(Pocket-lint) - It may well be a business laptop, but the HP EliteBook Folio sure does mean business. This slender workhorse is a mere 12.4mm thin - making it even more trim than the 12-inch MacBook.

How's that possible? As the EliteBook Folio uses an Intel Core M processor there's no need for a fan, while the use of two USB-C ports ensures there's no need for a thicker standard port size.

The body of this laptop is CNC machined from aluminium, with diamond cut edges to add to the detail and overall finesse. It's not a boring suited-and-booted run-of-the-mill office machine by any stretch of the imagination.

Flip it over and those quirky Bang & Olufsen speakers, arranged with cut-out diamond-shape openings, look like part and parcel of the Danish maker's audio range, not something that most laptop makers can offer. They sound decent too, as we heard when testing out some audio playback as part of a "fake meeting" during our Folio preview session.


Unlike many current 360-degree all-in-ones, the EliteBook folio's screen hinge can only bend back by almost 180-degrees - something that may come in handy when working in different. However, the device's biggest issue is the screen is somewhat heavy and that hinge is nowhere nearly as stable as we've seen from other devices, such as the Lenovo Yoga 900. Shame.

However, that 12.5-inch screen shows off some high-end specs. For starters it's 4K (3,840 x 2,160) in resolution, so everything looks super-fine. It's touchscreen too should you want to go smearing those fingers across it to handle Windows 10.

At this 12.5-inch scale we're not entirely convinced it needs to be 4K - and there is a 1080p option - but if you want bragging rights then this HP certainly delivers. Viewing angles are decent and colours rich, although the results aren't quite as impressive as the inky black levels that HP's other laptop, the Spectre x360, can manage.

A decent sized trackpad and six-row keyboard makes for comfortable use, and as the keys have 1.3mm of travel it feels like a proper keyboard with decent feedback.

One area HP was particularly keen to talk to us about was the EliteBook Folio's business-grade security. It introduces SureStart BIOS level protection, with erase and patch managers - the kind of things that IT teams at businesses will be looking for when handling security for multiple staff or clients. Not something we could test out, of course, but something that's appealing at this level.


Power-wise the Folio relies on Intel Core M, so it's not an ultra-high spec machine - but then you aren't going to be playing games on it, so that hardly matters. You'll get all your Office work done here no problems without slowdown, just as we've found with other Core M devices.

The HP EliteBook Folio will be available from March for business users, priced from $999. As the European price is set from €940, we suspect the UK will find a similar price starting somewhere upward of £900.

Now that's a Windows-based MacBook contender if we ever saw one, especially with the USB-C ports arrangement. The only downside is the slightly wobbly hinge.

Writing by Mike Lowe.