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HP Folio 13 review

The Folio 13 aims to combine a stylish design with performance. Sasha Muller takes a look at whether the HP Ultrabook is able to out-muscle its rivals.

Great input

Unlike most of the more affordable Ultrabooks, HP has fitted a backlit keyboard a genuinely useful addition. The keyboard's Scrabble-tile keys depress with a soft, cushioned stroke, and the large right-shift key and spacious layout make for fast, accurate touch-typing. The rubberised finish of the keys is worth a mention, too in addition to feeling lovely under the finger, it also provides some welcome grip.

HP Folio 13 - keyboard

The keyboard is a pleasure to use

The touchpad is fine too. The buttons are integrated into the pad itself, with the left-and right-click zones demarcated by a grey border. It's possible to left-click across most of the pad, either by pressing down or dabbing it with a light tap. Should you find your palms interfering with the cursor, a quick double-tap in the top-left corner disables the touchpad completely, with a small amber light above the touchpad letting you know.

Cursor control is responsive, and the usual two-fingered zooming and scrolling gestures work well. The three-and four-fingered gestures are a little more erratic, but they're occasionally useful. Horizontal swipes skip back and forth through web pages, and four-fingered gestures flick between applications or open up the Flip 3D interface. Thankfully, should you find yourself activating certain gestures by mistake, it's possible to disable them in the Synaptics Control Panel.

Promising all-rounder

HP touts a battery life of over 9 hours. Our light-use battery test saw the Folio 13 last for a perfectly good 8 hours 12mins. Of the Ultrabook competition, only the Asus Zenbook UX31E can better that by a significant margin, with its time of 8 hours 53mins.

We didn't expect HP's latest Ultrabook to be the best in class as it is only 799, but the Folio 13 punches well above its weight. Great build and smart looks go hand in hand with all-day battery life. The ergonomics are good, if not quite great, and only the display leaves any major room for improvement.

Despite its shortcomings, the Folio 13 is an admirable all-rounder that is cheaper than competing devices.

Verdict

An affordable Ultrabook with stylish design and great functionality. The Folio 13 also packs an impressive battery life and comes with only a few compromises.

Operating system: Windows 7 Professional Processor: Intel Core i5-2467M (1.6GHz) RAM: 4GB DDR3 Storage: 128GB SSD Screen: 13.3in (1366 x 768) LED-backlit HD BrightView Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 Ports: 1x RJ45, 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x HDMI, 3.5mm mic/headphone Other: 1.3 MP Integrated HP TrueVision HD Webcam Battery: 6-cell (59 WHr) Li-ion Size: 220 x 319 x 18mm Weight: 1.5kg

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