by Martine Layt

When it came time for me to replace my notebook, I had some concerns about going from my HP 15” to a more compact model.  Both Ryan and Wayne have used smaller notebooks for a couple of years now and personally I couldn’t imagine how they seemed to work effectively off such a small notebook.

After having a conversation with one of our valued clients about the variety of available ultra notebooks at the moment, I started to reconsider my thoughts on the matter; the more I became interested in the growing trend.

So here we are now.  I have converted from my 15” notebook to the new HP Folio 13 Ultrabook Business Model.

The look is very pleasing.  The brushed aluminium gives it a very modern look and while it may add to the total weight of the unit, we are talking about .2kg of the total 1.5kg.  The HP Folio 13 is only 18mm thick, impressive!

The keyboard is bliss.  This was probably one of my bigger concerns in moving towards an ultra notebook.  I have tried out a few other models and felt like a giant with fat fingers who couldn’t type anymore!  The keyboard is comfortable, light, spongy and my fingers love to tap away on it.  I don’t even recognise the difference in going from the 15” to the 13”.

The keyboard is backlit and while this won’t turn on automatically in darker conditions, pressing F5 will light up the keyboard.  Having been trained to touch type for many years, I haven’t really needed to use it, but it can be a handy feature.

The fan located on the bottom of the notebook could prove a little annoying in super quiet environments.  I don’t frequent libraries much – I am surrounded most of the time by the TV, music or office noise and people talking, so I would put this low on the cons list when considering this unit.

Also located on the bottom are the icons for the inputs and USB ports, however if you are a frequent notebook user you probably don’t need these icons to tell you it’s a USB port or power goes in here.  Another consideration is the fact that there is no built in DVD drive, although so far we’ve seen HP bundle an external DVD Drive with the Ultrabook, so you can still have DVD capability, albeit peripheral.

Battery life is always a big deal with any portable device.  HP lists the battery life as up to 9 hours, however after having used the machine for a little while; I’d say that I get on average a comfortable 7 hours out of it, based on my output which is still impressive, from my perspective.

The biggest plus for this little trooper is; it’s cheaper than a Mac Air, it’s just as lightweight and has battery power that outperforms the Mac and if you ask me, better looking.  A win for PC users everywhere!

My older 15” notebook has not made its way to the museum just yet, but overall, for someone not really interested in the in the “Ultra Notebook” craze, I do like (very much) my new addition.  It’s lightweight, fast, so comfortable, good looking and didn’t break the budget.