When I saw the HP Elitebook Folio G1 Ultrabook carried by Senior Vice President of Business Personal Systems, Enrique Lores, on stage at HP Discover in Barcelona last December I was awed at how sleek and sexy the new machine appeared to be. Then my jaw dropped when he let the device on stage without any concern. After he picked it up and it worked fine, I decided that this may be the perfect Ultrabook for the busy, travelling executive. Something thin enough to carry around without issue, rough enough withstand anything thrown its way, and powerful enough to be a versatile option to handle a myriad of tasks – the Elitebook Folio G1 Ultrabook was a major step in the right direction to convert more business users over to HP. I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to be able to review one, so I was excited when HP sent a unit my way for testing. Did the device live up to my high expectations? Read on to find out.
Setup & Installation
I received the Elitebook Folio G1 Ultrabook nicely packaged in a thin HP box, opened it up, plugged it in, and setup was a breeze. It came with Windows 7 Pro installed by default, however HP provided a Windows 8.1 Installation DVD and accompanying instructions for people who were interested to upgrade. For the time being, I left it with Windows 7.
The machine includes a 45W AC Power Adapter. It is very small and light, however, I will say the power adapter heats up extremely hot while plugged in, though the computer did not heat up.
There are a variety of security features that are pre-installed. Starting up the HP Security software, the fingerprint reader was set up easily, along with the option to set an Encryption Key and auto-save it to Skydrive or another removable device. When I activated the FingerPrint reader, there was some lagging upon sign into Windows but after the 2nd restart it seemed a little better. Note: after I disabled the finger print reader the security software was still causing a 30 second day logging in. I had to go and disable the software and revert because to the standard Windows authentication method. Also, the security software prompts you by default if you wish to save your password each time you log in anywhere, and that can be annoying.
Additionally, other software is pre-installed such as PDF Complete, HP Connection Manager, and some Help & Support Software (user guide, etc.). Additionally, the Support Assistant is the HP Hub for everything related to the device. Futher, Microsoft Security Essentials was installed by default and I thought that was a nice touch.
The design is quite impressive. Very thin (13.31 x 9.19 x .63 in) and light (starting at 3.3 pounds), it is easy to pack in to a briefcase and has very durable look and feel. Its’ titanium case has a luxury feel to it and the executive will have no reason to be shy about bringing the device out in business meetings! I feel the 14” LED back lit screen (1920 x 1080) screen is neither too big nor too small and is just right. At the top of the screen are a webcam (720p), light, and microphone. Additionally, there are two wireless antennas built into the top.
The keyboard is backlit as you type and the lights go off after a short period of time of dormancy. There is a power button (LED) in the upper left, a speaker across the top of the base, and a wireless button and mute button at the upper right. They toggle to yellow when pressed.
There is a new pressure sensitive trackpad called the ForcePad. It takes some getting used it since there are no buttons but it is decent. I am still not completely used to it but it will take some time, mainly in highlight text and dragging the cursor, etc. HP Includes a ForcePad User Guide. Here is an excerpt:
There is also a setting tool where you can change the settings as needed. I highly suggest you adjust the settings to your liking.
Also worth mentioning are the variety of ports. On the left side there is a USB Charging Port (read: always on), Docking lock, Micro SD, and a Smart Card reader. The smart card reader shows they really made this for the enterprise user in mind. I am not sure how many people will use it – that space could have been better used by more USB ports or something. To keep the thinness, there are no ports on the backside. On the right, there are a docking connector, a displayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 port, headphone/microphone combo, and a spot that looks like could be another Micro SD port, but is filled in. On the quick reference guide, it says the port on the right is a MicroSD and the one on the left is “TBD”. In any case, there is no VGA port or HDMI which I think would be much more useful than a smart card read – I think missing those two ports are a negative. Also missing is an Ethernet port, but I feel that is less of a priority these days. The HP DisplayPort to HDMI converter is $19.00. Some users report receiving a VGA/Ethernet dongle with the system but I did not receive one.
One interesting detail is the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 passes MIL-STD 810G testing for drop, functional shock, vibration, dust, humidity, altitude, high and low temperature, and temperature shock. While I did not spill any water or drop the computer - this is nice to know in the back of your mind!
A full detailed specification:
Some of the power Windows 8 users have requested the option for a Touch Screen, but I found it unnecessary. The computer is thinner and lighter than the competition (half pound lighter than the Dell Latitude e7440 and .2 in thinner than the Lenovo T440). The machine also has WWAN support for mobile broadband but I did not set that up.
The test unit I had included 4 GB of RAM (3.9 GB Usable), and an Intel Core i5-4300U CPU @ 1.9 GHz. The Windows Experience Index was a reasonable 5.2, with the lowest score coming from the GPU. For the average executive, it handled things like Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat Professional, etc. very well. The wireless was responsive, and although the machine comes with BlueTooth 4.0, you cannot take advantage of it without Windows 8 installed. I like the fact that the computer comes with a NFC reader, keeping in line with HP’s NFC strategy. The battery lasted over 7.5 hours which is great for travelling. I thought the sound was clear and crisp, too. The screen was very bright with LED backlighting, and I thought the 1920 x 1080 resolution was great.
The Elitebook 1040 Folio G1 replaced my Dell Vostro V140 Laptop. The new machine is lighter, faster, and more durable and offers some additional features. It is about the same footprint though the HP is slightly taller.
I think this computer is excellent for the business executive, especially in the Fortune 1000 enterprise environment. With features such as the smart card reader, and all of the security features, this will make the corporate CIO happy! However, for the small and medium sized business executive, I think having a VGA/Ethernet/HDMI or even an additional USB port would have been more useful. The design is sexy and reminiscent of the Macbook. I think the case material is rugged enough and the battery life is long enough for the road warrior. I think the Elitebook 1040 Folio G1 is a great intersection between style, size, and performance – providing the versatility any established executive needs. This computer provides great value compared to other HP laptops and competitors of the same size, and recommend it as a strong contender for a business laptop purchase.