spill-resistant keyboard has keys that are comfortably spaced.
However, I was less than impressed by the new touchpad. This pressure-sensitive touchpad looks normal but does not actually click when pressed. It feels like tapping on a desk.
This HP laptop has a capable Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB of RAM. It performs about 7 per cent better than the X1 Carbon in the PCMark 7. But its 256GB solid-state drive has half the capacity of the X1 Carbon.
At 6hr 26min, the Folio's battery life is about 10 minutes longer than the X1 Carbon, but this is still hardly impressive for a business laptop.
HP's premium business notebook is slightly more affordable at $3,399 than the $3,699 X1 Carbon. But it still sounds like too much to pay for what you get.
This article was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on April 9, 2014.
Processor: Intel Core i7-4600U (2.1GHz)
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4400
Screen size: 14 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Connectivity: 2 x USB 3.0, DisplayPort, side docking connector, microSD card slot, headphone
and microphone combo jack
Battery: 42 watt-hour
Value for money 2/5
Battery life 4/5