Head-To-Head: HP EliteBook Folio G1 Vs. Microsoft Surface Book

The Next Generation Of Business Laptops?

Right now, just about every vendor seems to have their own vision for what the business/professional user wants out of a work computer. And, actually, some device makers even have multiple different visions that they're testing out to see what connects with professionals.

Two of the most interesting visions of the moment come from HP Inc., in its ultra-slim EliteBook Folio G1 notebook, and Microsoft, in its powerful Surface Book 2-in-1 laptop. Both come loaded with Windows 10 Pro, and both are pretty sleek-looking, but there are plenty of differences to consider between the two. Which one is a better fit for customers? In the following slides the CRN Test Center compares the specs and prices for the EliteBook Folio G1 and the Surface Book.

Also, be sure to check out more of the CRN Test Center's side-by-side comparisons of the latest smartphones, tablets, and 2-in-1s.

Thickness And Weight

If getting a thin and light laptop for work is goal No. 1, HP's EliteBook Folio G1 is going to be the best bet over practically anything else out there -- the Surface Book included. The Folio G1 is 0.47 of an inch thick and weighs 2.14 pounds (for the nontouch version), and 0.49 of an inch/2.36 pounds (for the touch version).

By comparison the Surface Book (with the keyboard attached) is notably thicker and heavier – 0.9 of an inch thick and 3.34 pounds.


Part of how HP achieves such a thin and light form for the EliteBook Folio G1 is with a low-power processor (which doesn't require a fan). That processor is, depending on the configuration, Intel's Core m5-6Y54, m5-6Y57 or m7 (clock speeds of up to 2.7 GHz, 2.8GHz or 3.1GHz, respectively). The processors are certainly powerful enough to handle a lot of multitasking, but there's more horsepower available through the Surface Book's processor options. Those would be Intel's top-of-the-line processors, the 6th-gen Core i5 or i7, which boast clock speeds of up to 3GHz and 3.4GHz, respectively. Higher-end models of the Surface Book also include an Nvidia GeForce Graphics Processor (for gaming or using other graphics-heavy apps).

Memory And Storage

The standard version of the EliteBook Folio G1 comes with 8 GB of memory and 128 GB of SSD storage, though more storage -- 256 GB or 512 GB -- can be added for a customized version of the laptop.

The Surface Book has a few more options. The device is configurable with 128 GB, 256 GB, 516 GB or 1 TB of SSD storage. Memory-wise, the Surface Book comes with either 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM.

Display And Battery Life

There are some options for the 12.5-inch display on the EliteBook Folio G1. For the nontouch version, the Folio comes with a 1,080p display (resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, while the touch-screen version has options for 1,080p or a 4K display (3,840 x 2,160), which looks amazing.

The 13.5-inch Surface Book PixelSense display also impresses with resolution of 3,000 x 2,000, and its promised battery life is superior to the Folio at 12 hours.

Hardware And Ports

The EliteBook Folio G1 comes with an aluminum body, which has a 180-degree hinge so the device can open completely flat. The laptop aims to be productivity-friendly with two USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt support (Thunderbolt 3 Dock is optional). The Surface Book, meanwhile, has a magnesium body and its keyboard can detach, allowing the device to be used just as a tablet. It's also got plenty in the way of ports, with two full-size USB 3.0, an SD card reader, Surface Connect (for power and docking) and a Mini DisplayPort.

Video And Audio

For the sake of collaborating with colleagues, the EliteBook Folio G1 is looking to distinguish itself with Bang & Olufsen audio and a ’collaboration keyboard’ (which includes a button that lets users start a video chat or call). The laptop is outfitted with a 720p HD camera.

The Surface Book has a bit more to offer in the webcam department, with a rear-facing 1,080p HD camera as well as a front-facing 1,080p HD camera. For audio, the device comes with Dolby speakers.


For the budget-conscious, HP's EliteBook Folio G1 may be worth considering first. At the lower end, the G1 with Windows 10 Pro is $1,005 (nontouch with m5 processor and 128 GB of storage – not too shabby). At the higher end, the laptop can be configured to have the touch screen, an m7 processor and 512 GB of storage for $1,715. Other configurations will range in price in between the two.

The Surface Book will fetch more of a premium for most configurations. The starting price of the laptop is $1,499 for the 128-GB version with an i5 processor and 8 GB of RAM, while adding 128 GB in storage and the Nvidia GeForce Graphics Processor will bring that version up to $1,899. The Surface Book has a number of other configurations, too, including, for $2,699, a 512-GB version with an i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and the GeForce processor.