HP EliteBook Folio 1020 Review

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Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Software & Support
    • 7
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 7
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 7
    • Features
    • 9
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.86
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


  • Pros

    • Attractive portable design
    • Great battery life
    • Responsive keyboard
    • Fanless design
  • Cons

    • Reflective display
    • Expensive

Quick Take

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 is an attractive business laptop that offers solid performance and top-notch portability.

Armed with Intel’s new Core M processor the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 is one of the thinnest and lightest premium business notebooks on the market. Offering a number of business friendly features like a fingerprint scanner, docking station support, and MIL-STD testing, the sleek laptop brings more to the table than just a thin profile.

However, the unit we tested wasn’t exactly cheap at $1,500, and in terms of raw performance the Intel Core M is actually a step backwards from the Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs.

The new lightweight, fanless design certainly has its merits with the excellent portability and long battery life, but is it worth the price tag? Read the full review to find out.

Build and Design

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 features a carbon fiber chassis design.

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 features a carbon fiber chassis design.

Comprised of smooth curves and sharp cutting slants the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 offers an attractive aesthetic. The silver carbon fiber lid is rounded at the corners and a chrome HP logo in the center. The deck is cool to the touch, providing a comfortable typing surface. The chassis is slanted along the bottom, with the thinnest point at the front of the design. The design is not only visually pleasing, but also makes the laptop easy to grip and carry, especially when it’s open.

Measuring 12.2 x 8.2 x 0.62 inches and weighing in at 2.6 pounds, the HP EliteBook 1020 is perfect for travel. The fanless laptop matches Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro at 2.6 pounds, as one of the thinnest and lightness business notebooks on the market. The special edition is slightly lighter at 2.2 pounds thanks to its unique magnesium-lithium chassis, but the standard edition still offers excellent portability in its own right.

Not only thin, the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 is also incredibly durable. According to HP, the laptop has passed MIL-STD 810G testing, which runs the notebook through a gauntlet of scenarios including drops, shocks, exposures to extreme temperatures and humidity, and high pressure. We tested the chassis integrity first hand and as expected the laptop held firm, even under heavy pressure. 



HP EliteBook Folio 1020 ports left HP EliteBook Folio 1020 ports right

With its tiny frame, the HP EliteBook Folio 1020’s modest selection of ports isn’t a huge surprise, but the device does offer a number of docking solutions to expand connectivity. The left side of the HP EliteBook 1020 Folio is outfitted with a Kensington lock slot, an HDMI connector, and a micro SD card reader. The right side features a power jack, a HP docking solution port, a USB 3.0 port, and a mic/audio combination jack. The notebook also houses a fingerprint scanner to the bottom right of the arrow keys.

The HP Ultraslim Docking Station and side dock alongside the Folio 1020.

The HP Ultraslim Docking Station and side dock alongside the Folio 1020.

HP’s docking slot is compatible with both the HP Side Dock ($60) and the HP Ultra Slim Docking Station ($150). The former is a lightweight mobile solution, offering an additional video output with a VGA connector and a RJ45 Ethernet port. The standard dock could also be used during travel considering it only weighs 1.7lbs, but it’s outfitted with more of the features customarily seen from stationary ports. The docking station offers a Kensington lock slot along with a cable lock slot, a VGA connector, an Ethernet connector, two Display Ports, four USB 3.0 ports, an audio-in jack, and an audio-out jack.


Display and Speakers

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 features a 12.5-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) touch display. The glossy panel offers exceptional color representation, as we were particularly pleased with the bright and colorful animations when playing Hearthstone. The touch functions also work incredibly well, with each swipe and gesture registering without delay.

HP EliteBook Folio 1020 screen frontHP EliteBook Folio 1020 screen backwards

HP EliteBook Folio 1020 screen sideHP EliteBook Folio 1020 screen forward

Despite the glossy surface, the HP EliteBook Folio 1020’s display provides generous viewing angles. Image quality held up well past 120 degrees on the horizontal axis without any color loss. In direct or heavy lighting, image quality does begin to diminish slightly, colors can appear washed out and the screen can become reflective, but the glossy panel still performed better than most.

Located just below the display hinge is a large speaker grill. The volume of the two stereo speakers is rather low, and users may have difficulty filling an entire room with audio. While the speakers might not be boisterous, they are well suited to personal use. We were pleased with crisp detail in which the speakers relayed an orchestral track.


Keyboard and Touchpad

The chiclet-style keyboard offers excellent travel and feedback.

The chiclet-style keyboard offers excellent travel and feedback.

The HP EliteBook Folio 1020 houses a full Chiclet-style backlit keyboard. The squared keys are slightly textured on top making them easy to grip. Despite the laptop’s tiny frame, the HP EliteBook Folio 1020 offers excellent spacing and generously sized key sans the top/down arrow buttons. The laptop is a pleasure to type with thanks to the excellent key travel and robust tactile feedback. Quickly after compressing a key it snaps back into place producing a nice audible pop.

The small synaptic touchpad is located directly below the spacebar. The silver pad is devoid of buttons and utilizes the bottom portions of the pad along with multi-finger gestures to act as the mouse buttons. The smooth surface of the touchpad allows for easy travel offering excellent control and sensitivity. The only issue with the pad is its small size, attempting to travel across the page, or scrolling down big windows can be a challenge due to the limited surface area.




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