HP this morning announced the new business-focused EliteBook Folio, which it bills as its thinnest and lightest notebook ever. Like other modern super-portable PCs, this device is powered by Intel Core M processors, but it can be had with a 4K display as well.
So let’s start with the big news: Thin and light. The 12.5-inch EliteBook Folio comes in at just 12.4 mm thin—as thin as a AA-battery, HP says—which is just a hair (almost literally) thinner than the 12.95 mm achieved by the HP Envy Notebook I love so much. But it’s demonstrably lighter than the Envy Notebook, too, coming in at just 2.2 pounds, where the Envy is 2.81 pounds.
You might argue that comparing the EliteBook Pro to other HPs is sort of besides the point, and I’ve seen some claim that this new PC is HP’s answer to the MacBook Air. It’s not, not really, as it’s a business PC. (The HP Envy Notebook more obviously lines up against the Air, as I noted in my first look.) But let’s make the comparison, since it really emphasizes how out-of-date/long-in-the-tooth Apple’s years-old design is getting: The MacBook Air is significantly thicker (at 17 mm) and heavier (2.96 pounds) than the EliteBook Folio. There is no comparison.
Apple, of course, realizes this. But as the new MacBook proves, it can currently achieve very thin and very light form factors only with huge sacrifices to the quality of the keyboard and trackpad. I’m curious to see how they respond with a new Air design in 2016, but for now let’s just compare the Macbook. Which is 13 mm thick and weighs 2.03 pounds. So a bit thicker than the HP, and a bit lighter.
Like that MacBook, the HP is powered by a 6th generation Intel Core M processor, which is a necessary trade-off for this kind of form factor. I’m still mixed on Core M: Day-to-day performance in productivity apps is absolutely fine, but the process of installing apps, curiously, seems to bog down for some reason.
And like that MacBook, the HP is all-in with USB-C. Of course, not being Apple, HP actually provides enough expansion, with two USB-C ports instead of just one. It’s also powered by 8 GB of RAM and fast PCIe SSD storage, and can achieve up to 10 hours of battery life.
The screen, as noted, is 12.5 inches. It’s edge-to-edge, which is trendy these days, but can be outfitted with an optional Ultra HD (UHD) 4K display with a pixel density of 352 pixels per inch. That is nuts, people.
The HP is of course a lot less than Apple’s offerings and will start at $999 when it begins shipping in March. By comparison, the new MacBook starts at $1299, or $300 more.