HP Folio 13 review

Reviews 11 Apr, 2012

The Folio 13 aims to combine a stylish design with performance. Sasha Muller takes a look at whether the HP Ultrabook is able to out-muscle its rivals.

4
Price: 
£799
Verdict: 
An affordable Ultrabook with stylish design and great functionality. The Folio 13 also packs an impressive battery life and comes with only a few compromises.

HP has unveiled the Folio 13, a well equipped laptop that will cater to the needs of business users and one that comes with a tempting price of £799.

The Folio 13 looks and feels great. 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.

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. With a weight of 1.5kg the Folio 13 isn't the lightest device out there.

Under the hood

The 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. We're were particularly happy to see that the Folio packed in a 128GB Samsung SSD. This 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.

HP hasn’t skimped on essentials. A single USB 3.0 port sits next to a full-sized HDMI output, a Gigabit Ethernet socket and an SD card reader. A USB 2.0 port and a combined headphone/microphone socket sit on the right-hand edge. The presence of only single-band Wi-Fi is disappointing, but you do at least get Bluetooth 3.0.

Disappointing display

The only notable weakness is the display. It looks acceptable enough in isolation, perhaps due to the glossy finish, but closer examination reveals it to be just as average as many of its Ultrabook peers. Brightness peaks at a modest 223cd/m2, and the low 193:1 contrast ratio leaves it struggling to reproduce fine detail in the brightest and darkest areas of our test photographs.

The resolution is not too impressive

HP settles for a bog-standard 1,366 x 768 panel. The device is perfectly usable, but those after a higher resolution and better image quality will need to look to Samsung’s Series 9 or Apple’s MacBook Air.

Specifications: 

Operating system: Windows 7 Professional

Processor: Intel Core i5-2467M (1.6GHz)

RAM: 4GB DDR3

Storage: 128GB SSD

Screen: 13.3in (1366 x 768) LED-backlit HD BrightView

Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0

Ports: 1x RJ45, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 3.5mm mic/headphone

Other: 1.3 MP Integrated HP TrueVision HD Webcam

Battery: 6-cell (59 WHr) Li-ion

Size: 220 x 319 x 18mm

Weight: 1.5kg