I have been a big fan of Ultrabooks every since the day they were launched. Despite my reservations with their pricing, I have felt that these are the devices that we need to carry to get work done. Ask me, for I have been using one for the past couple of years and managing wonderfully well. Ultrabooks are light, powerful and functional, making them the perfect next generation laptops. But despite the push the got from Intel as well as most of the EOMs, they have not really flown off the shelves. The biggest impact of Ultrabooks has been in forcing manufacturers to make the average laptop thinner and lighter.
I have got to test an Ultrabook after a really long gap. And the HP Elitebook Folio 1040 G1 seems to have been well worth the wait.
Full specs: 14-inch diagonal HD+ anti-glare SVA (1600 x 900), Windows 7 Professional 64, Intel Core i7 4600U 2.10 GHz with DDR3L SDRAM 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD ROM, Intel HD5 Graphics 4400, 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 3.0 Charging, DisplayPort 1.2, Micro-SD card reader supports SD, SDHC, SDXC, 6-Cell (42Whr) polymer long life battery, 1.49 kg
The Elitebook Folio 1040 G1 is close to being a textbook Ultrabook. It is thin at a maximum thickness of 0.63 inches and weighs just 1.49 kg despite being 14-inch laptop. I am sure a lot of people who lug 2.5-laptops to office and back home every day will be sacking their lips in anticipation. But despite being thin, the G1 has a solid built. The matte aluminium unibody design will withstand much more than the rigours of your day in the office. The speaker grille is above the keyboard and is flanked by the power and volume/wireless buttons. The keyboard is full-size and backlit. The keys have the right amount of travel and reminded me a lot of the Mac series. There is a fingerprint scanner just under the keys as if to remind you that this is an upper management sort of device. There is also a smartcard reader for those who need more security.
However, the biggest feature in the design is the innovative multi-gesture touchpad which lets you do much more than pinch and swipe. The trackpad can record two different finger movements letting you do things like drag and drop. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but it easy once mastered. However, you will have some initial trouble moving from a regular trackpad as this one done to have click buttons.
HP claims its travel-tough hardware that passes 12 MIL-STD 810G tests such as drop, shock, vibration, sand, humidity, altitude, and freeze/thaw, but I couldn’t risk testing any of the above. The device is also compatible with Ultra Slim docks for those who will be using this as a desktop replacement.
The review device was the entry model in this range and came with a 14” diagonal HD+ anti-glare SVA (1600 x 900p), but there is a Full HD version if you are willing to spend more. At this price point, however, I would have expected HP to pack a 1080p screen, especially since they haven’t added touch. However, the HD screen is good enough for the average business user. The viewing angles are a bit tight, especially if you are watching video. The G1 speakers are good enough for you to make a presentation in a large room and that is a huge plus. So the end of the Beats partnership does not seem to have really hit HP in the audio department.
This might sound like exaggeration, but the G1 does pack a punch. The Intel Core i7 4600U clocked at 2.10 GHz is as good as it gets in a chassis of this size. All that power does mean the G1 has a bigger thermal footprint and does heat up after almost an hour of continuous work. But it does not feel wanting even for a second, whatever you might be up to. Multi-tab browsing, working on large spread sheets, editing high-res photographs… nothing will stump this device. This is among the most powerful Ultrabooks I have seen and there are not a lot of them around these days.
But the G1 that I had did not run Windows 8.1 out of the box and instead had Window 7 Pro version. This could explain why there was no touchscreen, there was no need for one.
The G1 has decent battery life, though nowhere near the 10 hours that was once promised of Ultrabooks. With very heavy internet and multi-media usage I got about 5 hours out of this one. With a lower volume and dimmer screen, I was able to squeeze in an hour more.
This version comes with 128GB of SSD storage and that is what keep this so light and fast.
The HP Elitebook Folio 1040 G1 is by no means a cheap device with a starting price tab of Rs 90,000. However, this device is clearly meant for upper management business users and packs several security features as well as a dock connection option. In that range, this is definitely among the best devices available in the market.