Specifications and performance
The fan is used to cool a configuration that we have seen before: a low-voltage, 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M CPU with two cores and Hyper-Threading, 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM, integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics and a 128GB solid state drive (a Samsung MZMPA128HMFU-000). It performed mostly as expected, recording 59sec in the Blender 3D rendering test, 1min 8sec in the iTunes MP3 encoding test and 3440 in the 3DMark06 graphics test. However, it was a little slower than expected in the DVD-to-Xvid file conversion test, taking 1hr 13min to complete this. The Toshiba Z830, which has the same configuration, finished this test in 1hr 7min.
Nevertheless, the HP felt quick and responsive during everyday use and part of this can be put down to its SSD, which recorded a fast average rate of 88 megabytes second in our file copy tests; in CrystalDiskMark, it achieved read and write rates of 224MBps and 187MBps, respectively.
The laptop resumed almost instantaneously when it came out of sleep mode and we didn't notice too much HP bloatware in the background (there is some support-based stuff that you might want to remove, as well as shortcuts to services you might not need to use such as RaRa Music).
You can use the HP Folio 13 for slightly more demanding tasks than just Web browsing and creating documents. It can also be used to perform relatively basic video and photo editing tasks. It doesn't have too much storage space for this sort of work, but it does have a USB 3.0 port on its left side so that you can plug in a fast and large external hard drive. The right side of the unit has a USB 2.0 port. (It has one less USB port than the Toshiba.) You also get a built-in HDMI port (full sized), Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a webcam, an SD card slot and a combination headphone and microphone port. A dock with more video and audio options is available, too.
The Folio 13 has a sealed chassis, which means you can't easily replace the battery. However, it's a long-lasting, 6-cell battery. In our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video, the laptop ran for a stunning 5hr 18min. This is over an hour longer than the Toshiba Satellite and almost two hours longer than the ASUS and Acer Ultrabooks. When using the laptop for Web browsing, typing up documents and looking at photos, we got around seven hours out of it. During this time we also used the keyboard backlight sparingly.
Overall, the HP Folio 13-1008TU Ultrabook is excellent. It's not the lightest unit in its class (the Toshiba is 1.1kg compared to the HP's 1.5kg), but it's solidly built, very comfortable to use, has USB 3.0 and supplies long battery life. Its screen also isn't too bad and its performance was quite swift. It could use an extra USB port and also a timer for its keyboard backlight, but those are only minor quibbles.