HP's Folio 13 is the company's first ultrabook model aimed at business and professional users, designed to offer the latest Intel processors in a sleek, stylish and highly portable format.
Available in the UK since February, the Folio is an eye-catching ultraportable laptop that appears to have a decent battery life for mobile workers. However, it also exhibits a curious blend of corporate and consumer features which suggest that HP is not entirely sure who the target market is for the Folio 13.
For example, although the Folio has a trusted platform module (TPM) security chip, its battery is internal and non-removable, a feature more in keeping with consumer devices, plus it features Dolby audio support. It also lacks full support for Intel's vPro security and management technology.
This impression is reinforced by HP's decision to offer Currys and PC World exclusive distribution of the Folio in this country, although corporate accounts can presumably still source it directly from HP.
Like other ultrabook models, the Folio 13 is based on the latest Intel Core i5 processors, comes with a 13.3in display, and ships with a solid state disk (SSD) in place of a standard hard drive. It also boots relatively quickly, with Windows being ready to use just over 20 seconds after pushing the power button in our tests.
But while Toshiba's Portégé Z830 lived up to the thin-and-light promise of the ultrabook platform, HP's model is scarcely thinner or lighter than many non-ultrabook models.
At 1.5kg in weight and 18mm thick, the Folio is roughly comparable with Lenovo's X300 series from a couple of years back, which managed to squeeze in a DVD drive, something the Folio lacks.
This is not to say that the Folio is too heavy to easily carry around, and the laptop actually feels reassuringly sturdy, which is always a bonus for a system that will probably spend most of its life being carried around or used on the move.
The Folio certainly looks impressive, thanks to the brushed aluminium cover and metallic HP logo, a look that extends inside the lid. Another nice touch is the set of small and very discrete LED indicators actually fitted to the power button and the caps lock key, as well as other places.
When opened up, HP's 13.3in BrightView screen fills the lid nicely, with little wasted empty space surrounding it. This delivers a very decent 1366 x 768 image, but we found it suffered from glare in some ambient light conditions, so could be hard to read.
A high-definition webcam with a resolution of up to 1280 x 1024 is located just above the display.
The system keyboard is one of the ‘chiclet' style, with flat slab-like keys that have a soft feel to them. The key tops are large enough to make for convenient typing, although the keys themselves have very little travel, a feature not uncommon with laptops.