Review: 5 Things We Love About HP’s Elite Folio

The CRN Test Center finds a unique design and convertibility, paired with strong battery life and a great keyboard, on the Elite Folio.


Even with the wide array of laptops available in 2021—thanks in no small part to the booming demand for portable PCs—finding a truly different laptop design that still offers full business functionality is rare.

HP’s Elite Folio is one such rarity.

Brand new to HP’s Elite lineup of commercial PCs for 2021, the Elite Folio takes the concept that HP originated with the Spectre Folio two years ago, and brings it to business users. The two most obvious differences with the Elite Folio, as with the Spectre Folio, are the pull-forward display and the leather covering for the laptop (though it’s faux leather this time).

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[Related: CES 2021: HP’s 10 Coolest New Laptops And Convertibles]

But there are a number of other elements to the Elite Folio that make this notebook worth considering, especially for businesses that are looking to equip their executives or employees with a laptop that is both stylish and work-ready.

We’ve been trying out the HP Elite Folio at the CRN Test Center, and what follows are our five favorite features on the notebook.


The Elite Folio comes with a pull-forward display, which can be brought forward to lock into position closer to your viewing. The pull-forward mode still allows for use of the touchpad, and work uses could include scrolling through web pages or reading through a PowerPoint—tasks that don’t require a keyboard and might be nicer to perform with the display pulled closer. The touch screen is also a bit easier to use in this mode, leading to slightly less issues with arm discomfort.

However, this is also where the hybrid work argument for the Elite Folio might come in. Watching HBO Max or Netflix in pull-forward mode might make the most sense of all for this feature. And with the excellent, full-sounding speakers on the Elite Folio, we enjoyed the entertainment experience of the laptop in our tryout. Businesses that are looking to equip their team with laptops that can be used for both professional and personal purposes, in a hybrid work scenario, might be able to provide the Elite Folio in part as a perk.

Along with pull-forward and laptop modes, the Elite Folio display can also be used in tablet mode. The 13.5-inch display itself looks great, with resolution of 1,920 x 1,280 and brightness of up to 400 nits.


Like with the Spectre Folio, the Elite Folio has a design that feels less industrial, and a bit more comfortable to look at and carry around than typical metal laptops.

For users that are interested in finding something distinctive and different for their laptop, the Elite Folio certainly has that with its vegan-leather exterior. The leather folio aesthetic is also a great fit for professionals.

In terms of portability, the Elite Folio is fairly lightweight at 2.85 pounds—meaning that it’s not among the lightest 13-inch notebooks hitting the market now, but still lighter than some.

Battery Life

At the CRN Test Center we aim to test out battery life to approximate real-world scenarios, with heavy usage and multiple applications and browser tabs open at a time. That means we generally don’t achieve the generous battery life estimates provided by manufacturers. Thus, the eight hours of battery life that we got in our tests of the Elite Folio is still a strong showing, even though it falls far short of HP’s promised battery life for the notebook (up to 20 hours).

Helping to enable the strong battery life is the use of an Arm chip rather than Intel—Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx (Gen 2). Notably, the Elite Folio also does not need a fan.

Keyboard and Pen

Don’t let the stylish design confuse you: the Elite Folio is still a laptop that you can get a lot of work done on. Case in point is the keyboard, which is terrific—the keys are comfortable and deep, with key travel of 1.3 mm. We found the keyboard to be as fully capable as any other HP Elite laptop keyboard, and overall a pleasure to use.

In terms of other input options, the Elite Folio comes with a digital pen that is also a high point. As evidenced by the Elite Slim Active Pen that comes with the notebook, laptop styluses have come a long way. The best aspect is that the pen is stored in a space above the keyboard, and it charges there too—eliminating two of the big headaches of the past with laptop pens. It’s also very functional, with minimal latency (though still not identical to the experience of a pen on paper). And lastly, the pen features a button that can be customized to open different apps on the Elite Folio, such as Microsoft Whiteboard, OneNote or Sticky Notes.

Business-Friendly Features

While not included on our unit, we did want to mention two of the optional features on the Elite Folio that business users might appreciate—especially as business travel resumes.

The first is the option for an integrated privacy screen, HP’s Sure View Reflect display. The display prevents visual hacking from onlookers by darkening the screen when viewed from an angle—ideal for any business or mobile professional working with sensitive information.

The second feature also offers a boost to security on-the-go—with optional 5G connectivity offered through the use of the Qualcomm Arm chip. Arguably, the killer use case of 5G for businesses is not the speed, but rather the security from not having to rely on public Wi-Fi.

For users that don’t spring for 5G, the Elite Folio still offers LTE connectivity.

The HP Elite Folio is available for $1,889 as configured for our review, with 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage.