HP EliteBook Folio 1020: Thin and rugged for the enterprise

  • Editors' rating
    8.1 Excellent
  • $1,649.00


  • Thin yet rugged
  • High-resolution display option
  • Good keyboard


  • Battery life
  • Erratic touch pad
  • Highly reflective glossy screen
  • Expensive

The first thing you notice about the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 is how thin it is; at just 0.62 inches it is thinner than most laptops. It only weighs 2.68 pounds, and the compact form makes it all the more impressive that HP was able to ruggedize the chassis to stand up to the hard knocks of the work force.

The 1020 is available with a high-resolution (2560 x 1440) touch screen which is beautiful on our review unit. It is not as bright as other laptops we've tested, but it still looks good. Touch operation is precise, and interacting with Windows 8.1 is natural.

HP EliteBook Folio 1020 specifications as reviewed:

  • CPU: Intel Core M-5Y71
  • Display: 12.5-inch touch screen, 2560 x 1440
  • Memory/ storage: 8GB / 256GB
  • Ports: 2- USB 3.0, HDMI, docking slot, audio, power, microSD
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n/ac); Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: 36 WHr, 7 hours observed
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.27 x 0.62 inches
  • Weight: 2.68 pounds

Rugged hardware

Stepping around the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 you find the aluminum casing that keeps it light is also quite durable. HP has incorporated mil-spec ruggedization in this small frame, a plus for use in the enterprise. It can easily stand up to the bumps of the road for regular business travelers. The slightly rubberized bottom of the unit is a nice touch that provides a secure grip for holding the laptop.

On the left of the base is the Kensington lock port, full sized HDMI, USB 3.0, and a microSD slot. The right side houses the audio in/out jack, another USB 3.0, a docking slot, and the power jack.

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Opening the lid exposes the 12.5-inch display, a 720p web cam, and the keyboard and touch pad. The touch pad uses HP's ForcePad technology that lacks physical buttons. It uses pressure sensitivity to determine when the user is trying to click the pad. This takes a while to get used to and occasionally triggers unintended actions. In testing this required thinking carefully about how hands were placed on the palm rest as slightly brushing the edge of the touch pad resulted in the cursor moving around.

Taking it for a spin

The Intel Core M processor inside the 1020 runs Windows 8.1 nicely, with good performance at all times. The fanless design of the Core M is what makes the thin laptop form possible. The 1020 does not run hot despite the lack of a fan, although it does get noticeably warm under a heavy load. This performance is aided by the 8GB of memory inside the review unit. The 240GB of flash storage is fast which keeps things running quickly.

Touch operation is as expected, both with the touch screen and the touchpad. This takes full advantage of Windows, and should be even better once Windows 10 ships.

The chiclet keys have a nice feel due to the tactile feedback that is just resistant enough. The low profile keys have reasonable travel to help with this. It's not the best keyboard on a laptop I've tested but it's good enough for rapid typing. There is a fingerprint reader on the right side of the keyboard between the keys and the front of the base.

Less than perfect

Overall the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 is a solid enterprise quality laptop, but it does fall short in several areas. Battery life is not very good as we only consistently got around seven hours on a charge in our testing. It won't last all day, especially when traveling. I expected better battery life due to the Core M processor and was surprised to find it didn't last longer.

As mentioned, the ForcePad technology HP used with the touch pad is not ideal. It is too erratic and during testing I never felt comfortable using it. I experienced too many jumps of the cursor that impacted the work I was doing, even after turning sensitivity way down in the settings.

The third area where the 1020 falls short is the glossy screen. It's not worse than other laptops with a similar display but as is common with them the glossy screen is highly reflective in bright light. On the 1020 it impacts usability not only outdoors in sunlight but even when working in bright rooms indoors.

The skinny

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 is a well-constructed laptop that is suited for the enterprise. It is one of the thinnest enterprise grade laptops, and doesn't sacrifice mil-spec ruggedization in the process. It features decent performance and meets expectations in all but a few areas.

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 pricing starts at $1,249 from HP. The review unit as configured is $1,649.

