Introducing the HP EliteBook Folio 9470m

Something funny happened when a lot of us weren't really paying attention last year: Intel's nascent "ultrabook" specification and definition quietly expanded and, in the process, sort of redefined what a notebook was. In their own circular way, Intel created a brand and changed the way notebooks were built (with ULV Ivy Bridge leading the way); I'm sure it's no coincidence that this trademarked product name has only squeezed AMD further. Ultrabooks that were 14" and larger weren't as rigidly confined by the definition as ones below that threshold, but they're still smaller creatures than the notebooks of old.

If you haven't been paying attention, thin is in. That's great for the consumer space, where certain enterprise level accoutrements aren't as important, but in enterprise, there are features that are more heavily demanded. It goes beyond the basic mil-spec testing: users want true docking stations and longer battery life. And IT departments demand user serviceability. When you're trying to develop a thin chassis, finding some way to include these features can complicate things. HP seems to think they've gotten the balance right with their EliteBook Folio 9470m.

HP EliteBook Folio 9470m Specifications
Processor Intel Core i5-3427U
(2x1.8GHz + HTT, Turbo to 2.8GHz, 22nm, 3MB L3, 17W)
Chipset Intel QM77
Memory 1x4GB Hynix DDR3-1600
Graphics Intel HD 4000 Graphics
(16 EUs, up to 1.15GHz)
Display 14" LED Matte 16:9 1366x768
AU Optronics AUO253C
Hard Drive(s) 180GB Intel 520 SATA 6Gbps SSD
Optical Drive -
Networking Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Intel 82579LM Gigabit Ethernet
Audio IDT 92HD91BXX HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Single combination mic/headphone jack
Battery Long Life 4-Cell, 14.8V, 52Wh (integrated)
Front Side -
Right Side 2x USB 3.0
DisplayPort
SD/MMC Reader
VGA
Docking port
Ethernet
Left Side AC adaptor
Vent
USB 3.0 charging port
Mic/headphone combo jack
SmartCard reader
Back Side -
Operating System Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
Dimensions 13.3" x 9.09" x 0.75"
338mm x 231mm x 18.9mm
Weight 3.6 lbs
1.63kg
Extras Webcam
SSD
mSATA slot
Bluetooth
Backlit keyboard
SmartCard reader
Fingerprint reader
Optional 60Wh slice battery
Optional docking station
Optional WWAN
Warranty 3-year limited
Pricing Starts at $1,349
As configured: $1,349

Despite the overall larger chassis, HP has opted to stick with ULV Ivy Bridge with the Intel Core i5-3427U. The 3427U is similar to the newer 3337U, but has an extra 100MHz on the turbo clocks and another 50MHz on the GPU. This enterprise class notebook makes a very interesting counterpoint to Dell's own XPS 13, reviewed here recently; Dell's XPS notebooks are essentially designed to bridge the gap between consumer and enterprise laptops.

The Folio 9470m sports two user-accessible DIMM ports, but HP only populates one with a paltry 4GB of DDR3-1600, typical of the traditional enterprise tax. Thankfully there's a 180GB Intel SSD standard, as well as room to add an mSATA SSD later. There's also a WWAN slot included, the battery is removable, and HP continues to include a SmartCard reader.

Of course, things being what they are, HP only includes a 1366x768 TN panel display in the basic model of the 9470m and I don't have to tell you that it's spectacularly crappy, even by bad notebook display standards. It's hard to believe in 2013 that I can have 1280x720 on my 4" smartphone, but HP can't somehow do better than that in a stock notebook configuration. Thankfully the 9470m can be ordered with a 1600x900 panel, but that's still a far cry from the 1080p IPS goodness being found on many consumer notebooks.

In and Around the HP EliteBook Folio 9470m
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  • tds456 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I stopped reading at 1366x768. Only while at the comments did I notice "Thankfully the 9470m can be ordered with a 1600x900 panel" You *really* need to include things like this in the specs, even if just in brackets saying option, otherwise people will just keep ignoring the reviews like this one. Reply
  • jabber - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    The thing is the guys at Anand know how most of us feel about crappy screens yet they still keep reviewing them, knowing that 99% of us wouldn't buy it even if the rest of the machine is great.

    It really is time to start pushing those review units back to the manufacturers telling them "Sorry, it's just not good enough! Try harder!"

    Sure you might have a few less laptops to review but there are other things I'm sure. They also might start to get the message and send some quality gear.

    The other thing is that blue or that stock Windows 8 purple just looks so crap on Windows 8. I change all my Windows 8 machines to dark grey and it looks so much better.
    Reply
  • A5 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Public humiliation will do more than just pushing the units back to the PR team. They'd rather have no review than a bad review. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    "people want quality, and they're willing to pay for it." - Fair enough but 'most' users don't even know that they've got a 1366x768 screen.

    "Because despite the fact that the MacBook Pro offers virtually no allowances for business class use, it's still gaining a foothold." - The ONLY reason why this is, is due to marketing and name ONLY.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    I strongly disagree. It may be that way at first in some cases, but people will see the display and they'll want it. Likewise, that display continues to make the MBP a superior choice for any kind of visual work that doesn't involve throwing FCPX out the window. Reply
  • JDG1980 - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    Most users may not be able to specify what resolution their laptop is running at, but they can clearly see that the rMBP has far sharper text and images and better color reproduction than cheap PC displays. It just plain looks better, by a significant margin. Reply
  • nerd1 - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    Non retina MBPs are still being sold, and they have class tailing 1280 800 resolution display. Yes it is TN too. Reply
  • sperho - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    The display is somewhat disappointing in both the resolution and quality regard, but as someone who has been using a corporate issued laptop in a variety of brands for the past 15 years, this laptop is by far the best laptop I've ever had issued to me. I travel a fair bit and it's lightness, very respectable battery life, reasonable speed, port options, docking station, backlit keyboard... Oh, I LOVE this laptop. Would I buy it if I had control over what I get for work? No. One has to understand what this laptop if for and for whom by whom it is purchased. As such, it is by far the best machine that I've ever used for work. It isn't perfect, but it's great mobile option that even conservative IT departments will accept. Reply
  • sperho - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I should add, my employer REQUIRES smartcard capability and it takes a phone call to security to gain temporary login credentials if we don't have our company pass on us (smartcard pass) to logon to the machine. There just aren't a huge variety of machines that have smartcard slots in them. That doesn't excuse the base display option, but given the options, it does it's job and does it well. Reply
  • crimson117 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    This would be fine as long as it's in a docking station attached to a large external monitor.

    1366x768 is not usable even for business email, let alone productivity apps.

    And then to offer crappy quality 1366x768 put the nail in the coffin.
    Reply

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