Tech Fo­cus

HP’s new EliteBook Fo­lio 1040, is as hand­some as it is durable, thanks to In­tel’s ul­tra­book specs and HP’s ad­her­ence to MIL-STD 810G en­durance stan­dards

CRN - - CONTENTS - ED­WARD J COR­REIA

Sleek and rugged

HP’s new EliteBook Fo­lio 1040, is as hand­some as it is durable, thanks to In­tel’s ul­tra­book specs and HP’s ad­her­ence to MIL-STD 810G

en­durance stan­dards

Hewlett-Packard has shed its bulky-but-rugged commercial lap­tops in fa­vor of sleek-but-rugged ones. Its lat­est, the EliteBook Fo­lio 1040, is as hand­some as it is durable, thanks to In­tel’s ul­tra­book specs and HP’s ad­her­ence to MIL-STD 810G en­durance stan­dards. It is also fast, of­fers long bat­tery life, is rea­son­ably priced and can be ser­viced by re­sellers with the right train­ing and tools.

But the Fo­lio 1040 isn’t all upside. A new Sy­nap­tics touch­pad left us feel­ing out of touch and its speak­ers were easy to over­drive to the point of dis­tor­tion. There is also a two port don­gle that if lost de­prives the sys­tem of Gigabit Eth­er­net and VGA con­nec­tions. How­ever, re­mov­ing those ports from the body al­lows the new Fo­lio to shed some weight and shave one tenth of an inch from its thick­ness.

An op­tional dock­ing sta­tion also does the trick, adding four USB ports for good mea­sure. Built into the unit is Dis­playPort 1.2 port, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, Blue­tooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports (one for charg­ing), a mi­croSD slot and a back­ward com­pat­i­ble dock­ing port.

En­ter­prise IT and se­cu­rity de­part­ments will find fa­vor with the EliteBook. One re­cent ad­di­tion to HP’s se­cu­rity ar­se­nal is Em­bed­ded Sure Start (ESS), a hard­ware-based boot­block pro­tec­tion fea­ture that re­sides in the BIOS and is in­vis­i­ble to the CPU and there­fore to viruses. The fea­ture rec­og­nizes if the BIOS has been tam­pered with and, if so, it re­stores the last known good BIOS. This en­ables ad­min­is­tra­tors to con­duct sys­tem BIOS up­dates with­out fear of power in­ter­rup­tion.

HP’s built-in soft­ware fur­ther pro­tects the de­vice, its data and user iden­ti­ties by prompt­ing to add a Win­dows pass­word, ac­ti­vat­ing HP’s SpareKey fea­ture for for­got­ten pass­words, en­rolling fin­ger­prints us­ing the in­cluded bio­met­ric scan­ner, and en­crypt­ing drive con­tents. There is also a se­cure shred op­tion for file dele­tions, and a tog­gle for pre­vent­ing the use of re­mov­able stor­age. Hard­ware drive en­cryp­tion also is avail­able.

Shrouded in ma­chined alu­minium, the hand­some

It comes with Em­bed­ded Sure Start, a hard­ware-based boot-block pro­tec­tion fea­ture that re­sides in the BIOS and is in­vis­i­ble to the CPU and there­fore to viruses

13.3x9.2-inch Fo­lio 1040 is a sturdy PC and weighs just 3.3 pounds. A wide wrist rest gives way gen­tly to a raised, back­lit key­board with aver­age travel. Func­tion keys per­form the usual ded­i­cated func­tions for ac­ti­vat­ing an ex­ter­nal mon­i­tor and sleep mode, con­trol­ling vol­ume, key­board and screen back­lights, plus a lighted one for dis­abling the touch­pad. Work­ing the func­tion keys is a two key oper­a­tion. Out­side the key­board are lighted but­tons ded­i­cated to power, Wi-Fi and mute.

The new­est fea­ture of the Fo­lio 1040 is its 4x2.5inch Sy­nap­tics ForcePad. This new type of multi­ges­ture touch­pad is com­fort­able and re­spon­sive enough for cur­sor con­trol, but we had trou­ble ad­just­ing to its click­ing method. In­stead of tap­ping left and right but­tons, clicks are made by ap­ply­ing pres­sure to the left or right side of the pad, which rocks in the cor­re­spond­ing di­rec­tion. The rock­ing ac­tion on the tested unit seemed a bit too stiff. It might loosen over time, but this might take some get­ting used to. Help­ful for get­ting started, a speaker sound plays when­ever the pad is pressed hard enough to reg­is­ter a click. The pres­sure sen­si­tive pad en­ables fea­tures such as con­tin­u­ous scrolling for long documents and com­pat­i­bil­ity with pres­sure sen­si­tive apps. Pres­sure and move­ment set­tings are ad­justable.

For test­ing, HP sent a high-end unit with an In­tel Core i7 4650U 1.7 GHz dual core Haswell pro­ces­sor run­ning 64 bit Win­dows 7 Pro on a 256 GB SSD. A top score of 9,361 was good enough to land the Fo­lio 1040 in fifth place on CRN’s Top 10 lap­tops list.

As for bat­tery life, the sys­tem played a dig­i­tal video file con­tin­u­ously for 4 hours and 26 min­utes with all ra­dios on and the 14-inch 1,920x1,080 screen cranked to full bright­ness. Graph­ics are con­trolled by In­tel’s HD Graph­ics 5000.

The EliteBook Fo­lio 1040 is ship­ping now start­ing at $1,299. It is also avail­able with an In­tel Core i5 pro­ces­sor, and NFC and 802.11 ac wire­less com­mu­ni­ca­tions. A touch screen op­tion will be avail­able soon.

For its per­for­mance, dura­bil­ity and ser­vice­abil­ity by re­sellers in the field, the CRN Test Cen­ter rec­om­mends the HP EliteBook Fo­lio 1040.

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