HP Elite Folio Review: A Twist On the Pull-Ahead 2-in-1

HP Elite Folio Review: A brand new twist on the pull-forward 2-in-1

MSRP $1,890.00

“In the event you want a 2-in-1 you could take anyplace and get work accomplished, albeit somewhat extra slowly, then the Elite Folio is an effective selection.”

Execs

  • Snug building because of vegan leather-based
  • Stable construct high quality
  • Nice show in 3:2 side ratio
  • Wonderful keyboard and pen
  • Progressive 2-in-1 design

Cons

  • Efficiency restricted to undemanding productiveness
  • Battery life inferior to some ARM laptops
  • Just one angle in media mode

Laptop computer designs will be generic, however each now and again, one thing breaks the mould. That describes the HP Spectre Folio when it launched in 2018.

It was a novel 2-in-1 — a leather-clad “pull-forward” design that stood out for its class and sophistication. You possibly can’t purchase that machine any longer, however in case you appreciated the shape issue and the weird supplies, then HP has a brand new possibility for you, the Elite Folio. This new gadget follows the identical design cues whereas being aimed toward HP’s business clients.

Nevertheless it’s not only a cookie-cutter copy of the Spectre Folio. The Elite Folio is notable for its use of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, the most recent ARM processor out there for Home windows 10 laptops. My review unit was configured with mentioned processor, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), a 3.5-inch IPS 3:2 show, and 4G LTE WWAN assist. It’s an costly laptop at $1,890, placing it solidly in premium territory. It’s an attention-grabbing design with uncommon supplies —  however is that sufficient to compete within the crowded enterprise 2-in-1 market?

Design

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One of many largest variations between the Elite Folio and the Spectre Folio is that the previous is made with “vegan leather-based” somewhat than the real leather-based used within the latter. What’s “vegan leather-based,” you ask? Properly, in a phrase, it’s plastic — technically, polyurethane. It’s referred to as “vegan” as a result of it’s not animal-based — clearly, a advertising and marketing somewhat than a technical distinction. Frankly, I don’t suppose the Elite Folio feels as heat and alluring — nor as supple — because the Spectre Folio. It’s simply not as elegant.

The Elite Folio nonetheless appears somewhat like a leather-bound paper pocket book, however the Spectre Folio emulates that feeling much better. Nonetheless, the Elite Folio remains to be fairly distinctive, and its all-black shade scheme works nicely with the vegan leather-based, making for a laptop that’s not simply one other silver wedge.

By the way, the first purpose HP cites for utilizing the vegan leather-based is that it bonds higher with the magnesium body. This enables for a tighter match alongside the perimeters — the Spectre Folio’s leather-based wrapped round and added to the width and depth — and a barely smaller chassis. I see the reasoning, however the vegan leather-based simply doesn’t maintain the identical enchantment.

In any other case, the design is similar. The show flips within the center because of the pliability of the vegan leather-based materials and will be pulled ahead over the keyboard, forming a media mode. Pull it additional ahead, and it turns into a pill with a slight angle. It’s a distinct tackle the 2-in-1 and it really works nicely, albeit with just one angle somewhat than the various angles out there with a 360-degree convertible or pill with a kickstand.

I discovered the show to be somewhat wobbly in clamshell mode, sufficient in order that I seen it whereas typing. Most 360-degree convertibles I’ve used, just like the HP Spectre x360 14, have firmer hinges. And as with the Spectre Folio, the ability button is on the keyboard and hidden in all however clamshell mode.

The Elite Folio feels fairly sturdy, with no flexing or bending anyplace within the chassis. On this division, it’s the equal of the Spectre x360 14 and Dell XPS 13. That places the Elite Folio in effective firm, and also you gained’t really feel like you have to child the laptop simply due to its distinctive supplies and design. Solely time will inform how the vegan leather-based holds as much as put on and tear, although.

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When it comes to its dimension, the Elite Folio is 0.63 inches thick and weighs 2.92 kilos. That compares to the Spectre x360 14 at 0.67 inches and a pair of.95 kilos and the XPS 13 at 0.58 inches and a pair of.8 kilos. Whereas the steel portion of the Elite Folio’s base is sort of skinny, the lid is a bit thicker and the vegan leather-based provides further bulk. The Elite Folio is due to this fact not as small because it is perhaps if it had been constructed purely of steel.

Connectivity isn’t the Elite Folio’s biggest power. You get two USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 ports, one on both sides (both will energy the laptop), and a 3.5mm audio jack. That’s it. Thunderbolt isn’t supported, after all, due to the Qualcomm chipset. Wi-fi connectivity is strong, nevertheless, with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5. You can too select between non-obligatory LTE 4 or 5G WWAN assist, and there’s a SIM slot situated subsequent to the pen (extra on that later). HP selected to go along with 5G Sub6 right here and never mmWave.

