Display Quality

There are crappy, low resolution TN panel displays, and then there are panels that suck out loud. Jarred and I have been over this a million times, but sometimes you get a display that's bad even by bad standards. That's the stock display in the HP EliteBook Folio 9470m, and if you're interested in this notebook I sincerely urge you to consider buying a unit with the 1600x900 panel, which cannot possibly be as bad as the stock panel.

Don't believe me? See for yourself:

LCD Analysis - Contrast

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - Delta E

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

This is without a doubt one of the worst panels I've ever tested, and it's a testament to how obnoxiously cheap vendors behind the Windows PC market really are. It's difficult for me to be professional when I'm looking at a notebook that has a panel I would've judged poor even when I started writing reviews at AnandTech, before tablets with crisp IPS panels started proliferating in the marketplace. There's no excuse at all for this panel to even see the light of day except in a $300 budget junker, let alone in a notebook you're paying north of $1,300 for.

We bumped up our battery testing to start panel brightness at 200 nits instead of 100 nits; that means this notebook's battery life was tested with the backlight at its highest level. This is an ugly, ugly panel, and in 2013 there's simply no excuse for it. I've personally told reps at HP and other vendors that this isn't going to fly anymore, I know Jarred has as well, and Anand's even told manufacturers that this kind of penny-pinching will allow the burgeoning convertible tablet market to subsume the notebook market at large.

Battery Life

Speaking of battery testing, I was able to test the Folio 9470m with both its substantial 52Wh stock battery and its 60Wh extended slice battery. If ultrabooks can be relied upon for anything, it's producing excellent battery life, and that turned out to be true here despite the screen running effectively at maximum brightness.

Battery Life 2013 - Light

Battery Life 2013 - Medium

Battery Life 2013 - Heavy

Battery Life 2013 - Light Normalized

Battery Life 2013 - Medium Normalized

Battery Life 2013 - Heavy Normalized

As it turns out, the slice battery not only more than doubles the 9470m's already healthy battery running time, it actually improves the system's efficiency somewhat. For basic use, the 9470m can give you a healthy five hours at least. Add the slice battery, and suddenly you're good for roughly the whole day.

Heat and Noise

Battery life is good, but heat and noise are a bit less desirable.

The Folio 9470m's thermals are actually very good, but HP has clearly tuned the system to favor temperatures over acoustics. The result is that while it's impressively cool under load (sub-80C in an ultrabook is excellent), the fan spins up and produces a high-pitched whine. Under the circumstances I honestly favor tuning for silence over thermals; the XPS 13 proves that you can let the processor run a little toasty without that heat transferring too directly to the end user, and I'd prefer the 9470m took that tack.

That in mind, though, the cooling system is handled almost entirely through the side of the notebook as opposed to the bottom, which is greatly appreciated as it allows the 9470m to actually be used as a laptop.

System Performance Conclusion: This Just Isn't Okay Anymore
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  • Voldenuit - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Of course, things being what they are, HP only includes a 1366x768 TN panel display in the basic model of the 9470m

    I stopped reading right there. Can we put sentences like these in the first line or title of all future mobile reviews?
  • speculatrix - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    Shame that anandtech spent so much time reviewing this. I never got beyond the screen spec.. in fact I skipped as much of the article as possible to get to screen spec first.
  • Mumrik - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    Yup. I noticed the trackpoint and got interested. The I saw the resolution and just jumped, and skimmed, the conclusion.
  • speculatrix - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    Now that you can fly replace a desktop computer with a laptop/notebook computer and not compromise on performance, storage, memory or GPU, the only real differentiator is screen quality and build quality.

    Whenever I see a laptop review here the first thing I look for its the screen resolution and type. This means that this HP will never be considered for my next laptop replacement due in 4 months.
  • Stephen Owen - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    This is a beautiful laptop with every other feature you would want. To scimp so badly on the literally feature which integrates the user with the computer (The flipping screen!!) is penny-pinching shortsightedness as bad as I've ever seen.

    This thing looks wonderful and exudes desirability. Until you turn it on. Ten seconds with the screen and you know it was hamstrung by someone's red ink.
  • frostyfiredude - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    1300$ for a 1366x768 TN with 159:1 contrast ratio. That's embarrassing. Does HP no long have standards? 199$ netbooks had better displays.
  • mayankleoboy1 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Didnt Intel specify that for a Notebook to be labelled as an Ultrabook, it had to have 1080P display ?
  • JarredWalton - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I wish! Maybe in the Haswell (3rd Gen Ultrabook) we can get that? Doubtful, though -- and really, I'm not sure we'd even see it in the generation after that. Honestly, until Windows can handle DPI scaling perfectly, I don't see it happening. Windows 8 skirts the issue by doing well on the new Windows 8 UI and Apps, but not on desktop apps.
  • jabber - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Time to just send those poor screen machines straight back Jarred.
  • James5mith - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    No, Intel's new requirement is that Ultrabooks have touchscreens. Nothing about resolution sadly. Also, as a side rant: Why can we get 1080p panels on 13" laptops, and 15" laptops, but 14" laptops only come with 1600x900 as the max resolution?

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