HP Folio 13

When Intel and various industry partners started talking about “ultra-books” as competition against Apple and tablets, I was more than a little skeptical. Ultra-books are small and light weight – but not cheap (average price being around $1,000) and rather underpowered compared to what you can get for the same money with a more traditional laptop (they are basically MacBook Air knock-offs). I had written them off almost as soon as they were announced.

I really expected the ultra-book to be a fad, and a short-lived one at that.

Then came the HP Folio 13 – my desktop recently failed, and since then I’ve been using my 2-year-old ASUS G73 as my only machine. While the G73 is great – it’s also massive, hot, and heavy. After parting with my unused camera gear, I acquired a Folio 13 to act as my main laptop, leaving the G73 to play the role of desktop / development machine.

Within a couple of hours of getting the Folio 13 it was clear, I was in love.

It’s not quite the love I felt when I first found the iPad, but it’s an amazing machine. Fast, super-light, and the battery goes on forever – it’s the ideal laptop. With the power of my G73 available anytime via RDP, I think this combination is about as good as it gets.

Here’s a rough overview of the Folio:

  • Intel Core i3 / i5**
  • 128GB SSD
  • 4GB RAM
  • 13.3″ 1366×768 display
  • 9 hour battery (so far 7-8 hours seems to be the realistic number)
  • Brushed aluminum case
  • 3.3lbs

Also included are the normal things you would expect, like a web cam, Bluetooth, etc..

I’ve been extremely impressed with what this little thing can do, from large compiles to generating Jekyll sites, it’s more capable than I expected. So far it’s handled everything I’ve thrown at it – and most taking around the same time as my G73 would (and some taking less, thanks to the Folio’s SSD).

I’ll be doing most of my writing and non-development work on the Folio, and the G73 will still be my go-to system anytime I need Visual Studio or other heavy-weight development tools (though I’d be willing to bet, it’ll be via RDP from the Folio more often than not).

Overall: I’m extremely pleased. It’s a great device – it has the battery life and portability of a tablet (i.e. an iPad), with the power and flexibility of a traditional laptop.

** The Core i3 version is less expense, and thanks to the lower power consumption, it also stretches the battery life better than the i5 – making it a win-win.