Business chic for power users: HP Folio 13-1008tu review

HP’s the newest arrival to the Ultrabook party claiming its Folio 13-1008tu is ideal for power users who need performance on the move. Based on our testing we definitely agree. The Folio has a 2nd Gen Intel Core i5-2467M processor and 4GB of RAM backed up by a speedy 128GB solid state drive giving an impressive PCMark Vantage score of 8609. At 1.49kg it’s the heaviest Ultrabook released so far but it’s still very light overall especially given its respectable computing power.

While HP claims a battery life of nine and a half hours in our testing we managed only six hours and forty minutes. That’s well short of the quoted time but still comfortably within Intel’s specification of five to eight hours. It booted from a cold start in 19 seconds as well which is pretty zippy.

On the surface the Folio is not necessarily as sleek as the Ultrabook offerings from Acer ASUS or Toshiba but the Folio 13’s metal screen backing and keyboard deck look business-like reminding us of HP’s business range of notebooks. The underside is made of plastic that feels almost rubberised which makes it easy to grip.

There is hardly any flexing anywhere in the Folio 13 and the screen in particular is reassuringly stiff for an Ultrabook display. The Folio 13 is also uniformly thick at 18mm which makes it look brawny compared to some of the other wedge-shaped Ultrabooks. But it’s as portable as any of them and when you take into account its build quality it makes for an appealing package.

The backlit keys have a shallow travel and quick return making them very enjoyable to type on even for extended periods. A particularly pleasant surprise is the responsive touchpad. The smooth rubber-like material used as its surface makes it feel a bit unusual at first but after some acclimatisation it becomes quite pleasant to use.

Power users are sure to be pleased with the variety of ports in the Folio 13. It has USB 3.0 USB 2.0 HDMI and Gigabit Ethernet ports. There’s also an SD card reader an audio jack Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi so the connectivity of this Ultrabook is easily on par with a much heavier alternative.

The Altec Lansing speakers were of reasonable quality but they aren’t the Folio 13’s strongest point. For that matter the 13.3in (1366 x 768 resolution) screen had good colour depth when looked at directly but becomes ordinary when viewed from side angles. Since these are the only major weak points of this Ultrabook it’s clear that this is a stellar machine. It’s solidly built it’s a snappy performer and it’s got a generous selection of ports in a category that normally skimps on them. This isn’t a traditionally stylish Ultrabook but the business chic still makes the Folio 13 something power users will get plenty of mileage from.

Available from HP retailing for $1499.
APC rating: 9/10 (Editor’s Choice)