Review: HP EliteBook Folio G1 offers lightweight business computing
HP's latest Windows 10 laptop comes in touch and non-touch versions; it offers a bright display, great keyboard and a variety of options.
- Good value
- thin and light
- excellent UHD touch display
- backlit keyboard
- two USB-C ports
- good security features
- Relatively short battery life
- no SD card slot
Thin, light and with one of the best keyboards this side of a desktop PC, the Folio twins -- both the touch and non-touch models -- are easy to use and travel with.
Price$ 1,400.00 (AUD)
If you're looking for a lightweight, portable laptop -- but aren't interested in a tablet with a snap-on keyboard such as the HP Elite x2 -- HP's 12.5-in. EliteBook Folio G1 makes the most of the traditional notebook design. The company has built an excellent display and keyboard into one of the smallest and lightest systems around.
I spent a week with a pair of Folio systems: The full HD non-touch model that ships with an Intel Core M7 processor, 8GB of 1.86GHz DDR3 RAM and a 128GB SSD and the UHD WVGA touch-screen model that includes a sixth-generation Intel Core M5 processor, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. Several other configurations are also available.
The Folio family's 12.5-in. displays are a study in contrasts. The UHD touch system (3840 x 2160) offers a four-to-one advantage in showing details compared to the full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) model. This became apparent when I zoomed in on an 11.3-megapixel photo of my yard and saw leaves that weren't visible on the HD screen.
It's also much brighter, with the full HD version providing a reasonable 306 candelas per square meter versus the UHD's impressive 411. This makes HP's touch display one of the brightest, richest and most vivid screens on the market. I found it still quite usable when I set it at half its brightness.
Under the surface, both systems have Intel's Graphics 515 video accelerator with 128MB of dedicated memory. They can each draw upon up to 4.02GB from system memory for a total of 4.15GB of video memory available. This is just as good for working with intricate images or CAD designs as for playing a video game.
The Folio's piano lid hinge allows the screen to be opened all the way so you can unfold the whole system flat on a table. This makes "fingerpainting" with the touch version easy -- I comfortably drew a map and sketched a flow chart.
The touch screen responds to 10 independent touch inputs and works with a generic stylus. Unfortunately, when the screen was open beyond about 45 degrees, I ran the risk of tipping the system over if I tapped too hard. Overall, I felt that the display wobbled a bit while tapping, swiping and pinching the screen.
Above the display is a 720p webcam that works with Microsoft's Hello facial recognition log-in.
All Folios come with an aluminum case with a soft finish to it. The laptop measures 11.5 x 8.2 x 0.5 in.; the non-touch model weighs a very light 1.1KG. (3.63KG with its small AC adapter) while the touch model weighs 3g more.
The Folio can take a beating on the road -- the family of laptops has passed the Mil-Std 810G tests, including those for vibration and shock, dust intrusion, drops from 30 in. and extreme temperatures. However, it lacks a spill-resistant keyboard.
The Folios are equipped with Intel's M-6Y75 processor that can run between 1.2GHz and 3.1GHz, depending on its tasks. It uses only 4.5 watts of power, about what a nightlight consumes, allowing the Folio to go without a fan. When I checked the heat with a Fluke infrared non-contact thermometer, the touch UHD system never got above 92.5 degrees Fahrenheit and the non-touch never broke 87.5 degrees.
The Folio comes with 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 wireless connections, along with WiDi capabilities.
Although the Folio's Bang & Olufsen tuned audio has speakers positioned underneath the system and pointing down, they delivered excellent balance among bass, treble and midrange tones. I had good-quality audio with spoken word programming, music or a Skype call -- and they can get surprisingly loud. You can tune the sound with B&O's software graphic equalizer.
In addition to a headphone jack, the Folio is equipped with two USB-C ports, which let you charge the system while using a USB-connected accessory. It comes with a USB-C-to-USB 3.0 adapter and another for USB-C-to-Ethernet connections. However, the system lacks an SD card slot, something that I've taken for granted in this genre.
HP also offers two optional docking stations. One provides five USB ports as well as Ethernet, HDMI and DisplayPort connections. The other, which I had a chance to test out, is the HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 65W Dock. It has four USB connectors along with audio, Ethernet VGA and two DisplayPort connectors that can drive a pair of monitors at once. The dock worked well when I used it to connect the Folio with USB thumb drives, an Ethernet connection and an HD display.Read more: Enterprise tablet wars: Galaxy TabPro S vs. Surface Pro 4
The Folio includes Windows 10 Pro and a second-generation Trusted Platform Module that can make remote log-ins airtight. Other security includes HP's SureStart BIOS protection that doesn't allow the notebook to be started with rogue firmware, as well as HP TouchPoint Manager, which is meant to help companies manage a fleet of systems in a secure cloud database.
Neither test system let me down over a week of daily use that ranged from giving slideshows and doing Web research to editing images and heavy-duty spreadsheet work.
The non-touch model scored a 3,022 on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional benchmark; the touch model scored lower at 2,352. While it won't set any performance records, it's more than enough for most to survive the typical workday.
Each Folio comes with a 4,100 milliamp-hour battery that was able to power the non-touch system for an adequate 5 hr. 35 min. on PCMark 8's battery test. The touch system ran for a rather anemic 4 hr. 19 min.
Because I had previously tested battery life on other systems by running continuous videos, I ran the same tests on the two Folio laptops. The non-touch Folio ran them for 6 hr. 28 min., while the touch lasted for 4 hr. 52 min. This is in comparison to two similar laptops, the Asus Zenbook UX305 (8 hr. 5 min.) and Dell XPS 13 (11 hr. 10 min.).
The EliteBook Folio G1 includes a year of standard warranty protection.
Thin, light and with one of the best keyboards this side of a desktop PC, the Folio twins -- both the touch and non-touch models -- are easy to use and travel with. They are well equipped and deliver the right balance of performance, manageability and security.
While the more powerful, long-lasting and cheaper HD model appeals to the left, more logical side of my brain, the right side dominates here and I lust after the incredibly bright, rich and useful UHD touch model.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- FCC rolls back net neutrality ISP transparency rules
- Analysts peer into Microsoft's rumored Windows 10 Cloud
- AT&T, IBM, Nokia join to make IoT systems safer
- Microsoft revives free Windows 10 upgrade for SMBs
- PayPal lets you send and request money using Siri in iOS 10
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Positive Vetting, NV2 or NV1 required!!SA
- CCNetwork Engineer (cisco)NSW
- CCTest ManagerWA
- TPTechnical Business Analyst - DigitalQLD
- TPSenior Business AnalystVIC
- FTWeb Developer / Applications AnalystQLD
- FTDatabase Modelling SpecialistACT
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- FTConsultant Business AnalystQLD
- TPMid-Level Java DeveloperNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCApplication Services Administrator (Linux)NSW
- CCUser Experience Designer - Part time - Short contractACT
- TPDesktop Support OfficerQLD
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- CCTest Capability LeadNSW
- FTFull Stack Web Developer .NET or JAVANSW
- TPAnalyst Workplace SupportVIC
- FTPart Time - IT Service Desk AnalystVIC
- TPSenior Project CoordinatorNSW
- CCBusiness Test Lead - BRT/UATNSW
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- CCDevOps/Senior Sys Admin - eCommerce - Contract - Sydney Northern BeachesNSW
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)VIC