HP Folio 13 Review

HP Folio 13 Ultrabook laptopThe HP Folio 13 is the first entry into the Ultrabook market for the biggest PC producing company in the world, yes, even though HP’s former CEO wanted out of PCs it’s still numero uno.  Now that HP is again refocused on their commitment to the PC industry new and innovative products like the Folio 13 will determine whether the company stays atop the mountain or falls off due to being out innovated and out marketed by the competition.  HP was late to the Ultrabook game relative to Toshiba, Asus and Acer but it’s not about who’s first to the game but rather who can offer the best product and support and price today.  After all, Apple wasn’t first company to the SmartPhone market but that certainly didn’t hurt their ability to be a huge player in that category.  So, is the Folio 13 the best Ultrabook right now?  Let’s investigate.

Packaging and in the Box

I ordered the Folio 13 and got it direct from HP via the Home and Home Office Store.  The configuration is fixed and the only upgrade options were in regards to OS version, warranty or accessories.  Here are the full specs for the HP Folio 13 as ordered:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2467M (1.6 GHz)
  • Screen: 13.3-inch diagonal HD BrightView LED- backlit Display (1366 x 768)
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Graphics: Intel HD3000
  • Storage: 128GB (Solid State Drive Flash Module)
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Ports: USB 2.0, USB 3.0, RJ-45, HDMI, SD Card Reader
  • Battery: 6-cell
  • Weight: 3.305lbs
  • Web Cam: HP TrueVision HD Webcam
  • Dimensions: 12.54″(L)x8.67″(W)x0.7″(max H)
  • Warranty: 1-year

The above configuration cost $899.99, HP is not offering any discounts or coupons on this model at the current time.  You can save a bit of money, around 6%, by purchasing via HP Academy student discount site.   The Folio 13 arrived in a plain brown shipping box via FedEx:

HP Folio 13

Inside the box was the Folio 13, braced between Styrofoam protectors, power adapter and documentation.

HP Folio 13 unboxing

Everything was packed well and, although presentation wasn’t anything out of the ordinary like you get with the Envy 17, it was still cleanly done.

HP Folio 13 Design

HP Folio 13 lidThe Folio 13 has a very clean brushed aluminum lid finish on the lid and inside with a black finish accents on the sides, keyboard and touchpad area.  The aluminum has a slight champagne tint to it, it’s rather odd in that the color changes slightly depending on the light in the room.  Overall the design is very clean and professional looking.  It borrows some design touches from the HP ProBook lineup, the ProBook 5330m comes to mind in particular.  Inevitably you’ll hear comparisons to the MacBook Air simply because this is a thin laptop that uses an aluminum lid finish, there is no taper to the HP Folio 13 so the profile is actually quite different.

HP Folio 13 design touchThe plastic bezel around the screen is matte while the screen itself is glossy, I kind of like the contrast of matte and glossy here but others might disagree.  The same black matte soft finish is used on the bottom of the laptop.

The keyboard uses a chiclet style design, borrowing from the consumer preferred aesthetic.  Unfortunately HP chose to put a glossy tray under the keys, this makes for an area that shows and captures a lot of dust.  The mouse buttons are integrated into the touchpad and delineated by lines, again contributing to the overall clean look.

HP Folio 13 Weight and Thickness

The weight and thickness are of course a big factor with anything marketed as being an Ultrabook.  Though an Ultrabook is supposed to be under 3.1lbs according to the guidelines set forth by Intel, the Folio 13 actually weighs in at around 3.3lbs.  The thickness of 0.70-inches uniform from front to back is befitting of an Ultrabook, but the weight to me makes it rather ordinary.  We recently wrote an article comparing the Folio 13 and ThinkPad X220 pointing out the fact the X220 is actually lighter than the Folio 13.  The reason for the Folio 13 weight is due to the thick aluminum skin and metal chassis, which in turn makes it more durable, a good thing.

HP Folio 13 weight HP Folio 13 travel weight

If you add in the weight of the power adapter and cord the total travel weight comes to 4.05lbs.

Build Quality

The Folio 13 feels solid as a rock thanks to its thick aluminum case.  The lid and palm rest areas are all made of aluminum.  In other areas strong plastics with a soft touch finish are used.   Every part of the body is rigid and there is simply no flex to be found on this portable 13-incher.  The screen hinges are very rigid, opening the screen requires two hands.  The screen stays in place without wobble due to the extra firmness of the hinges.  I really can’t find anything to fault with the build quality of the Folio 13, the emphasis was definitely placed on making the laptop rugged and durable rather than being as light as possible and sacrificing the build in some way.

