- ProsLight and compact body. Includes two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 support.
- ConsRequires adapters for many common ports.
- Bottom LineThe HP EliteBook Folio G1 is a capable ultraportable with solid battery life and a minimal design that should attract consumers, small business users, and those in the executive suite.
Joel Santo Domingo
With a machined aluminum body that makes it resemble an Apple MacBook, the 1080p HP EliteBook Folio G1 (starting at $999, $1,469 as tested) is a business laptop that doesn’t look like one. It rivals our top pick for business laptops, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, and the MacBook in packing the most technology into a small laptop, and makes a better value proposition than its almost-identical sibling, the HP EliteBook Folio G1 (4K UHD), by trading its 4K touch screen and 256GB of storage for a savings of almost $300, while still giving you features like USB-C connectivity, a fanless Intel Core m7 processor, and plenty of RAM.
Design and Features
Although the EliteBook Folio G1 offers different screen options, most of the features don’t vary much between the models. For a detailed discussion of the system’s body, and other characteristics that are the same regardless of which unit you choose, check out our review of the 4K UHD version.
This version of the EliteBook Folio G1 comes in a matte silver case that’s almost identical to that system’s, and it has nearly the same compact measurements (0.49 by 11.5 by 8.23 inches, HWD), though it weighs a little less (2.14 versus 2.36 pounds). Its 12.5-inch 1080p HD non-touch LCD screen is a bit of a step down from the top-of-the-line model’s 4K UHD (3,840-by-2,160 resolution) IPS display. Text and visuals are more detailed and sharper on the 4K screen, but 1080p is fine for most business tasks like email, word processing, and video conferencing. The 2,304-by-1,440-resolution screen on the 12-inch MacBook and the QHD+ (3,200 by 1,800 resolution) screen on the 13.3-inch Dell XPS 13 Touch (2016) both have more room than the EliteBook’s display. That said, 1080p is a fairly common resolution for business laptops; among others, it’s used on the Acer Travelmate P645-SG-79QV.
Like other EliteBook Folio G1 units, this one comes with 8GB of non-upgradable memory, plus our review unit came with 256GB of SSD storage. Aside from a few HP and Microsoft utilities, there’s not really any preloaded software on the machine—just what you want from a business system. This EliteBook is covered by a one-year warranty, which is pretty standard for consumer laptops, but the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon covers you for a full three years.
The EliteBook Folio G1 is powered by an Intel Core m7-6Y75 processor and uses Integrated Intel HD Graphics 515. The system’s performance on the PCMark 8 Work Conventional test (a score of 3,029) was better than average, well above what we saw from the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 (1,464), which has the prior-generation Core M processor. It surpassed the performance of the HP EliteBook 745 G3 (2,277), which has an AMD Pro A12 processor, as well as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2,733), Lenovo ThinkPad T450s (2,937), and other systems with Core i5 processors. The latest generation of Core M processors seems to do particularly well with the office productivity and video conferencing tasks PCMark measures.
See How We Test Laptops
The EliteBook showed competitive results on the multimedia tests. It completed the Handbrake test in 2 minutes, 47 seconds and the Photoshop test in 4:33. That’s slower than some of the systems that have Core i5 and i7 processors, but ahead of the Apple MacBook and HP EliteBook 745 G3. That’s also a little faster than the 4K version of the EliteBook, so overall it’s not too bad for creative managers who travel.
Battery life on the 1080p version of the EliteBook is good: 9 hours, 36 minutes, which certainly qualifies for all-day computing. In contrast, the 4K model ran out of juice 2 hours earlier (7:39), because its more advanced screen puts a bigger hit on the battery. The 1080p EliteBook G1 outlasted many business systems, such as the ThinkPad T450s, the EliteBook Folio 1020, and the EliteBook 745 G3, each of which lasted 6 to 7 hours, but couldn’t quite compete with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and t he MacBook, which held on for more than 10 hours. If you like the EliteBook Folio form factor but absolutely need long battery life, we’d pick the 1080p version over the 4K version.
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Compared with its 4K-equipped sibling, whose sharp looks and generally compelling feature set it shares, the 1080p HD version of the HP EliteBook Folio G1 trades screen resolution and storage space for more battery life and a smaller price tag. For that reason, we think it’s a better buy for most users. That said, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon also has an attractive minimalist design, but increases the screen resolution; adds multiple traditional I/O connectors like HDMI and USB 3.0, a spill-resistant keyboard, and longer battery life; and boasts superior performance that helps offset its slightly heavier weight and higher price, so it’s still our Editors’ Choice for business laptops. But for those who really like its appearance and its low weight, the HP EliteBook Folio G1 is still a good way to go.
Other Hewlett-Packard Laptops & Notebooks
HP EliteBook Folio G1 (4K UHD)
HP EliteBook 745 G3
HP Elitebook Folio 1040 G1
HP Envy 14 Spectre
By Joel Santo Domingo
Joel Santo Domingo is the Lead Analyst for the Desktops team at PC Magazine Labs. He joined PC Magazine in 2000, after 7 years of IT work for companies large and small. His background includes managing mobile, desktop and network infrastructure on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms. Joel is proof that you can escape the retail grind: he wore a yellow polo shirt early in his tech career. Along the way Joel earned a BA in English Literature and an MBA in Information Technology…