HP Folio 13 Ultrabook Review

HP Folio 13 Ultrabook

HP Folio 13 UltrabookUltrabooks need no introduction by now, after several months of existence. They are characterized by the thinness of the physical hardware, lightness and the type of storage on the PC. HP Folio 13 was the first Ultrabook developed by HP. HP Folio 13 was introduced in the Kenyan market on April and I have had a chance to play with it and put it into the regular working environment that I undergo on the daily. Before I delve into the nitties of what makes this device kick ass, let us first get a refresher of the product specifications.

  • Processor: Intel Core 15 Mobile Processor, 2nd Generation
  • Chipset: Mobile Intel HM65 Express Chipset
  • Memory: DDR3 SDRAM, 1333MHz(supports upto 4GB)
  • Storage:128GB mSATA SSD
  • Operating System: Windows 7 professional, 64Bit
  • Display:13.3 inch Led-backlit Brightview
  • Graphics: Intel HD2 Graphica 3000
  • Expansion slots: SD, SDHC, SDXC and MMC
  • Dimensions: 0.7 x 8.67 x 12.54
  • Weighs: 1.5kg
  • Battery: 6 cell Li-Ion Battery

First thing you notice when you pick up the device is the sleek brushed Aluminium casing that spans all of the top of the device and the palm rest. The rest of the Ultrabook is black with a leatherly feel at the bottom. The metal casing makes it feel like a durable product and while at it you get a nice near firm grip on it when holding it. You know you almost get the impression that you can actually fit this inside a folder and strut away to meetings to surprise folks. The bottom feels smooth although HP in my opinion did not have guys who use their laptops in bed in mind when designing the air vents which are almost all at the bottom. You get the impression that you might mess your computer if you used it on a surface that is not solid, like a couch or bed. You know gamers and movie watchers, even someone reading long hours in bed. But there is no cause for worry in desk use, as all this time I have used it I have not felt the machine get any hot. I guess that’s the HP CoolSense technology at work, at the task-bar you can turn this on or off.

The Touch pad is another work of art, supporting multi-touch and all the usual functionality without the usual ridges present on other laptops.  I almost get the feeling that the mouse is now overrated. Though there is times you feel the touch pad is not quite responsive when you do the copy paste. The arm rest is quite on point, the smooth feel is good for prolonged use and is just in the right place. The Ultrabook is 18mm thick when closed, so the arm rest is even lower than that, unlike what you get on average laptops.

The Keyboard is just what you would ask for if you were given free will on choice. HP did awesome work, you feel nice typing on it, I am actually enjoying it right now. I like the smallish buttons like those on the Mac book as opposed to the wide ones that are delicate and pop out easily. Something which is a huge add-on for the HP Folio 13 Ultra book is the back-lit keyboard, this gives you a nice well lit keyboard in-case you are working in dimly lit environments, no need to light candles, torches, bending the display over or shutting down your computer in such cases. You are also provided with a short-cut to switch keyboard format between the standard and UK format right on the taskbar.

One of the things that impress most on this Ultrabook is the ability to go from hibernation or standby to fully awake mode in seconds. Even a cheating spouse caught doesn’t wake that fast. It’s one of the selling propositions of Folio 13, coupled with the fast Intel core 13 processor, performance is one thing that is commendable. The Solid State Drive is also a contributing faster to the Ultrabook efficiency, as there is no RPMs to think about here. The LED Backlit display doesn’t disappoint either, I am moving from a 14 inch laptop and I got used quite fast. Sound on this Ultrabook does not promise the Bass that you  would find on the Dell XPS gaming laptops, but the Dolby Audio speakers sure do go loud.

The HP Folio 13 Ultrabook comes with a 6 cell Li-Ion battery and this is a performer. I remember once deliberately leaving the charger at home and went to an event that required my online activity, using Wi-Fi to connect to the internet, no music though, since that meant that if my gamble went bad I would be that guy frowning at the backseat pinching them-self over and over again for pulling a foolish one. But I was positively surprised, the thing went all day, well not really all day, but from 9-5 I was connected all through, and there was still charge left to go a few minutes when I reached home later.

There is one thing bloggers have in common with politicians: they are both power hungry. Politicians with political power and bloggers huddling together during events at the power outlets. With the Folio 13 Ultrabook you can reduce the demand on the resource.

The Folio 13 has all the necessary ports, like the power, RJ45, HDMI, all-in-one card reader and “just two” USB ports. Oh, and the 3.5 mm jack for your audio out. One thing I have noted since, is the power port does not live up to the Ultrabook standards, it holds almost loosely onto the computer and minimal movements on the machine or cable make it slide out, you find yourself watching at the power icon on the task bar to see if it’s still connected.

Bottom Line

This is an Ultrabook I would recommend to anyone who can afford, or who feels their business requires that reliability the product offers. We all love to know that we dont have to be on a leash 2 metres long all the time. You wanna walk out in the grass or sit in a bench, without worrying about power, Folio 13 guarantees that. But if you are they guy that needs alot of storage without being bothered carrying external storage you might consider not compromising that since you only get 128GB here. But the pros out do the cons. I used to believe that I needed the optical drive and that was to dictate the choice of laptop I buy, but coming to think of it, I have not used one in more than 6 months, so that feature absence wouldn’t make me alter my decision.

HP Folio 13 is not the thinnest Ultrabook out there, but it’s a solid offering that one can seriously consider.