Ultrabook laptops are now becoming a trend in the laptop computers world. Busy people need laptop computers, but not just any. Some are too large, bulky and heavy, while others are tiny and cause eye strain as you try to focus on the small 10” screen. Some laptop computers have incredibly short battery life.
But the fact of the matter is that people want something that is light, fast, easy on the eyes and overall, affordable. The fact that the ultrabook laptop market can be expensive can be a deterrent for people. If you walk into a computer sales store, you’ll be pushed towards the more expensive ultrabook laptops most of the time. So I’ll do my best to explain why you don’t need anything upwards of $1300 in regards to an ultrabook laptop. I guess the first thing people want to know is what this is like in comparison to a MacBook Air, Apples’ flagship ultrabook laptop.
Since this laptop is a 13”, we’ll compare Apples with apples (get it? No?) The MacBook Air: 13-inch : 128GB • 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor • 4GB memory • 128GB flash storage1 • Intel HD Graphics 3000 • A$ 1,449.00
So, this seems somewhat reasonable, and the specs of the 128GB SSD model match those of the HP Folio-13 ultrabook laptop. The only difference is a 1.6GHz processor. In comparison, you wouldn’t notice the difference when carrying out even the most intensive tasks. For an extra $350 you get a hard drive upgrade from 128GB SSD to 256GB SSD. But before we proceed, what is an SSD? In case you don’t know, an SSD is a Solid State Drive that is a 2.5” hard drive which has no platter, so no spinning. Which means information can be transferred and written much faster. The disadvantage of this is that they are relatively costly, however a quick search on SSD prices will tell you that you can upgrade from 128GB to 256GB for less than $200. But what does this have to do with everything? I’ve surely done a lot of rambling on about things but haven’t really identified why you should buy this particular ultrabook laptop.
In terms of price, this ultrabook, the HP Folio-13, comes valued in at $1100-$1300 depending on where you buy from. In comparison to the MacBook air price, this is obviously cheaper. For this range of price, you are getting similar speed, performance and hard drive space to some of the higher end ultrabook laptops. But why not go for the better ones? If you’re a die-hard performance freak, you’ll probably end up returning the higher end ones. They contain an i7 processor, which is essentially design to be in a desktop computer. As I work in a particular retail store, we have had a high rate of returns on the i7 models. Simply because they aren’t built well, have half the battery life, and overall have no real noticeable boost in performance.
For this ultrabook, the i5 is an ideal medium between the i3 (essentially designed for small netbooks, and the i7. The i5 has 2 cores and 2 virtual cores, meaning that it will essentially get the job done. That’s really all you need to know. It gets the job done fast and effectively. We’ll move onto the RAM next; Random Access Memory. This essentially dictates how many programs/processes you can have running at once until you begin to notice a significant decrease in performance, and an increase in lag. Think of this as a buffer. And that’s really all you need to know about RAM. For an ultrabook, the extent of things you’ll be doing on this will mean the 4GB is more than plenty, and to be honest you could get away with 2GB.
If you’re keen on gaming, read this section, if not you can skip this section. This ultrabook comes with an Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics card. What does this mean for gaming? Not much. You can get away with playing some recent games on low settings and achieve around 30-40fps. Older games (pre 2003) you can probably get away with playing on higher settings and achieve similar frame rates. Notebook Check does a really nice review on this graphics unit and you should definitely check it out for benchmarks, etc: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-3000.37948.0.html
Most ultrabooks will boast battery life of between 6 to 8 hours. With the HP Folio-13 ultrabook, if all you want to do is type things on Microsoft OneNote, Word or any other application like these, you can turn of the wifi button, and achieve 10 hours of battery life. I use this in uni a lot and it’s simply amazing. If you turn the wifi on, you’ll get around 7 hours of battery life. Furthermore, this charges relatively fast, often achieving a full charge from empty battery to 100% within 2 hours.
This ultrabook handles pretty well too. By this I mean the mouse pad and the keypad. The mouse pad will come with standard features such as two finger scrolling, and various other actions that allow you to zoom, etc. The keypad also feels really nice and is backlit too (with the option of turning it on or off). I somewhat prefer the MacBook mouse pads though. I find that it is the most smooth, however this ultrabooks mouse pad is relatively smooth and has a nice feel to it. Overall, the HP Folio 13 is topped off with a nice finish to the material, a light sort of metal (I’m not too sure on). It doesn’t really scratch which is a good thing. The screen is nice, a standard 13.3″ LED provides the ultrabook a nice glossy sort of finish, however it is quite prone to fingerprints, so just be careful with that.
So what is my final verdict on this ultrabook? Quite simply it’s money well spent. And I couldn’t have asked for a light, fast and reliable ultrabook. I will rate this 9/10. The only downside to this is that you have a lot of unnecessary HP and other software preinstalled to this, and it’s best to remove these immediately.
NB: Please note that ultrabooks do not have CD Drives and therefore you will have to transfer things via USB.