What’s in a name? I really can’t dive into this review without first laying out the confusing naming convention.
At the top right of the LCD frame: Folio 9470m
Bottom left of body: EliteBook
Bottom right of body: Ultrabook
I get it - this is the Folio model of the EliteBook line which is categorized as an Ultrabook as inspired by Intel. But come on, do you think the average person will understand that?!
And now, the review:
This elegant, lightweight Ultrabook is a pleasure to operate. The chassis is a made of magnesium brushed with a coat of silver. The bottom, however is black and made of brushed-aluminum. It’s lightweight (only 3.6 lbs), and measures at 13.3 x 9.1 x 0.75. Enthusiasts will note, this is not light for an Ultrabook. That’s because of the VGA and Ethernet ports found on the right side of the laptop. There is also a proprietary docking port found on the right side, along with 2 USB 3.0 ports, a DisplayPort and an SD/MMC card reader. The left side includes a Kensington lock slot, a smart card reader, a headphone jack and a USB 3.0 port.
The HP UltraSlim docking station is unnecessary in my opinion. It adds 4 USB 3.0 ports, VGA, DisplayPort, an Ethernet port and AC power. So really, you’re not gaining much more than HP already included in the laptop. This must have been by design. Their docking station is in line with competitors, but the laptop itself has many additional features. As a traveling business professional, I can tell you from experience that I would rather not need the docking station and tote around a laptop that has the Folio 9470m’s features than a pure Ultrabook that is 60% the weight. The difference in 1-2 pounds is not life altering and doesn’t yield more comfortable travel.
- Intel Core i5-3427U CPU @ 1.80GHz/2.30GHz, 3MB L3 cache, 2 cores
- 8GB DDR 3 RAM SDRAM
- 180GB SATA SSD
- 14″ diagnoal LED-backlig HD anti-glare (1366 x 768)
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11a/b/g/n (2×2) and Bluetooth 4.0 combo
- 4-cell Li-Ion battery
The laptop ships with Windows 8, but I decided to load this with Windows 7, as it is more comfortable for business use. I can proudly say this laptop did not ship with any bloatware. Not even the typical, crappy anti-virus software trial.
I travel light. No exceptions. I use the same, compact North Face hiking backpack on my 3 night trips cross-country as I use for trips to Europe. I don’t check a bag. I take a carry-on that weighs no more than 35lbs when packed. Again, I pack the same way regardless of the destination. Most business professionals that I know, are like me in this regard. They understand that traveling for business loses it’s luster quickly. Travel becomes a necessary evil. And one of the best ways to fight that evil is convenient travel. I’ve flown cross-country 4 times in 4 weeks with this laptop, and it’s a dream. It fits perfectly in my North Face backpack along with my iPad Mini, Kindle, and PS Vita. When I need to work, it powers-on quickly and has a long enough battery life to get me through an average flight.
The typical business suite of software, such as Microsoft Office and (cough) Internet Explorer, run quite well. Opening large PDFs is a little sluggish. But you’re able to multi-task while waiting for the document to load. I’ve also used this laptop for presentations where I’ve connected the laptop to a projector through HDMI. The switch is fairly quick from laptop screen to projector.
Competition & Conclusion
As a salesman, I worry about not only how well I am dressed, but also how my laptop looks. Walking into a meeting with an 8lb laptop or a machine covered with plastic and fingerprints, is extremely unprofessional. This is a sexy Ultrabook. I travel with a light backpack that includes my PS Vita, iPad, and Kindle. Throwing this Ultrabook into the mix is not a challenge whatsoever. Thus, if you travel a lot for business and need a good performer that is lightweight, but well featured, this is the Ultrabook for you.