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HP EliteBook Folio 9470m review

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HP EliteBook Folio 9470m

Although a little heavy for an ultrabook, the EliteBook Folio 9470m redeems itself with a removable battery and desktop dock support, plus other features to appeal to enterprise buyers. However, the lack of a touchscreen means that it is not ideal for Windows 8.

Pros:

Stylish and rugged, removable battery, supports desktop dock

Cons:

Heavy for an ultrabook, no touch capability for Windows 8

Overall Rating:

4 Star Rating: Recommended

Price: £1,295 (as reviewed)

Manufacturer: HP

HP's EliteBook Folio 9470m is one of the first ultrabooks we have seen with Microsoft's Windows 8 platform pre-installed, and shows what business buyers can expect if they choose to invest in new Windows laptops rather than opting for tablets or other devices.

Available now, this EliteBook model was announced by HP some time ago in the middle of 2012, but only started shipping following the launch of the latest version of Windows in October.

Disappointingly for some users, one of the first things you notice about the Folio 9470m is that it lacks a touchscreen, a key selling point of Windows 8.

The display also only supports a resolution of 1366x768 - the bare minimum required for Windows 8's ‘snap' capability, which lets you display one metro-style app as a strip at the side of the screen while using another.

However, business users can set against this a full set of enterprise-friendly features, including a trusted platform (TPM) security chip, fingerprint scanner and smartcard reader for user authentication, plus optional mobile broadband for connectivity while out on the road.

HP EliteBook Folio 9470m

In addition, the Folio 9470m is virtually unique among ultrabooks in featuring a removable battery module, and in supporting a docking port that allows workers to easily connect the laptop to desktop peripherals when in the office. An optional external battery slice is also available to extend the battery life.

These features mean that the EliteBook Folio 9470m is worth evaluating as a potential purchase for those seeking a capable lightweight mobile business client, even if it winds up with Windows 7 deployed on it in place of Windows 8.

Hardware
The EliteBook Folio line is based on Intel's third generation Core processors, with Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 configurations available.

Our evaluation unit was based on the Core i5-3427U, a dual-core mobile chip with a standard clock speed of 1.8GHz, but the ability to ramp up as high as 2.8GHz when high performance is called for, thanks to Intel's Turbo Boost technology.

HP supports up to 16GB of memory on the EliteBook Folio models, but our unit came configured with a more modest 4GB, and the two SODIMM slots were not easy to access, so buyers should consider their requirements carefully before purchase.

Storage options comprise standard hard drives in either 320GB or 500GB capacities, or solid-state disks (SSDs) at 180GB and 256GB capacities, with our model featuring the 180GB drive. Self-encrypting disks are also available, while an optional 32GB Flash Cache module can also be specified to boost disk performance.

Next: Design

Model: HP EliteBook Folio 9470m
Processor: Intel Core i5-3427U dual-core
RAM: 4GB DDR3 memory (max 16GB)
Storage: 180GB SSD (hard drives, self-encrypting drives optional)
Display: 14in HD display (1366x768)
Connectivity: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0
Ports: Ethernet, 3 x USB 3.0, DisplayPort, VGA, docking connector, SD Card slot, smartcard reader
Battery: Four‐cell (52Whr) lithium ion battery
Weight: 1.63kg (as reviewed)
Dimensions: 338x231x189mm

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Daniel Robinson
About

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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