|Name||Ultrabook: HP Folio 13 (13-1016TU)|
|At a glance:||13.3-inch, LED-backlit display,Intel Core i3-2367M CPU, 4GB RAM,Full-sized Ethernet port for travellers,Great battery life under heavy use|
|Summary:||High on portability and battery life, low on processing power.|
HP’s first Ultrabook available in New Zealand is the Folio 13; a shiny, brushed-metal rectangle with subtly rounded corners and a rubberised, non-slip coating on the underside. Weighing in at 1.49kg, the 13-inch Folio is lighter than some of the 11.6-inch laptops we tested late last year. It’s only marginally heavier than the 13-inch MacBook Air (1.35kg), and 1mm thicker; though it should be noted that the Folio is 18mm thick from front to back, while the Air tapers down from 17mm at the rear to just 3mm at the front. This makes the Folio appear decidedly bulkier at first glance, though the two are really quite similar in size and weight. The Folio borrows elements of style from the PC World award-winning HP Envy 17, including a black island-keyboard and a large touchpad flush with the wrist rest. The click buttons are seamlessly integrated into the lower edge of the pad, allowing the whole area to be used for cursor movement. A double-tap in one corner disables or enables the pad, helping you avoid accidental cursor movement while typing. The keyboard is comfortable to use; there’s not a great deal of key travel due to the laptop’s thin body, but it’s adequate to prevent discomfort when you’re hammering out a few pages of text. Key sizing and placement is uniformly good, but for the up/down cursor arrows which are each a half-height key, jammed between the full-height left and right arrows. As someone who does a lot of text editing, I found it a tad irritating. In a nice touch, indicator lights for features like Caps Lock, Mute and Wi-Fi are embedded into the relevant hotkeys themselves, making it immediately obvious what’s on and off. Inside the Folio 13 is a 2nd generation Intel Core i3-2367M processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD for storage. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth provide connectivity, along with a full-sized Ethernet port that’s lacking on some of the slimmer Ultrabook models (take the Acer Aspire S3 we reviewed last month). HDMI is your only attachment for an external display, and you’ve got two USB ports – one USB 3.0, and one conventional USB 2.0. It’s not a high-performance beast by any stretch of the imagination, scoring lower than the Aspire S3 across our full range of CPU-intensive benchmarks, and outperforming only some of the very low-end AMD Fusion-powered netbooks in our recent tests. Its performance is still ample for word processing, web browsing and simple multimedia tasks such as playing HD video or resizing photographs, but you’re not going to have any luck gaming or working in 3D. Performance is admirable in one regard; the SSD makes storage-intensive tasks run much faster than on machines with traditional mechanical hard drives. Moving large collections of files back and forth (particularly over the USB 3.0 port), recording or transcoding audio or video, virus scanning and suchlike are all good examples of this. The corresponding benefit to low processing power should be long battery life, and here the HP Folio 13 doesn’t disappoint. In our rather battery-hungry ‘productivity’ test suite, the laptop delivered 5 hours, 12 minutes – longest-equal in our history of that particular battery test. That’s twenty minutes longer than the second-best result, and far above the average. If you’re looking for laptop screen-size, netbook portability and truly awe-inspiring battery life under pretty heavy use, HP’s Folio 13 delivers. It won’t replace your four-kilogram desktop-replacing superlaptop, but it provides a good alternative to a tablet if you need the convenience of a keyboard.