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Packaged Quantity 1
Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Processor / Chipset
CPU Intel Core M 5Y71 / 1.2 GHz
Max Turbo Speed 2.9 GHz
Number of Cores Dual-Core
Cache L3 - 4 MB
64-bit Computing Yes
Features Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Cache Memory
Type L3 cache
Installed Size 4 MB
Memory Speed 1600 MHz
Configuration Features provided memory is soldered
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
Installed Size 8 GB
Interface Serial ATA-600
Max Supported Size 8 GB
Technology LPDDR3 SDRAM
Speed 1600 MHz
Form Factor SO-DIMM 204-pin
LCD Backlight Technology LED backlight
Widescreen Display Yes
Monitor Features QHD ultra wide-viewing angle (UWVA) eDP anti-glare, Ultra Slim Design
Type LED
Touchscreen yes
Diagonal Size (metric) 31.8 cm
Display Resolution Abbreviation WQHD
Audio & Video
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 5300
Integrated Webcam Yes
Sound Stereo speakers, stereo microphone
Audio Codec IDT 92HD91
Hard Drive
Type SSD
SSD Form Factor M.2
Capacity 256 GB
Type ForcePad, keyboard
Features spill-resistant, touchpad with gesture support, volume control
Wireless Protocol 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
Wireless Controller Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265
Optical Storage
Drive Type no optical drive
Type none
CPU Type Core M
Processor Number 5Y71
Manufacturer Intel
Clock Speed 1.2 GHz
Card Reader
Type card reader
Supported Flash Memory microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC
Capacity 36 Wh
Cells 4-cell
Technology lithium polymer
Run Time (Up To) 9 hour(s)
AC Adapter
Input AC 120/230 V (50/60 Hz)
Output 45 Watt
Connections & Expansion
Interfaces 2 x USB 3.0
Headphone/microphone combo jack
LAN (on supplied cable)
VGA (on supplied cable)
Memory Card Reader Yes (microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC)
Brand HP
Product Line HP EliteBook Folio
Model 1020 G1
Packaged Quantity 1
Compatibility PC
Data Link Protocol Bluetooth 4.0, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n, NFC
Wireless NIC Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265
Case Material magnesium-aluminum alloy
Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip, fingerprint reader
Features 2 x USB 3.0 charging port, Full Volume Encryption, HP 3D DriveGuard, HP Automatic Drive Lock, HP BIOS Protection, HP DisplaySafe, HP Drive Encryption, HP DriveLock, HP DuraFinish, HP DuraKeys, HP File Sanitizer, HP SpareKey, HP SureStart, Master Record Security, Power On Authentication, Pre-Boot Security, Pre-boot Authentication
Compliant Standards ACPI, RoHS, WEEE, WHQL
Included Accessories power adapter
Theft/Intrusion Protection security lock slot (cable lock sold separately)
Security Slot Type Kensington security slot
Diagonal Size 12.5 in
Platform Technology Intel vPro Technology
Notebook Type thin and light
Platform Windows
Hard Drive Capacity 256 GB
Dockable Yes
Embedded Security Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2) Security Chip
Security Devices fingerprint reader
Dimensions & Weight
Width 12.2 in
Depth 8.3 in
Height 0.6 in
Audio Output
Compliant Standards DTS Studio Sound, High Definition Audio
Environmental Standards
ENERGY STAR Certified Yes
Physical Characteristics
Weight 2.8 lbs
Operating System / Software
OS Provided: Type Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit Edition
Type Absolute Data Protect, Adobe Flash Player, Bing Toolbar, CyberLink PowerDVD BD Edition, Foxit PhantomPDF Express, Getting Started guide with Windows 8, HP BIOS Configuration Utility (free download), HP BIOSphere, HP CIK for Microsoft SCCM, HP Client Catalog (free download), HP Client Security Manager, HP Device Access Manager, HP Drive Packs (free download), HP Exclusive, HP File Sanitizer, HP Hotkey Support, HP PageLift, HP Secure Erase, HP SoftPaq Download Manager (free download), HP Spare Key, HP Support Assistant, HP Systems Software Manager (free download), HP UEFI System Diagnostics, HP Wireless Hotspot, HP ePrint
Video Output
Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 5300
Graphics Processor Series Intel HD Graphics
Notebook Camera
Integrated Webcam Yes
Input Device
Backlight Yes