HP Elite Folio review: this 2-in-1 laptop exudes professionalism

The HP Elite Folio focuses on style over substance

HP Elite Folio review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The HP Elite Folio is a 2-in-1 laptop with 5G support so you’re guaranteed to be able to get work done anywhere. Its sophisticated design is paired with an impressive touchscreen display and a handy dock for the HP Slim stylus. But, while it thrives in looks, it does lose out on performance.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Good battery life

  • +

    Bright, high-quality display

  • +

    Facial recognition

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Disappointing performance

  • -

    Pull forward design doesn’t always stay in place

  • -

    No fingerprint sensor

If you’re a professional on the hunt for a compact laptop, this HP Elite Folio review could be useful to you. When it comes to appearance, it fits in with the best laptops you can buy but looks aren’t everything.

Rivalling some of the best 2-in-1 laptops like the Microsoft Surface Book 3, the HP Elite Folio offers the world’s first pull forward business convertible PC. It's wrapped in vegan leather and comes with the HP Slim Pen included, plus you can get connected to the internet anywhere with optional 5G and Wi-Fi 6.

It is a portable PC made with business users in mind. Don’t expect to be blown away by its performance though because it’s not the most powerful computer out there by any means. 

In this HP Elite Folio review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about how it performs in all of the key scoring areas from its design and display to performance and battery life. 

HP Elite Folio review: price and availability

You can buy the HP Elite Folio with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen2 5G processor directly from HP for $1,895 in the US, £1,306 in the UK and AU$3,000 in Australia. You can pick it up with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and 256GB or 512GB of storage. 

Take a look at the widgets on this page for more pricing from across the web. 

HP Elite Folio review: design and screen  

HP Elite Folio review

(Image credit: Future)

A premium laptop through and through, the HP Elite Folio is covered in black vegan leather which looks and feels classy. It won’t be to everyone’s taste but if you’re a professional who wants to carry something around that looks less like a laptop and more like a leather folder then you certainly get that here. Taking it out and about with you should be pretty easy as well, given the fact that it only weighs about 1.32kg. 

Unlike most other 2-in-1 laptops, the HP Elite Folio has a sturdy pull-forward design. That means you can easily place the display however you want, be that flat against the keyboard or stood up at an angle using the stand. A problem I usually have with convertible laptops where you push the screen back by 360-degrees is that it’s not particularly comfortable to convert it to tablet mode because you have to pick it up to flip it, and then the keyboard sits on the back of the device. With the HP Elite Folio, you can keep the laptop securely on the table while you switch over and the keyboard gets covered by the screen. The pull-forward design isn’t always a good thing though because the screen often pops out of place when you’re adjusting the laptop.

While three of the bezels are quite thin, the top one is thicker than what I’m used to. It does ruin the look of it somewhat but maybe I’m nit-picking. The top bezel houses an HD IR webcam and a webcam privacy shutter which you slide across. It’s a little finicky to hide the camera but it’s a good feature to have anyway. To unlock the laptop, facial recognition works quickly and efficiently each time, it’s a shame there’s no fingerprint sensor though. 

HP Elite Folio review

(Image credit: Future)

The low-profile keyboard feels nice to use, the keys are well-spaced out with a travel distance of 1.3mm. I didn’t have any problems with typing out larger documents. Similarly, the trackpad is big enough to use precisely and it is responsive.

Docked neatly in the top of the keyboard is the HP Slim Pen, when you remove the pen it will automatically connect to the laptop. Having a garage that also charges it is very useful, it means you won’t get caught short as can often be the case with included styluses. Primarily, the stylus will be best used for quick note-taking.

HP Elite Folio review

(Image credit: Future)

One downside is that there aren't many ways to connect your devices to it - you’re limited to 2 USB-C ports, a 3.5mm audio jack and the Nano SIM port which you can find tucked discreetly in the pen’s docking station.

The 13.5-inch display is a goo size and has an aspect ratio of 3:2 which is taller than the majority of laptop screens. It gives you a better viewing experience when it comes to documents for instance as you can see further down the page. But when it comes to other tasks like streaming video, it doesn't quite fit right. So there are downsides to it as well as benefits.

With a WUXGA resolution of 1920x1280p, the display is seriously clear and sharp with bright colours and 400 nits peak brightness. It is very glossy so you won’t be using this out in a sunny spot in the garden because it’ll be too difficult to see.

HP Elite Folio review: performance and battery  

HP Elite Folio review

(Image credit: Future)

Packing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen2 5G processor along with Wi-Fi 6 means you can get speedy internet connectivity anywhere. That’s probably one of the biggest plus points to this portable PC. 

Despite this model having a whopping 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, you won’t get the same level of performance as you would from a more powerful Intel-Core Tiger Lake processor. It becomes abundantly clear on this PC as soon as you start more complex tasks like editing videos or when you try to load large games.

Starting up and switching between more basic apps like Microsoft Word or Google Chrome can sometimes take a second as well. You do feel this laptop is trying to keep up with you as opposed to it being the other way around. You can see this in its Geekbench 5 scores, it scraped 796 in single-core and 3,118 in multi-core which is nowhere near more powerful 2-in-1 laptops like the Huawei MateBook X Pro (2021) or the Dell XPS 13 (9310). You’ll get away with using this for documents and spreadsheets, but don’t expect to play video games or use it for intricate creative tasks.

While the laptop may not be a top performer, it does boast decent battery life. I ran a video over two hours on full brightness, in that time the battery level dropped by 26%. That suggests that the HP Elite Folio would last over 7 and a half hours of video playback all in all. That’s not the best I’ve seen but it’s very good going. To recharge it again, it only took about an hour and a half. 

HP Elite Folio review

(Image credit: Future)

Running on Windows 10, everything about the HP Elite Folio is easy to use. When you take the screen out of the laptop position it automatically switches to tablet mode, and when you take the stylus out of the dock, you get shown touchscreen-specific options like the snipping tool and the whiteboard tool for taking quick notes.

The HP Pen itself is very useful. Unlike other styluses, it doesn't quite feel natural to use because it's so flat, and it's not the most accurate pen either so won't be suitable for precise creative tasks. But actually, those flaws won't really matter for the most basic uses like taking notes or quick sketches. 

HP Elite Folio review: verdict 

HP Elite Folio review

(Image credit: HP)

For those who need a productivity powerhouse that can handle absolutely everything you could throw at it, this won’t be the laptop for you. It struggles to cope with more complex software and it isn't the fastest PC in a more general sense either. 

Having said that, the HP Elite Folio is a smart, sleek laptop that won’t look out of place in a business meeting. It’s well suited to professionals who spend a lot of time on the web or writing documents and spreadsheets. It has a long battery life, an included stylus for quick note-taking and 5G connectivity so you can get work done anywhere. 

HP Elite Folio review: also consider  

The best 2-in-1 laptop for most people is still the Asus ZenBook Flip S 13. It’s much cheaper than this PC and it has a striking 4K OLED touchscreen. While it may not live up to the HP Elite Folio when it comes to looks or battery life, its processor actually performed slightly better despite being so much more affordable. 

For professionals, the HP Elite Dragonfly G2 is well worth considering. It combines style and portability with seriously impressive performance which makes it one of the best laptops you can buy right now.

Yasmine Crossland
Yasmine Crossland

Reviews Writer for T3, Yasmine, started writing reviews in 2019 and is always knee-deep in the latest tech products. She keeps a finger on the pulse when it comes to the most exciting and innovative tech and is happy to tell you exactly what she thinks about it too. In her free time, you'll catch her tending to her plants and planning her next big trip.