Love the sleek and convenient convertible design of the Surface Laptop Studio but would rather have something slimmer and lighter? The HP Elite Folio 2-in-1 is your answer. The two laptops target very different users with the HP Elite Folio more suited to business and productivity users while the Surface Laptop Studio is for creators, gamers and power users. At 20 percent cheaper, is the HP Elite Folio 2-in-1 worth a look?
The HP Elite Folio 2-in-1 is not small by any means. It comes with a 13.5-inch Full HD 1920 x 1280 touchscreen. This is not far off from the 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow Display at 2400 x 1600 (201ppi) resolution). But it is in the choice of processor that helps it achieve a slim and lightweight body. At 16.1 mm slim and a weight of 1.32kg, it is more portable than the Surface Laptop Studio (1.7429kg for the Core i5 model and 1.8202kg for the Core i7 model) with 18.94mm thickness.
Yet, it comes with the same convenient pull forward design. Both devices use an anchored kickstand for the display. That kickstand is mounted to a hinge on the keyboard base. This lets you pull forward the touchscreen and stand it just under the keyboard in a sort of tent mode for presentation (see image above) and all the way to the front edge of the base for a flat-ish folio or tablet mode for writing. This is certainly a better design than a 360 degree hinge that leaves the keyboard exposed around the back in tablet mode.
What is also good to know is that the HP Elite Slim Active Pen is included and lives in a partly concealed charging garage just above the keyboard in the base. This keeps it safe in transit with the lid closed. Magnetic snap-on charging is cool but having it exposed on the back or long edge of the tablet is just an accident waiting to happen. It is worth noting that the Surface Slim Pen 2 (sold separately) also has a charging bay on the unit but is exposed. It is docked magnetically under the front edge of the keyboard.
Here is a versatile convertible laptop with high performance and multi-day battery life aimed at business and productivity focused users.
The productivity focused display with its 3:2 aspect ratio is sufficiently big, sharp and bright. At 13.5-inch, it’s WUXGA+ resolution packs 1920 x 1280 pixels. The touchscreen LCD display is lined with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and uses IPS technology for wider viewing angles. It comes with a respectable 400 nits brightness but falls short in colour coverage at only 72% NTSC and standard refresh rate of 60Hz.
The bigger 14.4-inch PixelSense Flow display on Surface Laptop Studio is more advanced with its higher resolution, higher refresh rate and higher contrast including support for Dolby Vision. Also productivity focused with a practical aspect ratio of 3:2, it packs 2400 x 1600 pixels and supports a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. It can achieve a relatively high 1500:1 contrast ratio.
3. Processor, Memory and Storage
We come to the most important aspect of the laptop, the beating heart itself. The HP Elite Folio 2-in-1 is powered by an ARM chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 with Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU for graphics. This makes it super efficient and still powerful enough to take on any productivity tasks. However, this also means that the Windows 10 Pro (yes, you read that right, 10 and not 11) and apps that run on it needs to be compatible with ARM. This may present a limitation depending on the type of apps you need on your laptop. As for memory and storage, these are fixed with 8GB LPDDR4-4266 MHz RAM (onboard) and fast internal 256GB PCIe® NVMe™ TLC SSD storage. There are no other options available to buy at the time of writing although HP hinted from their spec sheet that memory and storage can go up to 16GB and 512GB respectively.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Surface Laptop Studio. Powered by 11th generation Intel quad-core processors, specifically from the H series, you have a choice of Intel Core H35 i5-11300H or the Intel Core H35 i7-11370H processor. Memory starts at 16GB with option for 32GB LPDDR4x RAM. As for storage, the Studio is available with a choice of 256GB, 512GB, 1TB or 2TB. Being Microsoft, you also get the latest Windows 11 Home and Microsoft 365 apps preloaded. The latter is only on a 30 day trial. What users are likely to get the Studio for apart from its pull forward design is the option to go with discrete graphics. However, only one discrete graphic choice is available, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB GPU and it only comes in the Intel Core i7 model. The cheaper Intel Core i5 models rely on the onboard Intel Iris Xe embedded graphics.
4. Battery Life
HP claims that the Folio is capable of multi-day battery life with its HP Long Life 4-cell 46Wh Li-Ion battery. The laptop also supports fast charging up to 90% in 90 minutes. Apart from that, there is no real indication of exactly how long the battery will last apart from it capable of 24.5 hours of video playback based on its press release.
