The Folio G1 was introduced a while ago but it’s still a trending device and it’s not hard to see why. This ultraportable fellow is a worthy representative of the EliteBook lineup with sleek all-aluminum design, incredibly light and thin, completely silent and doesn’t compromise with the keyboard and the touchpad. Surely such a small chassis must come with some challenges but has the Folio G1 found a way to overcome them?
HP’s business solution for the elites comes with a small aluminum chassis measuring just 12.4 mm in height and tipping the scale right under 1 kg (980 g to be exact). Since there’s no room for a conventional cooling solution, HP has stuck with the Core m5-6Y54 mobile SoC and has sacrificed some I/O along the way. This might be an inconvenience for most users so prepare to spend a few extra bucks on a decent USB-C Thunderbolt dongle to expand your connectivity options. The 12.5-inch display ensures a good multimedia experience while the keyboard and touchpad work well on the go. But what about battery life? With a small 38Wh unit, you can’t really expect ground-breaking results but they are more than enough to keep things going for quite a while. The thin and light design always takes its share, though, especially when you have a passive cooling solution in the mix.
The notebook comes in a small luxurious black box containing all the usual user manuals and AC adapter. Unfortunately, since the laptop has only two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, you cannot plug in your peripherals unless you carry a dongle. It would have been nice on HP’s behalf to at least provide a standard USB-C to USB-A adapter.
Design and construction
As we stated earlier, the EliteBook Folio G1 impresses with premium and portable design. The ultrabook sports anodized aluminum for the base and the lid, chrome-colored metal hinges and the only plastic you’d find around the bezels and even there, HP has used soft-touch matte finish making it feel even more sophisticated.
The appears to be very rigid and doesn’t give in too much under pressure. When pressed at the back, ripples don’t appear on the LCD screen while the material seems to be resistant to torsion as well. The small metal hinges provide smooth linear travel up to one point but then both hands are needed to fully open the device. This should prevent excessive rocking of the screen when in an unstable environment. Speaking of the display, the side bezels are delightfully thin and the upper one is reasonably big to make room for the IR camera and the webcam as the former is used for the Windows Hello feature. The bottom of the laptop is made of the same anodized aluminum and since the device uses a passive cooling solution, the only grills are for the loudspeakers.
The chamfered sides contrast to the whole metallic finish of the device but probably due to some design limitations, there are only three ports – one 3.5 mm audio jack on the left and two USB-C Thunderbolt ports on the right. But keep in mind that one of them is used for charging the device so when stationary, the ultrabook provides only one connector and without a dongle to expand the I/O, it’s pretty much useless. As all small ultrabooks, the Folio G1 suffers from the same issue – not enough I/O.
Opening the notebook reveals the same anodized aluminum finish for the interior so this means that fingerprints and smudges aren’t visible while the area is pretty stable and resistant to pressure. There’s only one spot – between the spacebar and the touchpad – that appears to be slightly flexible but nothing to worry about during normal use. As for the keyboard, it feels surprisingly deep and each keystroke results in satisfying clicky feedback. More often than not, we see thin ultrabooks lacking the comfortable typing experience but as you can see, the Folio G1 is one of those exceptions here. The clickpad has smooth gliding surface, offers deep and stable mouse clicks but somehow lacks responsiveness from time to time. It’s not that big of an issue but it’s there. You can feel it.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
As expected, the device doesn’t come with dedicated service lids so you have to remove the whole bottom cover in order to access the internals.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
As most ultrabooks, the Folio G1 comes with just one M.2 SSD slot and the unit we reviewed featured a Micron M.2 SATA SSD with 256GB capacity.
|M.2 SSD 2280 slot 1||256GB Micron M.2 SATA SSD||Buy from Amazon.com|
The memory chips are soldered to the motherboard and can’t be upgraded or changed. The configuration we’ve tested had 8GB of DDR3L-1866 memory.
The Wi-Fi card is placed near the huge heatsink and it’s Intel 8260D2W.
The battery takes up most of the internal space and it’s rated at just 38Wh.
Obviously, the cooling system is passive because the SoC allows it to be. You see the huge copper heatsink placed on top of the SoC in the image below.
The EliteBook Folio G1 comes with a well-known Full HD (1920×1080) 12.5-inch IPS panel from AU Optronics with model number B125HAN02.2 (AUO226D). The screen offers 176 ppi, 0.144 x 0.144 mm pixel pitch and can be considered as “Retina” from at least 50 cm.
The display has excellent viewing angles.
We’ve recorded a peak brightness of 310 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 291 cd/m2 as average across the surface with 15% maximum deviation in the lower left corner. The correlated color temperature at maximum brightness is a bit warmer than it should be – 6300K and remains pretty much the same when we go along the grayscale – 6180K. You can see how these values change at 140 cd/m2 (73% brightness) in the image below.
The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the screen should be no more than 4.0 and if you are planning to do color-sensitive work, it should be lower than 2.0. But in this case, since the laptop is going to be used mostly for multimedia, office work and web browsing, a deviation of 3.1 in the lower left corner of the screen can be overlooked. The contrast ratio is high – 1100:1 before calibration and 1090:1 after calibration.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
As to be expected, the display covers just 56% of the sRGB color space.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 19 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes.
