updated 12:00 am EST, Wed November 16, 2011
HP Folio 13 claims ultrabook battery record
HP formally launched itself into the ultrabook space early Wednesday with the Folio 13. The 13.3-inch system is "less than" 0.7 inches thick and, while heavier than the MacBook Air at 3.3 pounds, also has what HP claims is the longest-lasting battery in the class. At nine hours, it can last for up to two hours longer than the Air, although Apple's tests are usually real-world where HP's are theoretical.
HP is also aiming for an Air-like level of design with a real metal outer shell, single-surface Imagepad for its trackpad and a backlit keyboard. The PC claims more expansion, though, including Ethernet, HDMI out, USB 3.0, and an optional TPM security chip on top of the card reader.
The system ships with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive standard, but tries to undercut Apple by using slower parts. Base systems ship with a 1.4GHz Core i3 and have to be optioned up to the 1.6GHz Core i5 that Apple only reserves for its lower-end 11-inch system.
Folio 13 systems should be available starting from December 7 and, at $899, will be about $300 less than the MacBook through HP's cost-cutting. The PC builder is just the third major Windows builder to step into the ultrabook arena and is taking a different approach to Acer and ASUS, both of whom have tried to get faster components or more closely imitate Apple's teardrop shape.