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Review: HP EliteBook Folio G1 offers lightweight business computing

Brian Nadel | May 18, 2016
HP's latest Windows 10 laptop comes in touch and non-touch versions; it offers a bright display, great keyboard and a variety of options.

The Folio can take a beating on the road -- the family of laptops has passed the Mil-Std 810G tests, including those for vibration and shock, dust intrusion, drops from 30 in. and extreme temperatures. However, it lacks a spill-resistant keyboard.

The laptop has one of the most responsive keyboards around. Its 18.2mm keys provide a generous 1.4mm of depth with excellent control and backlighting that can be controlled with a dedicated key in the keyboard's top row of function keys. The function keys have been primarily assigned to such chores as answering and hanging up IP phone calls, adjusting the volume and muting the microphone and the speakers.

The Folios are equipped with Intel's M-6Y75 processor that can run between 1.2GHz and 3.1GHz, depending on its tasks. It uses only 4.5 watts of power, about what a nightlight consumes, allowing the Folio to go without a fan. When I checked the heat with a Fluke infrared non-contact thermometer, the touch UHD system never got above 92.5 degrees Fahrenheit and the non-touch never broke 87.5 degrees.

The Folio comes with 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 wireless connections, along with WiDi capabilities.

Although the Folio's Bang & Olufsen tuned audio has speakers positioned underneath the system and pointing down, they delivered excellent balance among bass, treble and midrange tones. I had good-quality audio with spoken word programming, music or a Skype call -- and they can get surprisingly loud. You can tune the sound with B&O's software graphic equalizer.

In addition to a headphone jack, the Folio is equipped with two USB-C ports, which let you charge the system while using a USB-connected accessory. It comes with a USB-C-to-USB 3.0 adapter and another for USB-C-to-Ethernet connections. However, the system lacks an SD card slot, something that I've taken for granted in this genre.

HP also offers two optional docking stations. One provides five USB ports as well as Ethernet, HDMI and DisplayPort connections for $149 (vendor price). The other, which I had a chance to test out, is the HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 65W Dock, which costs $209 (vendor price). It has four USB connectors along with audio, Ethernet VGA and two DisplayPort connectors that can drive a pair of monitors at once. The dock worked well when I used it to connect the Folio with USB thumb drives, an Ethernet connection and an HD display.

The Folio includes Windows 10 Pro and a second-generation Trusted Platform Module that can make remote log-ins airtight. Other security includes HP's SureStart BIOS protection that doesn't allow the notebook to be started with rogue firmware, as well as HP TouchPoint Manager, which is meant to help companies manage a fleet of systems in a secure cloud database.


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