You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
Fortunately, we didn’t detect any PWM across all brightness levels so it should be safe to use in this regard.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
Overall, the display quality is good – high contrast, high maximum brightness and doesn’t use PWM for regulating screen brightness. However, the limited sRGB coverage doesn’t allow us to give the display an excellent score.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for HP EliteBook Folio G1 configurations with 12.5″ AUO B125HAN02.2 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
The sound quality is surprisingly good given the size of the body. The loudspeakers provide clarity in the low, mid and high frequencies.
The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region
HP EliteBook Folio G1 technical specifications table
HP EliteBook Folio G1 configurations
We used the pre-installed Windows 10 for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from HP’s official support page.
Although this tiny fellow sports a rather small 38Wh battery, the endurance is quite impressive probably thanks to the small 12.5-inch display and the energy-efficient mobile SoC, the Core m5-6Y54. In fact, the battery performance of this thing is better than most devices we’ve tested with a passive cooling solution.
All tests, of course, are done using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows battery saving feature turned on.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
CPU – Intel Core M5-6Y54
The Core m5-6Y54 CPU is part of the Skylake generation processors and it’s part of the very power efficient SoCs from the m lineup. Due to its extremely low TDP, which can be adjusted from 3.5W up to 7W, but normally being 4.5W, the SoC can be integrated into passively cooled 2-in-1 devices, ultrabooks or tablets. The processor incorporates two cores supporting the crucial Hyper-Threading technology ticking at 1.1 GHz and can go up to 2.7 GHz for one active core and 2.7 GHz for two active cores. It’s manufactured using the latest 14nm FinFET process.
Normally the CPU can reach the core i5-6200U CPU in some short synthetic benchmark tests, but since the CPU is heavily temperature dependent, during prolonged usage the SoC won’t be able to keep up. So its performance relies quite a lot on the passive cooling system of the device.
The SoC also integrates Intel’s HD Graphics 515 GPU, codenamed GT2, with 24 EUs (Execution Units) clocked at 300 MHz and can go up to 900 MHz. Anyway, the whole SoC, including the GPU and memory controller (dual-channel LPDDR3-1866/DDR3L-1600), is rated at 4.5W TDP but it can be lowered down to 3.5W or raised as much as 7W but that’s up to the OEM that builds the machine.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-m5-6y54/
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from our Photoshop benchmark test (the lower the score, the better)
GPU – Intel HD Graphics 515
Normally, the Intel HD Graphics 515 can be found on the latest Core m Skylake SoCs but it’s considered as a low-end iGPU. It represents the GT2 variants of the Skylake iGPUs and features 24 of the so-called EUs (Execution Units). They are clocked at 300 MHz and can go up to 1000 MHz but that depends on the CPU model.
Intel claims about 40% better performance than the last HD Graphics 5300 (Broadwell) generation GPUs, but that is strongly dependent on the CPU model and the TDP so statistics may vary. However, there are some notable features that come along with the HD Graphics 515 like H.265/HEVC fully hardware decoded and supports outputs like DP 1.2 / eDP 1.3 and HDMI 1.4a. The GPU can handle up to three displays connected simultaneously.
The power consumption of the whole SoC may vary, but most of the time it’s 4.5W. Nevertheless, it can go down to 3.5W or go up to 7W. These numbers include the CPU, iGPU and the memory controller.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this GPU:
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
The two-stage stress test that we run on all machines we test can’t be considered as a real-life usage scenario but it does give us a good idea of the overall cooling performance and stability of the system in the long run.
We started with one hour of CPU stress testing and the Intel Core m5-6Y54 was able to run at its maximum operating frequency of around 2.3 – 2.4 GHz for a short period of time, then slowly went down to 1.6 GHz and staying there for good. This suggests of a good implementation of the SoC with the passive cooling solution.
Of course, after we turned on the GPU stress test, the CPU’s frequency dropped to 700 MHz. This ensures better iGPU performance when both chips handle heavy workload together at the same time.
Temperatures on the surface appeared to be quite normal with the only a bit warm spot being the upper center of the keyboard where the heat from the SoC is dispersed.
Excellently built 12-inch ultrabook with the usual trade-offs for an ultra-portable device while still being relatively well-priced. It has a generally good display (the sRGB coverage holds it back), good input devices and extra long battery life. All the essential features for a business-centric machine.
However, like most ultra-portable 12-inch device, the EliteBook Folio G1 comes with some deal-breaking trade-offs. Firstly, the performance of the mobile SoC might not be enough for everyone, although it should do just fine for office work and general web browsing. Secondly, the rather limited I/O needs to be considered, especially if you are coming from a bigger notebook. Still, thanks to the pair of USB-C ports supporting Thunderbolt 3, the expandability is quite big but with dongles, of course.
- Portable, lightweight and sturdy design
- Good keyboard and touchpad
- Good IPS display with high brightness and high contrast
- The display doesn’t use PWM
- Two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 connectors
- Long battery life
- Color-deficient display
- Only two USB-C connectors