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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  • Colin1497 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Does anyone actually pay list price for this stuff? When I was last involved in IT budgets, Dell used to give us pretty steep discounts on everything and we were a relatively small company. I'd guess that loyal HP customers pay $1000 or less for this $1300 laptop, or more likely, right around $1300 with all the upgrades you'd expect (screen, RAM, etc.)
  • gostan - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    So, the razer edge with a 13x7 display @ 2k is an interesting beginning. the elitebook folio with a 13x7 display at 1.4k is not ok?
  • marc1000 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    338mm x 231mm x 18.9 is not groundbreaking compared to 329mm x 226mm x 23.8-27.8mm, found on the LG P430 released 2 years ago with a Sandy Bridge CPU. sure it thinner, but it is not smaller in any other dimension. I guess the wheight would be more of an advance. It is a nice evolution though, it just has to happen to ALL notebooks, including the cheaper ones.
  • darwinosx - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    It is ridiculous and ignorant to say Apple inflates their prices. Thats the sort of linkbait and immature comment I would expect to see on Engadget, not Anandtech. They have some custom components, much higher quality panels that they actually calibrate, and far superior service and support and quality control which costs money.
    You can buy a 13-inch retina display Macbook for as little as $1299. Show me a PC laptop that remotely approaches that. Plus you still have to use Microsoft's latest mediocrity of an OS.
  • Asmodian - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Apple's margins are much higher than the industry norm. It costs them less to make their devices than they sell them for compared to other manufacturers. What else would you call it?
  • scottish_usa - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    As a business consultant I've been a road warrior for the past 16 years or so and a good dependable laptop is key. I have had a couple of iterations of the HP EliteBook for the past two years and they are rock solid. Quiet, light, sturdy, reliable and with good battery life. I'd take a thinkpad over this if the option was there but compared to the lucklustre offerings of Dell this is a good work machine.

    As with most, I dock and use a large bright LCD panel at work. In meetings it's connected to a 1080p conference room projector. The built in panel only gets used if I am working remote or using it in transit.

    Specs don't tell you the full story and you don't really think a customer buying 1000 units pays full retail do you ?
  • Little Elephant - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    My previous Fujitsu NOTEBOOK is lighter, cheaper, have a bigger volume of hard drive and not the less battery life than this "Ultrabook". What's wrong with hp's engineering?
  • gamoniac - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I agree with the other readers. Why waste our time and bandwidth reviewing a laptop with 768P screen? Sorry, Dustin, but I skipped this article. Thanks for your time.
  • bradcollins - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I have sold a handful of these to our business customers over the last 6 months and I completely agree with the review, the laptop is well put together and being an ultrabook with a dock is the main reason why we sell them. The feature I like the most is that they actually have buttons for the touchpads which actually work unlike the horrible clickpads most companies seem to use in Ultrabooks - maybe due to the overall depth of the notebook?

    We have just sold a 9470m with a 1600x900 screen, the 1366x768 screen is complete crap and when I saw the higher res panel get launched a few weeks ago I got quite excited. This one will be about the highest spec one can buy, an i7 3687u, 8gb ram, 256gb ssd (I assume it will be a micron) and of course the 1600x900 screen.

    The 1600x900 screen still has crappy viewing angles according to HP's specification sheet, so I don't expect I'll be amazed by it, but at least it will have a larger resolution
  • The0ne - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Can't agree with you and others more on this subject. It's depressing and ludicrous to see laptops like these. This unit is 3.5+lbs, that's not an ultrabook. The screen is a real shame and anyone in their right mind shouldn't be buying this at all. This is one where I will agree to some boycotting via your wallet :)

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