HP Folio 13 Performance

While the intention of the Folio 13 is not to provide the most blazing computing performance you’ve seen, it is supposed to provide above average performance for everyday tasks and business needs and provide fast boot up and wake times so you’re not left twiddling thumbs and killing productivity.  The Folio 13 achieves the latter by using a fast SSD, the Samsung PM800 128GB mSATA SSD in particular.  The boot time to desktop is a mere 17-seconds:

HP Folio 13 boot up speed 17 seconds

The wake time from sleep is even faster, at around 5 seconds.  You’ll be up and working in no time.

In terms of overall system performance, the combination of an Intel Core i5, SSD and 4GB of RAM really go a long way to preventing any lag.  According to the Windows Experience Index the “achilles heel” is the Intel HD3000 graphics, but that’s only going to have an effect on applications, such as 3D games, that need a lot of 3D polygon rendering.  The web, email, Office apps and Skype require no such processing, the Intel Core i5 will handle all of those applications in a snappy manner.

HP Folio 13 windows score

To get an idea of overall system performance we ran PCMark Vantage, PCMark 7 and 3DMark Vantage.

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Laptop PCMark Vantage Score
HP Folio 13 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) 9,026 PCMarks
Sony VAIO SA (Intel Core i5-2430M 2.50GHz, AMD Radeon 6630M, 4GB RAM) 7,007 PCMarks
Dell Vostro 1440 Review (Intel Core i3-370M, Intel HD, 6GB RAM) 4,931 PCMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad Y470 – Intel Core i7-2630qm, Nvidia 550M 1GB, 8GB RAM, Intel SSD 12,160 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420 – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, 4GB RAM 6,056 PCMarks
Dell Vostro 3450 – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30Ghz, 4GB RAM 5,901 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron N411z – Intel Core i3-2330m 2.30GHz, 4GB RAM 5,285 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad T420 – Intel Core i3-2310m 2.1GHz, 2GB RAM 3,204 PCMarks

 

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Laptop PCMark 7 Score
HP Folio 13 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) 3,168 PCMarks
HP dv7t Quad (Intel Core i7 2670QM 2.20GHz, 2GB Radeon HD 6770M, 8GB RAM, Crucial M4) 4,308 PCMarks
Sony VAIO SA (Intel Core i5-2430M 2.50GHz, AMD Radeon 6630M, 4GB RAM) 2,022 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad W520 – Intel Core i7 2720QM, 4GB RAM, Nvidia Quadro 2000, Intel 320 SSD 4,299 PCMarks
HP Envy 17 3D – Intel Core i7-2670QM, AMD 6850M 1GB, 8GB RAM, 7200RPM HD 2,592 PCMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad U400 – Intel Core i5-2430M, AMD Radeon 6470M, 6GB RAM, 5400RPM HD 2,287 PCMarks
Dell XPS 15z – Intel Core i7-2620M, Nvidia GT 525M, 8GB RAM, SSD 3,604 PCMarks

Obviously the Folio 13 is able to outperform other larger Intel Core i5 equipped laptops simply due to its SSD.  Having an SSD is really a big performance differentiator, more so than any extra GHz of clock speed on a processor is going to give you.  We’ve come to a point where processors are so fast and efficient that it’s really faster storage that will net you the most gains, namely SSD.

Although 3D performance doesn’t matter much for this notebook, we ran 3DMark Vantage just to find out the score:

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Laptop 3DMark Vantage Score
HP Folio 13 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD3000, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD) 1,513 3DMarks
HP dv7t Quad (Intel Core i7 2670QM 2.20GHz, 2GB Radeon HD 6770M, 8GB RAM, Crucial M4) 6,139 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv6z Quad Edition – AMD A8-3510MX, AMD 6620G Graphics 2,919 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition – Intel Core i7-2630qm, AMD 6770M Graphics 6,373 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dm4x – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30Ghz, 6GB RAM, Intel HD3000 Graphics 1,174 3DMarks

As you would expect, the Folio 13 paled in comparison to larger laptops with dedicated graphics.

HP Folio 13 Screen

The Folio 13 comes with a 13.1-inch LED backlit screen with 1366 x 768 resolution.  The panel technology is a standard TN, there is no IPS screen with wide viewing angles like the Apple iPad or HP Envy 15-3000 have.  When you tilt the screen vertically colors tend to distort so it’s much better to view the screen straight on (perpendicular to the eyes).