Efficiency

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To this point, Home windows on ARM processors has been underwhelming, and nothing just like the very good efficiency that Apple squeezes out of its M1 ARM chip. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 is meant to offer improved efficiency, and whereas I might like to quantify this claimed enchancment, it’s tough as a result of lack of assist for a lot of Home windows legacy functions. Most of our benchmarks gained’t run on the Elite Folio, so I can’t give a lot goal knowledge.

I might run Geekbench 5, and right here the Elite Folio managed a meager 770 in single-core mode and a barely higher 3,028 in multi-core mode. That compares to the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 1 within the Lenovo Flex 5G at 700 and a pair of,802, respectively — not a lot of an enchancment. And, after all, it’s nothing in comparison with the scores achieved by Intel’s Eleventh-gen Core CPUs, to not point out the Ryzen 5000 chips and the Apple M1. The HP Spectre x360 14 with its Core i7-1165G7 hit 1,214 and 4,117, for instance, whereas the Ryzen 7 5800U-equipped Asus ZenBook 13 UX325UA scored 1,423 and 6,758. Apple’s MacBook Air with the M1 blew away the sector at 1,727 and seven,585. Solely the Acer Aspire 5‘s Core i3-1115G4 scored equally at 1,214 and a pair of,544. Going by this benchmark alone, the Elite Folio is a sluggish laptop.

In precise use, I discovered it to be snappy sufficient for typical productiveness work like utilizing Microsoft Workplace functions (which run natively on the chipset), net searching, and the like. I couldn’t run any of our extra sturdy benchmarks, such because the Handbrake check that encodes a 420MB video to H.265 nor Cinebench 23 or our normal PCMark 10 benchmarks. However I wager the Elite Folio isn’t a machine that you just’re going to need to use for enhancing giant images or any video. It’s fanless and utterly quiet, which is a plus and a boon for battery life.

I additionally couldn’t check the graphics utilizing our normal 3DMark benchmarks, and Fortnite wouldn’t set up, so I couldn’t run that check, both. The Elite Folio isn’t a gaming machine, which is ok as a result of it’s not meant to behave like one.

Show and audio system

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I additionally couldn’t check the show utilizing my colorimeter for lack of supported drivers. And that’s a disgrace as a result of it’s a stunning 13.5-inch IPS show within the productivity-friendly 3:2 side ratio that I’d love to have the ability to quantify. Decision is decrease than I’d like at 1,920 x 1,280, simply barely greater than Full HD, however I’m most likely extra involved about greater resolutions than the everyday productiveness person. The display was sharp, simply not as sharp as I like.

HP advertises 400 nits of brightness, and I’m positive the show approaches that metric. I by no means discovered it too dim in my normal working surroundings, however it wasn’t vibrant sufficient to make use of outdoors within the daylight (as is the case with most laptops). HP gives its newest Positive View Mirror privateness display as an possibility, and it’s a lot brighter at 1,000 nits with the privateness perform turned off — making it an possibility for anybody who needs a really vibrant show.

Colours appeared vibrant and pure and never oversaturated. I can’t attest to the accuracy, however I noticed nothing amiss as I used the show subsequent to a Dell XPS 13. Netflix and different streaming video appeared neither too vibrant nor too darkish, so gamma appears to be on level.

General, I loved utilizing the show. Taller shows are a lot extra practical than old-school 16:9 panels, and so I can see the Elite Folio making brief work of longer we pages and paperwork.

The 2 upward-firing audio system to every aspect of the keyboard put out enough quantity for watching YouTube movies and the occasional Netflix present. Mids and highs are clear and nice, however the bass is nearly no-existent. It’s a great sound system for such a small laptop, however you’ll nonetheless desire a pair of headphones for longer binge periods and music listening.

Keyboard and touchpad

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The Elite Folio makes use of a model of the Elite keyboard, which has similarities to the model HP makes use of on its Spectre line however not precisely the identical. It’s engineered to be constant throughout the keyboard and really steady — and it reveals. There’s additionally enough journey at 1.3mm, with a snug bottoming motion and a lightweight contact. I don’t discover it fairly as springy because the Spectre Folio’s keyboard, and so I nonetheless favor that one to the Elite Folio’s, however the latter’s keyboard nonetheless ranks up there with the perfect.

The touchpad on the Elite Folio is barely bigger than the one on the Spectre Folio, because of the taller show and the extra area on the keyboard deck. It’s not fairly as giant because the touchpad on the Spectre x360 14. It was as responsive as all Microsoft Precision touchpads are, offering exact and dependable assist for Home windows 10’s multitouch gestures.

