The BYOD trend in recent years has been a wake-up call for manufacturers of business notebooks, who have realised that uninspired corporate-issue laptops will often be circumvented by employees in favour of more compelling devices. HP Inc's new EliteBook Folio G1 is a prime example. According to the company, this slim, elegant, aluminium-chassis 12.5-inch notebook brings "premium consumer design into a commercial-grade device". The aim is to combine consumer-level credibility and usability with IT-friendly security, reliability and manageability.
Built around an all-aluminium CNC-cut chassis, the EliteBook Folio measures just 12.4mm thick and weighs less than a kilogram, making it HP's sleekest business-class notebook to date. The metal chassis isn't just for show: all EliteBooks are designed to pass military-grade (MIL-STD 810G) ruggedness testing.
The 12.5in. screen's 180-degree 'piano hinge' allows the Folio to open flat on a desk, but there's no multi-mode capability as seen in 360-degree-hinged devices. The edge-to-edge glass display comes in full-HD non-touch, full-HD touch and 4k (UHD) variants, the latter offering an impressive 352ppi pixel density and supporting 95 percent of the Adobe RGB colour gamut.
CNET hands-on: HP's EliteBook Folio G1 may be the pro-level 12-inch laptop you've been looking for
The EliteBook Folio, which comes with Windows 10 Pro, uses Intel's 6th-generation Core-M vPro processors, whose low power consumption allows fanless operation and helps towards a claimed battery life of 10 hours.
Connections are minimal, but bang up to date, in the shape of two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support. An optional USB-C Travel Dock will be available closer to the Folio's launch in March, providing extra ports.
HP is keen to stress the EliteBook Folio's collaboration credentials, which include dual array microphones with noise-cancelling software and a Bang & Olufsen-tuned 4-speaker system that allows the notebook to be used as a group speakerphone. According to HP, the Folio's speakers deliver 40 percent more loudness than previous business-class devices. There are also dedicated collaboration keys -- including call mute/unmute and a calendar key -- on the HP Premium Keyboard.
Security features include HP's Client Security Software Suite, certified TPM, HP SureStart (BIOS-level protection) and an optional fingerprint reader. Manageability tools available from HP include TouchPoint Manager (featuring software inventory and deployment, plus patch management) and Image Assistant (custom image diagnostics, with a self-help dashboard).
The HP EliteBook Folio is expected to be available in the UK from March starting at €999 (about £733).
The flagship EliteBook Folio is joined by two updated EliteBooks: the 14-inch 1040 G3 and the 800 G3 series, which comes in 12.5-inch, 14-inch and 15.6-inch sizes. While the EliteBook 1040 G3 uses the same all-aluminium chassis design as the Folio, the 800 G3 series uses a new silver magnesium and aluminium body.
The EliteBook 1040 and EliteBook 800 series come with Windows 10 Pro, run on 6th-generation Intel Core vPro processors, and are expected to be available in the UK in January starting at £1,000 and £800 respectively.
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