HP Folio 13 screen 6698648553_e8942f6c03_b (1)

HP chose to go with a glossy screen even though this is a business style laptop.  This is unfortunate, the reflections from a glossy screen when you have strong lighting from behind can be really annoying.  For instance, if you tilt the screen back a little it will immediately reflect any lights above and behind  you like you see in the picture below on the right.

Folio 13 next to ThinkPad X220 Folio 13 screen reflection

In the left hand image above you can see the Folio 13 next to the ThinkPad X220, the Folio 13 is reflecting me taking a picture while the X220 is not as it has an anti-glare matte screen.

Outside of these complaints, the Folio 13 has what I’d call a decent screen.  It’s bright enough at the highest setting, although not overly bright and it won’t serve as an outdoor laptop.  The color saturation and contrast are decent, though nothing exceptional.  We’re still waiting for a laptop manufacturer to produce an Ultrabook with a higher than standard resolution screen, for now the 1366 x 768 resolution the Folio 13 has is as good as it gets.

Overall the Folio 13 screen gets a passing grade, but leaves room for improvement.

Ports Selection

The number of ports you get on the Folio 13 is on par with other Ultrabooks, HP saw fit to included an SD card reader which is very nice to have and some other manufacturers, such as Lenovo with the U300s, have been excluding for whatever reason.  Let’s take a tour of the ports on the Folio 13:

HP Folio 13 left side

On the left hand side you get an Ethernet RJ-45 port, HDMI port, USB 3.0 port and SD card reader

HP Folio 13 right side

On the ride side you a USB 3.0 port and headphone jack towards the back

IMGT2338

On the back you just see the hinges and then heat vent of the Folio 13

Other than having less USB ports than a standard size laptop you really have all of the essentials provided here.  The HDMI is the most popular consumer video connector today, if you wanted an old fashioned VGA monitor out port you can get an adapter for HDMI to VGA.  Likewise, if you have a DisplayPort equipped monitor you can get an HDMI to DisplayPort converter for only around $12.

Keyboard and TouchPad

HP Folio 13 keyboard HP Folio 13 Backlit Keyboard

The Folio 13 keyboard definitely stands out in the world of Ultrabooks currently available.  I’ve used the MacBook Air and Toshiba Z830, and the Folio 13 definitely has a more usable keyboard than either of those.  The keys all have nice travel, not the shallow travel you find on the Toshiba Z830.  The tactile feedback is also good, meaning you know exactly when a key has been struck and can release to strike the next key.  The backlit keyboard, while looking very nice, also provides excellent usability in darkened rooms.  While many people can touch type well, it’s hard to find those obscure keys such as Page Up and Page Down in the pitch black, so the backlight really helps in such situations.

IMGT2352While my feelings about the keyboard are very positive, that’s not the case for the touchpad.  While the textured feel of the touchpad is nice and I found moving the cursor to work most of the time, now and again strokes did not register or the cursor would jump unintentionally.  Worst of all are the integrated mouse buttons, they’re very stiff and it takes a lot of effort to push them down.  They really interrupt the ability to make a quick mouse click as you forget each time that it takes a hearty push to get a click to register.  I recommend using a travel mouse whenever you can for easier mouse input.

Heat and Noise

One important consideration with a small laptop is its cooling ability.  Cram everything into a small space and the thermals get tougher to manage.  Thankfully the Folio 13 does a good job of staying cool, the warmest spot I found on the laptop was near the back where the heat vent is.  The bottom and palm rests stayed cool, around 80F which is very comfortable, the very back of the keyboard near the vent got as high as 98 F.  That’s no big deal anyway, and since your hands don’t come close to that area a non-concern in terms of comfort.

Folio 13 heat Folio 13 heat

That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the fan doing the work to keep the laptop cool emits an annoying high pitched whir.  This will definitely annoy those sensitive to noise, it’s even audible with ambient noise in the room.  Since the fan seems to run 90% of the time, this means for the majority of the time you’ll have to deal with this noise.  I simply became used to it and it was background noise to my brain, but then again I have tinnitus so am pretty used to constant buzzing noises in my ear.

HP Folio 13 Battery Life

The Folio 13 has a 59Wh battery that HP rates at up to 9 hours of battery life.  That’s an optimistic number, under normal usage conditions the battery life is still excellent based on my tests and usage.  With brightness level set to 1/3, Wi-Fi on and a browser open refreshing every 60 seconds the battery achieved 8 hours and 2 minutes of life.  If you were to do a torture test with video playing and brightness all the way up the battery life would fall to around 6 hours or just under.  That’s still excellent, and enough to get you across the country on a flight.

