The HP Folio 13 and Toshiba Z830 are both classified by their respective companies as Ultrabooks, but there’s quite a bit of difference between the design and build of these two laptops. I’ve been using each of these ultrabooks on and off for about a week so have a good idea of the pros and cons of each and how they compare. First you might want to check out this quick video overview I did comparing the Toshiba Z830 and Folio 13 side by side:
The marketing on these two laptops is quite different. HP is targeting the business crowd with the Folio 13 but adding consumer touches such as the glossy screen, shiny keyboard and industrial aluminum design. Meanwhile Toshiba is marketing more to consumers and trying to appeal to the crowd that wants an extremely thin and light laptop, you’ll find the Z830 in retail stores such as Best Buy (where I purchased mine).
|HP Folio 13 Specs
||Toshiba Z830-P330 Specs
The Folio 13 is actually heavier than what an Ultrabook is supposed to weigh. If you check out the definition of an ultrabook it’s weight max is defined as 3.1lbs, but the HP Folio 13 weighs a shade over 3.3lbs. That’s heavier than the Lenovo ThinkPad X220 I carry that makes no claims to being an ultrabook! Check out the weight comparison below of the Folio 13, Lenovo X220 and Toshiba Z830:
|HP Folio 13: 3.31lbs||Lenovo X220: 3.01lbs||
Toshiba Z830: 2.41lbs
Obviously if your goal is to find a laptop that’s as light as possible the Toshiba Z830 is the winner among this crowd. I can tell you that when holding it the Z830 feels like a feather, it’s simple to pick up with one hand effortlessly. Meanwhile the Folio 13 is surprisingly heavy when you go to pick it up and cumbersome to hold with one hand, at 3.3lbs it’s almost one pound more than the Toshiba Z830.
The HP Folio 13 and Toshiba Z830 both use a brush metal finish, the Folio 13 uses vertical brush strokes while the Z830 horizontal. The Toshiba has a grey color while the HP has what’s best described as a champagne beige color. I definitely prefer the looks of the Folio 13, it looks solid and then looks more cheerful thanks to the color. The Z830 looks a little bland with its dull grey finish that so many other laptops have.
HP Folio 13 on the left, Toshiba Z830 on the right
HP Folio 13 on the left, Toshiba Z830 on the right open
Build Quality Comparison
There’s no debating here, the Folio 13 is solid with its build. It has a very thick aluminum skin that will ward off drops and bumps no problem. The hinges on the Folio 13 are very rigid and hold the screen firmly in place. Meanwhile the Z830 feels positively flimsy compared the Folio 13. You can easily push down on the case and cause it to flex and the screen is quite bouncy due to the hinges being loose.
When it comes to ultrabook comparisons thinness matters, and the Toshiba Z830 wins in that department. The Z830 is .63” thick at its thickest point while the Folio 13 is 0.70” thick. It’s hard to distinguish when the laptops already so thin and it’s 0.07” thickness of difference to be honest:
HP Folio 13 on the left is noticeably thicker at the front than the Z830
But at the back it’s pretty hard to tell, notice the Z830 is more deep and sticks out more
The Z830-P330 was purchased for the amazing price of $699 when on sale at Best Buy for a weekend special. That price has since jumped to $799. The Folio 13 is $899.99 on HP.com. Right now there are no discounts to be found on either laptop so the Toshiba should be considered the cheaper option of the two.
Both screens use a glossy finish, which in my opinion is sort of annoying due to the amount of reflection:
The screens are equally reflective, as you can see in the photo above where my reflection can be seen on both screens as I take a picture. Both screens have a 1366 x 768 resolution and to be honest both are quite disappointing with viewing angles and color saturation. The Toshiba Z830 did have a slightly brighter screen which might matter if you work in a well lit environment and need the screen brightened for easier viewing.
Ultrabooks are really meant as performance machines, but both of these laptops have capable processors for everyday work tasks, so long as you’re not a CAD designer or into 3D gaming. I ran PCMark Vantage on each laptop and got the following scores:
Toshiba Z830-P330: 5,895 PCMarks
HP Folio 13: 6,708 PCMarks
So the Folio 13 gets a higher score thanks to the Intel Core i5 processor. You can configure the Z830 with the same Intel Core i5 at Toshiba.com so at the end of the day performance would be almost exactly the same between these two given the same specs configuration.
Heat & Noise
When running benchmarks the Z830 got a little noisy, but that was during the 3D gaming sequence. During normal usage the fan was quiet but audible and was somewhat high pitched, this could be annoying to some. The fan is located on the bottom of the Z830 so you’ll need to make sure there’s clear ventilation there, which is tough to do if it’s in your lap. The Folio 13 also had a constant fan whir but it wasn’t high pitched, I didn’t find it too distracting since the ambient noise in the rest of the room was noisier than it. However, in a perfectly quiet room you would hear the fan going.
Under normal conditions of surfing the web and max screen brightness the Z830 achieved 4 hours and 35 minutes of battery life. A more forgiving test of min screen brightness, wireless off and the laptop idling achieved 9 hours and 20 minutes of battery life. The HP Folio 13 with max screen brightness, wireless on and web surfing achieved nearly 6 hours of battery life. The Folio 13 is the winner in the battery life department.
I’m not here to declare a winner between these two ultrabooks today, just to state the observations and pros and cons of each. I honestly don’t know if the Folio 13 should be called an Ultrabook given the fact it weights more than my non-Ultrabook ThinkPad X220, but a company is free to call a product what they want. Meanwhile the Toshiba Z830 is clearly something quite different from a regular ultraportable laptop, it’s incredibly thin and light. The HP Folio 13 puts its extra weight to use by having a thicker more durable case, overall stronger build and larger battery. I’m the type that prefers a stronger build and something that feels like it would last, so I’d go with the Folio 13 personally. If that’s not your taste, then the Z830 is a perfectly good option as an ultrabook and if it were priced $699 everyday (like the day I bought it) then would clearly be the best ultrabook laptop option on the market.