The battery life on Surface Laptop Studio relies on the model and whether it comes with dedicated graphics or on board display. Microsoft claims that the Intel Core i5 model can last up to 19 hours of typical use on a full charge and up to 18 hours of typical use with the Intel Core i7 model. The Core i5 model relies on Intel Iris Xe graphics while the Core i7 model comes with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti with 4GB GPU memory as standard.
Do note that while both HP Elite Folio and Surface Laptop Studio i5 model comes with 65W USB Type-C adapter, the Surface Laptop Studio i7 model comes supplied with a higher rated 102W Surface Power Supply.
5. 5G Connectivity
Apart from the standard WiFi model, you can pay more for a HP Elite Folio 2-in-1 with 5G connectivity. It is essentially the same model with 5G connectivity on the chip enabled. Here is where the two laptops differ. Windows Surface Laptop Studio do not offer 5G connectivity let alone cellular. Back to the Elite Folio, cellular connectivity is supported by the ARM chip which includes support for 4G 4X4 MIMO26 Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE (CAT16) and 5G Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 Modem (5G23 + LTE CAT20) with eSIM support.
6. Ports and Wireless
Finally, lets talk hard wired ports and WiFi. The slimline HP Elite Folio comes complete with 2 SuperSpeed USB-C 5Gbps ports. These support USB Power Delivery and DisplayPort 1.4. There is also a single 3.5mm combo audio socket. Wireless is supplied by Qualcomm® Atheros 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2) Wi-Fi® with Bluetooth® 5 combo. However, on HP’s own press site, there is mention of WLAN 802.11ax, 2×2 MIMO which means WiFi 6 is supported. No Thunderbolt ports available here.
The same number of physical ports are available on the Surface Laptop Studio except that the two USB-C ports support USB 4.0 or Thunderbolt 4. Then there is the 3.5mm headphone jack and a proprietary Surface Connector port as the dedicated charging port. For Wireless connectivity, you get WLAN 802.11ax (WiFi 6) and Bluetooth 5.1.
Here the Surface Laptop Studio wins hands down with its Quad Omnisonic speakers that support Dolby Atmos. But HP is not far off with its Bang & Olufsen tuned sound system. Also a quad stereo firing system with speakers positioned on the left and right edges for better audio even in tablet mode.
The camera on the HP Elite Folio is a little underwhelming. Still relying on a 720p sensor, the webcam has a HD IR + Hybrid arrangement with built-in mechanical shutter for privacy. Still, it is good for face authentication or Windows Hello. This is aided with a pair of wide range microphone perfect for wave on voice and Cortana Far Field Premium.
The web cam on the Surface Laptop Studio on the other hand supports Full HD resolution of 1080p. This again is great for Window Hello face authentication and even better for video calls. For the latter, you also get dual far-field Studio Mics. Which again is useful for wake on voice.
HP Elite Folio 2-in-1 Specifications
- Snapdragon® 8cx Gen2, Qualcomm® Adreno™ 540 GPU
- 8 GB LPDDR4-4266 MHz RAM (onboard); 256 GB PCIe® NVMe™ TLC SSD
- 34.3 cm (13.5″) diagonal, WUXGA+ (1920 x 1280), touch, IPS, BrightView, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5, 400 nits, low power, 72% NTSC
- 1-year business warranty, Facial recognition webcam for safe sign-in with Windows Hello, Audio by Bang & Olufsen, Backlit and spill resistant keyboard
- Windows 10 Pro
Other ARM Based Windows Laptop or Detachable Tablet Alternatives
1. HP 14-eg0001na 4G LTE Laptop
- Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 7c Gen 2 Compute Platform (up to 2.4 GHz, 1 MB L3 cache, 8 cores, 8 threads)
- 4 GB LPDDR4x-4266 MHz RAM (onboard)
- 128 GB eMMC
- 35.6 cm (14″) diagonal, FHD (1920 x 1080), IPS, micro-edge, BrightView, 250 nits, 45% NTSC
Qualcomm® Adreno™ 618 GPU
- Windows 11 Home on ARM
2. Surface Pro X
- Microsoft SQ 1 with Adreno 685 GPU or SQ 2 with Adreno 690 GPU
- 13-inch Pixel Sense Display 2880×1920 (267 PPI) 3:2 aspect ratio 10 point touchscreen
- 8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x RAM
- 128GB, 256GB or 512GB SSD storage options
- WiFi up to 15 hours of typical use or 4G LTE Advanced up to 15 hours of typical device use
- 287 mm x 208 mm x 7.3 mm (11.3” x 8.2” x 0.28”) 774 grams (1.7lb)
- WiFi 5: 802.11ac, Bluetooth Wireless 5.0, Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 4G modem, Assisted GPS and GLONASS support
- Windows 11 Home on ARM