HP Folio 13 Review Conclusion

While I’m not so sure the Folio 13 should be classified as a true Ultrabook, at 3.3lbs it’s heavier than ultraportables such as the ThinkPad X220, I still think it makes a great choice as a very capable performance portable laptop for business users or students that have the budget.  It’s highly durable build is going to resist the bumps of business travel or campus, whichever your setting may be.  The keyboard is very usable and has a great backlight and all the essential ports are in place.  Design wise, the Folio 13 is both professional and sleek looking.  The downsides include the annoying fan whir, hard to use integrated mouse buttons and average screen.  For $899.99 the price is right and I’d take this over most other Ultrabooks on the market right now.  We look forward to seeing what HP’s first consumer Ultrabook, the Envy 14 Spectre, has to offer!

Pros

  • Keyboard is great, backlighting is nice extra
  • Performance is very good for a 13” laptop, very fast 17-seconds boot
  • Great 7 hour + battery life
  • Excellent build, very durable feeling aluminum case
  • Design is appealing and professional loking

Cons

  • Integrated mouse buttons are hard to push
  • Screen is quite average in quality, annoying glossy finish
  • Glossy keyboard tray is a design mistake
  • Fan makes high pitched whir, constantly on
No comments

Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Vs. HP Folio 13 Comparison

Riddle me this, what calls itself an Ultrabook but is heavier than an ultraportable?  Give up?  It’s the HP Folio 13.ThinkPad X220 and Folio 13 Comparison

So I’m no Joker when it comes to making riddles, but to get to the point, the ThinkPad X220 is deemed to be an ultraportable (per Lenovo marketing) and the Folio 13 is an Ultrabook (per HP marketing), and according to specs set forth by Intel an Ultrabook is a new laptop phenomenon that is incredibly light (weighs less than 3.1lbs) and thin.  However, the Ultrabook Folio 13 actually outweighs my non-Ultrabook ThinkPad X220.  So does that make the X220 an Ultrabook, or maybe the Folio 13 an un-UltraBook?  At the end of the day, it’s all just marketing terminology and let’s call them both business laptops for our purposes.  I did want to bring up this weight comparison early on to bring the point home that the Ultrabook marketing term is just that, marketing and buzz, you need to look at specs still to understand what you’re getting or not getting as the case may be.

Weight Comparison

The Folio 13 tips the scale at 3.31lbs while the ThinkPad X220 with a 6-cell battery weighs 3.08lbs according to my kitchen scales.  The ThinkPad X220 also has a 4-cell battery option that cuts the weight by about 0.3lbs, that would get the weight under 3lbs.

IMGT2388HP Folio 13 3.31lbs IMGT2391Lenovo ThinkPad X220 3.08lbs

The battery life of the Folio 13 and X220 are about the same, so we’ll call this a fair match in terms of battery size comparison when using the 6-cell.  Granted, the screen size of the X220 is 12.5” and the Folio 13 is 13.1”, but the resolution is the same 1366 x 768 so the viewing will be very similar.  The ThinkPad X220 is the clear winner in being the lighter laptop.

Winner: ThinkPad X220  

Design

IMGT2355

The ThinkPad X220 is all black and rather boxy with a tough ABS plastic case.  It’s professional looking and timeless though certainly not a looker.  The HP Folio 13 meanwhile has an aluminum case and nice brush metal finish, the color is an interesting champagne tint.  The classy HP logo on the lid looks nice and when opened I find the look clean and appealing.  On top of that, the 0.70” thin body of the Folio 13 helps it to look appealing.  There’s not much debate here, the Folio 13 is going to turn more heads than the X220 any day.

Winner: HP Folio 13 

Build Quality

The ThinkPad X220 has a magnesium internal cage and ABS plastic case, the Folio 13 has a similar internal metal skeleton and then a tough aluminum clad lid and palm rest area.  The reason the Folio 13 is so heavy despite its thinness is the tough and rather thick body aluminum that is used.  The Folio 13 simply feels like a tank.  That said, the ThinkPad X220 is definitely well built and stands upon a long generation of X-series tried and true tested design.  I don’t have the ability or will to conduct any drop tests to see which of these laptops would stand the most torture.  The Folio 13 certainly feels more solid, but then again it doesn’t have a spill proof keyboard like the X220, and that’s quite an important accident protection feature.   Both laptops are well built and some aspects better than the other in terms of build, so it’s close enough to call a tie.