The Elite Folio’s show is touch-enabled and responsive. Extra attention-grabbing is the energetic pen that has its personal dock and charging station above the keyboard. It’s an awesome answer for storing the pen, though it does make the pen flat somewhat than spherical. I discovered it fairly snug in use, although. It helps 4,096 ranges of stress sensitivity and tilt, and it really works nicely with Home windows 10’s inking capabilities. The three:2 side ratio can be extra snug for writing on the display, being wider when held as a pill in portrait mode and nearer to a daily piece of paper when it comes to dimensions. HP estimates that the pen’s cost will final for 10 days of three hours utilization a day, however after all, you’ll be able to preserve it topped off simply by storing it in its rightful place.

An infrared camera and facial recognition present home windows 10 Howdy assist, and I discovered it quick and dependable. HP inbuilt a bodily privateness shutter for the webcam, and so that you’ll must be sure that it’s open if you wish to log in utilizing your face.

Battery life

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HP packed a 46 watt-hour battery into the Elite Folio’s diminutive chassis, which is lower than some rivals. The Spectre x360 14, for instance, has 67 watt-hours out there. The Qualcomm CPU is meant to be very environment friendly, nevertheless, and so I used to be anticipating battery life to excel.

As soon as once more, I used to be restricted within the variety of benchmarks I might run. The PCMark 10 checks wouldn’t run on the Elite Folio, so I used to be restricted to simply our net and video checks. In net testing, which runs by way of a sequence of widespread webpages, the Elite Folio managed slightly below 11 hours, in comparison with the Lenovo Flex 5G with the previous-generation Snapdragon 8cx that went for 17 hours. The Elite Folio’s longevity on this check was barely higher than common for latest Intel Eleventh-gen Tiger Lake laptops — and lots of lasted for much longer. The Samsung Galaxy Ebook Professional 360 with a Core i7-1165G7, for instance, lasted for greater than 1.5 hours longer. I anticipated higher efficiency from the Elite Folio on this check.

On our video check that loops by way of a 1080p film trailer, the Elite Folio lasted for 19-and-a-half hours. That’s a robust displaying, however once more, it’s nicely behind the Lenovo Flex 5G’s 28 hours. The Galaxy Ebook Professional 360 made it to 17.5 hours, and once more the Elite Folio underwhelmed given its environment friendly ARM CPU.

There’s little question that the Elite Folio will final a full day of labor, however it doesn’t fairly reside as much as its processor’s promise. That is perhaps as a result of comparatively small battery capability, which is a perform of the laptop’s diminutive base portion. Regardless of the case, the HP Elite Folio lasts longer than your common Intel-based laptop, however it’s removed from being the longest-lasting among the many different Snapdragon-based laptops we’ve examined.

Our take

The Spectre Folio was a standout machine when it was launched in 2018. Its leather-based was luxurious, and its design progressive. The Elite Folio gives the identical design, modified barely to be much more efficient because of the show’s 3:2 side ratio. I’ll observe that the vegan leather-based materials isn’t as viscerally pleasing as the real leather-based on the Spectre Folio, however it’s nonetheless extra snug than naked steel.

The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 underwhelmed. Its efficiency wasn’t a lot improved over the earlier technology, and it stays a slower CPU that complicates issues with restricted utility compatibility. And the Elite Folio’s battery life is aggressive with Intel-based laptops, however it must be higher. It’s not unhealthy; it’s simply doesn’t reside as much as its potential.

General, the laptop is nice to make use of, with an awesome keyboard and pen, and it gives quick always-on connectivity choices. In the event you want a 2-in-1 you could take anyplace and get work accomplished, albeit somewhat extra slowly, then the Elite Folio is an effective selection.

Are there any options?

The Lenovo Flex 5G may use the previous-generation processor, however it performs nearly in addition to the Elite Folio and will get much better battery life. As with our different options, it’s additionally a number of hundred {dollars} much less. You’ll simply have to surrender the pull-forward design and the vegan leather-based.

The HP Spectre x360 14 is a superior 2-in-1 when it comes to efficiency and, with a decrease decision show, competes in battery life. We reviewed the mannequin with the OLED show, and that machine is inexpensive than the Elite Folio whereas providing a vastly superior visible expertise.

The Dell XPS 13 9310 is a strong selection in case you don’t want a 2-in-1. It’s simply as well-built, additionally has a wonderful keyboard, and outperforms the Elite Folio. Get the Full HD show and also you’ll see comparable battery life whereas spending lots of much less.

How lengthy will it final?

The Elite Folio ought to final for years because of a strong construct — so long as the vegan leather-based materials holds out, which we gained’t know till it’s been subjected to the same old remedy. There’s solely a one-year guarantee, which is trade normal and disappointing for a business laptop. Be aware that it’s simply $75 to improve to a three-year guarantee, which is a cut price.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, if you have to work anyplace and also you just like the pull-forward 2-in-1 design.

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