“An elegant ultrabook for business use”
Business laptops have always been known to be big, grey and …well …boring. With the EliteBook Folio 1040 G1, HP is promising to deliver the dependability and functionality of an enterprise laptop without compromising on style, and it looks like they have managed to pull it off.
It is obvious that this laptop has borrowed heavily from the template set by the MacBook Air. This 14-inch device has a 16mm thick chassis and weighs around 1.5kgs making it easy to carry – great for those long business trips.
The Folio G1 has a starting price of $1299, which may seem to be a bit excessive considering the specs of the entry-level device – an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB DDR3, 128GB SSD and a 1600×900 non-touch display. But, at the price, you also get improved tech support, excellent security and the ability for your company to deploy similarly-configured notebooks throughout the organization.
Overall, the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 looks like a great option for enterprise users. Let’s take a closer look to determine how good it actually is.
The Folio G1 has a grey chassis made almost entirely of aluminum. Even though the underside looks like it’s made of plastic, like many Windows laptops, it is actually constructed using a magnesium alloy which has a polymer coating. In fact, the notebook is so well built that it conforms to the MIL-STD 810G standards for dust, drop, vibration, shock, altitude, humidity and temperature.
Because the laptop is so thin, there isn’t a huge variety of connectors on offer. The lack of Ethernet and VGA-out ports on the body could be a problem for some. However, HP does provide a dongle with full-sized connectors for both that can be connected to the laptop.
Other connectors include a microSD slot, a microSIM slot (for LTE), a SmartCard reader, two USB 3.0 ports, a fingerprint scanner, a DisplayPort and a headphone/microphone jack.
For this review, we are using the 1920×1080 Full HD non-touch IPS panel which is great to look at. Viewing angles are excellent and there is a matt coating on the screen that makes it easy to read under artificial light or near a window. At 157ppi, it’s not quite Retina-standard, but works well anyway.
Color reproduction is superb and the display covers 70% of the Adobe RBG and 93% of sRGB color range. For a business laptop, the contrast ratio of 610:1 (at full brightness) is very good as well.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Once you open the laptop, you are greeted by a reasonably wide keyboard with Scrabble-style keys which are very comfortable to type on. Because of the metallic chassis, there is no flex making it easier to use the short-travel keys. As you would expect, the keyboard is both spill resistant and backlit.
The trackpad, on the other hand, is a bit different. The ‘ForcePad’, as HP calls it, is a button-less touchpad which is pressure sensitive. It addition to the usual multi-finger gestures, it also supports some single-finger file management and selection gestures. For example, selecting a file and pressing down on the touchpad will let you drag it to another location – the same effect as holding down the mouse button and moving a file. With this touchpad, HP is aiming to provide mouse-like functionality without an actual mouse or buttons. While functional, it does take a little time to get used to.
The review unit has a 2.1GHz (up to 3.3GHz) Intel Core i7-4600U quad-core processor, 8GB DDR3 RAM and a 256GB SSD. This is more than enough power for the work this laptop is designed to do. It produced decent results in most synthetic benchmarking tests and pretty high WEI (Windows Experience Index) scores as well. A big surprise is the fact that the EliteBook 1040 ships with Windows 7 preinstalled. But, a DVD of Windows 8.1 is provided, should you need it.
One area that takes a hit performance wise is graphics. There is no dedicated GPU and graphics is handled by the onboard Intel HD 4400 processor – clearly this machine is not meant for gaming. But, it does manage to return passable framerates at low settings for games like Batman: Arkham City and Tomb Raider.
HP promises a battery life of up to 12 hours from the 42Wh Li-Po power unit. But, to get that much juice, you will have to really turn down the brightness, disable all wireless systems along with non-essential programs and services. In real-world tests, it managed to run for around 5 hours 30 minutes – which isn’t a lot, but respectable nonetheless.
- Attractive design
- Good screen
- Good performance
- LTE support
- Meets MIL-STD 810G specifications
- ForcePad has a learning curve
- No full-sized SD slot
- No integrated VGA or Ethernet ports
As a work-centric notebook, the HP EliteBook Folio 1040 G1 manages to hold up really well. It is light-weight, has the style of more consumer-oriented Ultrabooks, and manages to add enterprise-level security to the mix – a great buy for business users.