Winner: Tie

Thinness Comparison

IMGT2356The Folio 13 does fulfill the Ultrabook promise of being thin.  It’s 0.70-inches thick and uniform in its thickness from front to back.  The even height is actually quite nice, some Ultrabooks get really narrow at the front and are actually quite sharp.  The ThinkPad X220, though lighter than the Folio 13, appears positively fat when put next to it:

IMGT2359

IMGT2357

Notice how the X220 with its 6-cell battery slopes upward quite a bit toward the back, that makes the back end significantly thicker than the Folio 13.  The X220 ranges from 0.75” at the front to 1.26” at the back, so at no point is it as thin as the 0.7” uniform thickness Folio 13.

HP Folio 13 Lenovo ThinkPad X220 Difference
Front Thickness 0.70-inches 0.75-inches 0.05-inches
Back Thickness 0.70-inches 1.26-inches 0.56-inches

Winner: HP Folio 13 

Screen Comparison

The display on the Folio 13 is a 13” TN panel with a 1366 x 768 resolution.  The 12.5” ThinkPad X220 has a no brainer $50 IPS screen upgrade, but still the same 1366 x 768 resolution.  The viewing angles are far superior on the X220 IPS screen.  Another knock against the HP screen in my book is the glossy finish, which results in annoying reflections.  Why HP touted the Folio 13 as being a business laptop with desirable consumer features offered, when a glossy screen is clearly not desirable for business users, I don’t know.

IMGT2362

Notice in the above image you can clearly see my reflection in the Folio 13 screen but not in the X220, that’s due to the glossy screen reflective characteristics.

To demonstrate the viewing angles the X220 IPS screen offers, we’ll let pictures do the talking:

Below the X220 screen straight on and then tilted all the way back, notice colors remain the same and true

DSC_0206 DSC_0212

Below is the Folio 13 screen straight on and then tilted all the way back, colors distort at wide vertical viewing angles

6698642501_5db11a123e_b 6698648553_e8942f6c03_b

Winner: ThinkPad X220 

Keyboard and Touchpad

The ThinkPad X220 has a full size 7-row keyboard that is simply one of the best in the industry.  The red trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard and touchpad at the bottom offer two choices of cursor movement input, use whichever you prefer.  The touchpad is somewhat small, but works well enough.  The mouse buttons are integrated into the touchpad and are definitely not as good as the dedicated buttons found on the larger 14” ThinkPad T420.  There is no keyboard backlight option, instead you get a light at the top of the screen that can shine down onto the keyboard, it’s nowhere near as effective as backlighting but is better than nothing.

HP Folio 13 backlit keyboard and ThinkPad X220 ThinklLight

Above is the Folio 13 backlit keyboard on the left, the ThinkPad keyboard illuminated by Thinklight on the right

The Folio 13 keyboard is no slouch, it feels great for typing but is just not quite as good as a ThinkPad keyboard.  The travel of the keys is not quite as great and the tactile feedback doesn’t feel quite as nice.  There is no trackpoint, just a touchpad for cursor movement.  The mouse buttons are integrated into the touchpad, they are quite stiff and hard to push.  The Folio 13 does have a backlit keyboard, it’s fantastic to use in the dark and even if you’re a touch typist it will help by making those rarely used keys easier to find.

I like both keyboards, but the X220 and the renowned ThinkPad keyboard has to be the winner here, I just wish it offered a backlight.

Winner: ThinkPad X220 

Performance

The Folio 13 comes fixed with an Intel Core i5-2467M (1.6GHz) processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.  The Folio 13 has no configuration options, that’s it.  The ThinkPad X220 can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7-2640m 2.8GHz processor, 8GB of RAM and an optional SSD for +$220, a regular hard drive is the standard though.  However, for the $899 price the Folio 13 sells for you’ll only be able to get an X220 with an Intel Core i3 processor and HD so we’ll use that as our comparison.

My X220 with the following configuration: Intel Core i3-2310m, 320GB 7200RPM HD, 4GB RAM scored 5,752 in PCMark Vantage:

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While the Folio 13 with its Intel Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD scored 9,026 in PCMark Vantage:

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The wake and boot up times for the Folio 13 were about twice as fast thanks to the SSD.  If the X220 were configured with an SSD and faster Intel Core i5 processor it could certainly win this performance competition, but you’d have to pay over $1,000 to achieve that.  We’ll visit the upgradeability / configuration issue next, but for now at a price of under configuration comparison $900 the Folio 13 wins in performance.

