HP is today introducing a new laptop that's thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air — a stylish Windows 8 machine called the EliteBook Folio 1020. Even though HP is boasting about this laptop's slim size, it isn't necessarily taking aim at Apple here. HP says that it's designed the Folio 1020 with office users in mind: the laptop includes a proprietary enterprise port and a fingerprint reader for security, and it's said to pass military-grade drop and shock tests, since office workers are apparently quite clumsy.
The Folio 1020 comes in two different models
This laptop is otherwise along the lines of what you would expect. It has 8GB of RAM, an SSD that ranges from 128GB to 256GB, and a claimed 9 hours of battery life. It's also running on an Intel Core M processor, which means that the laptop is fanless. That's good news for those looking for a quieter and cooler machine, but it remains to be seen exactly what kind of performance these gentler processors will be able to offer.
It's important to note that the Folio 1020 comes in two different models, only one of which is lighter than the Air. The Standard Edition of the Folio 1020 is a touch heavier, includes a 12.5-inch, 1080p display and is able to be upgraded to include a touchscreen. The Folio 1020 Special Edition is the lighter of the two models, at 2.27 pounds, with a body made of carbon fiber and a magnesium-lithium alloy. That model includes a 12.5-inch, quad HD display, but it doesn't have a touchscreen option. It also has a sweet red accent on the hinge. The Standard Edition will be available in February, and the Special Edition will be available in April.
No pricing has been announced yet, but it sounds as though both models of the Folio 1020 will be a bit more expensive than an Air. That's unfortunate given how light and nicely built they appeared to be during our initial impressions of them. If their performance holds up, they could make for new Windows alternatives to the Air — but it's also quite possible that they'll be held back by HP's dedication to enterprise. Features like HP's enterprise port will be totally unnecessary to many, who would rather see this design used for a laptop aimed at the average consumer. HP says this type of design could eventually make its way down the chain, but there are no public plans for that just yet. For now, you'll be stuck trying to convince your boss to let you upgrade that decade-old ThinkPad.
Folio Standard Edition: