Intel’s ultrabook push is designed to keep the chip giant relevant in the portable computing space. Yet while Intel is encouraging clones of the MacBook Air, few vendors have managed to get close to matching the user experience of Apple's thin-and-light notebook.
However, HP has come up with the HP Folio 13-2000, an ultraportable that not only comes in £100 cheaper than the entry 11in MacBook Air, but offers good performance and decent build quality too.
With a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD, the HP Folio 13-2000 managed 112 points in our WorldBench 6 tests. That’s a decent score for a lightweight laptop.
It's the battery life that really impressed us though – the HP Folio 13-2000 ran for exactly seven hours on battery power in the MobileMark 2007 test. That’s better than many of the other ultrabooks we've seen, including the MacBook Air.
The HP Folio 13-2000 also has the kind of looks that could inspire jealous glances, with its brushed metal top and smart, black keyboard.
The keyboard isn't just a looker either – it it’s very usable, with all the vital keys where you would expect to find them and no scrimping on size, excepting the Up/Down Arrow keys. The one-piece touchpad is a good size and responsive, too.
If there's one problem with the HP Folio 13, though, it’s the screen. We've no complaints about its deep, rich colours; but the polished glass front makes it incredibly reflective. It will be difficult to use comfortably in many lighting conditions.
The HP Folio 13-2000 display also suffers the same design issue as the Toshiba Z830 Series laptops – too much wasted bezel above and below the screen, due to the use of a narrow 16:9 widescreen display in a chassis built for 16:10. HP’s inlaid glass screen hides the mismatch better than Toshiba does though.
Connectivity options are decent with the standard 802.11b/g/n support for connecting to wireless networks, and gigabit ethernet for wired ones. There are two USB ports, one of these USB 3.0, while you can connect to external displays via the HDMI port.
You'll need to be careful about data storage, as HP has fitted a 128GB SSD. An SD Card slot gives quick and easy backup to today’s large SDHC cards.