Winner: Folio 13 

Upgradeability

The Folio 13 has a sealed battery and upgrades are hard to do, it’s an Ultrabook and the sacrifice you make is letting the manufacturer seal everything and configure it in a manner to keep it extremely slim but not upgrade friendly.  The X220 meanwhile is easy to upgrade the RAM, hard drive, it has an ExpressCard slot for expansion and you can access an mSATA slot to put in a mini SSD drive.  Oh, and you can easily replace or upgrade the battery using a release switch.  There’s no comparison here, the X220 is far easier to upgrade.

Winner: ThinkPad X220 

Battery Life

To see how far the battery could be stretched under minimal usage on the ThinkPad X220 I ran BatteryMon and set the screen brightness to level 5 out of 15, Wi-Fi on, a browser open that refreshed every 30 seconds and set to Lenovo “Power Saver” mode I got 7 hours and 50 minutes of battery life.  A similar test on the Folio 13, brightness set to 1/3, Wi-Fi on and browser refreshing every 30 seconds achieved 8 hours and 2 minutes.   That’s close enough to call a tie, and both can be considered excellent choices for those that want long battery life.  The ThinkPad X220 does have the advantage of being able to replace the battery easily, but we’ll ignore that aspect here.

Winner: Tie

Ports Selection

Here’s a run down of what ports each laptop has:

HP Folio 13 Lenovo ThinkPad X220
  • 1 USB 3.0
  • 1 USB 2.0
  • Headphone/Microphone jack
  • RJ-45 Ethernet
  • HDMI
  • SD Card Reader
  • 3 USB 2.0 (One Powered)
  • Ethernet
  • VGA Monitor Out
  • DisplayPort
  • Headphone/Microphone jack
  • Dock Connector
  • Ethernet RJ-45
  • Media Card Reader
  • ExpressCard Slot

The X220 has more ports overall, but is missing HDMI which so many people want.   The only way to get USB 3.0 on the X220 is if you configure an Intel Core i7 processor, which hardly anyone will do, so really you’re just dealing with USB 2.0.  Because of these fall backs of the X220 ports, I have to call it a tie even though it does have more ports:

Winner: Tie

Heat

Both laptops stayed under 100F even when running benchmarks, so neither gets hot.  However, I found the X220 gets the hottest (94 F) right where you don’t want it to, on the bottom toward the middle, in other words the area you’d put on your lap.  When using both laptops on my lap the Folio 13 was far more comfortable due to less heat on the bottom.

Winner: Folio 13 

Noise

The Folio 13 fan has a pretty high pitched whirr sound and it’s on nearly all the time.  This can get quite distracting.  The ThinkPad X220 is much more quiet and does not seem to run as much, and when it does it’s much less noticeable than the Folio 13’s fan.

Winner: ThinkPad X220 

Video Overview Comparison

Before reaching our conclusion, check out the comparison video overview I did to get an idea of how these laptops look lined up alongside each other:

ThinkPad X220 and Folio 13 Comparison Video

Conclusion

HP Folio 13 Lenovo ThinkPad X220
Weight
Design
Build Quality
Thinness
Screen
Keyboard + TouchPad
Performance
Upgradeability
Battery Life
Ports Selection
Heat
Noise
Totals:

7 checks

8 checks

Both the Folio 13 and X220 are well built laptops that are great for portability.  It’s ironic that the X220 is lighter than the Ultrabook marketed Folio 13, but then again the Folio 13 does manage to be a lot thinner than the X220.  For most people the weight is the more important factor though.  The Folio 13 retails for $899, if you were to spend that amount on a ThinkPad X220 you’d be able to get a Core i3 equipped 4GB of RAM, HD fitted model.  The performance wouldn’t be as good as the Folio 13, but you could easily make upgrades down the road, putting in an SSD would be the best way to boost X220 performance.  I think the practical choice for many will be the X220, but the Folio 13 design and features such as a backlit keyboard and standard SSD are going to appeal more to tech lust.  You can’t go too wrong with either, the Folio 13 is the best Ultrabook choice on the market right now (in my opinion) and the X220 possibly one of the most well rounded and still affordable business ultraportables.   Ignoring marketing terms and comparing as laptops though, I have to call the X220 the better option of the two for most.

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