Introducing the HP EliteBook Folio 9470m

Something funny happened when a lot of us weren't really paying attention last year: Intel's nascent "ultrabook" specification and definition quietly expanded and, in the process, sort of redefined what a notebook was. In their own circular way, Intel created a brand and changed the way notebooks were built (with ULV Ivy Bridge leading the way); I'm sure it's no coincidence that this trademarked product name has only squeezed AMD further. Ultrabooks that were 14" and larger weren't as rigidly confined by the definition as ones below that threshold, but they're still smaller creatures than the notebooks of old.

If you haven't been paying attention, thin is in. That's great for the consumer space, where certain enterprise level accoutrements aren't as important, but in enterprise, there are features that are more heavily demanded. It goes beyond the basic mil-spec testing: users want true docking stations and longer battery life. And IT departments demand user serviceability. When you're trying to develop a thin chassis, finding some way to include these features can complicate things. HP seems to think they've gotten the balance right with their EliteBook Folio 9470m.

HP EliteBook Folio 9470m Specifications
Processor Intel Core i5-3427U
(2x1.8GHz + HTT, Turbo to 2.8GHz, 22nm, 3MB L3, 17W)
Chipset Intel QM77
Memory 1x4GB Hynix DDR3-1600
Graphics Intel HD 4000 Graphics
(16 EUs, up to 1.15GHz)
Display 14" LED Matte 16:9 1366x768
AU Optronics AUO253C
Hard Drive(s) 180GB Intel 520 SATA 6Gbps SSD
Optical Drive -
Networking Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Intel 82579LM Gigabit Ethernet
Audio IDT 92HD91BXX HD Audio
Stereo speakers
Single combination mic/headphone jack
Battery Long Life 4-Cell, 14.8V, 52Wh (integrated)
Front Side -
Right Side 2x USB 3.0
DisplayPort
SD/MMC Reader
VGA
Docking port
Ethernet
Left Side AC adaptor
Vent
USB 3.0 charging port
Mic/headphone combo jack
SmartCard reader
Back Side -
Operating System Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
Dimensions 13.3" x 9.09" x 0.75"
338mm x 231mm x 18.9mm
Weight 3.6 lbs
1.63kg
Extras Webcam
SSD
mSATA slot
Bluetooth
Backlit keyboard
SmartCard reader
Fingerprint reader
Optional 60Wh slice battery
Optional docking station
Optional WWAN
Warranty 3-year limited
Pricing Starts at $1,349
As configured: $1,349

Despite the overall larger chassis, HP has opted to stick with ULV Ivy Bridge with the Intel Core i5-3427U. The 3427U is similar to the newer 3337U, but has an extra 100MHz on the turbo clocks and another 50MHz on the GPU. This enterprise class notebook makes a very interesting counterpoint to Dell's own XPS 13, reviewed here recently; Dell's XPS notebooks are essentially designed to bridge the gap between consumer and enterprise laptops.

The Folio 9470m sports two user-accessible DIMM ports, but HP only populates one with a paltry 4GB of DDR3-1600, typical of the traditional enterprise tax. Thankfully there's a 180GB Intel SSD standard, as well as room to add an mSATA SSD later. There's also a WWAN slot included, the battery is removable, and HP continues to include a SmartCard reader.

Of course, things being what they are, HP only includes a 1366x768 TN panel display in the basic model of the 9470m and I don't have to tell you that it's spectacularly crappy, even by bad notebook display standards. It's hard to believe in 2013 that I can have 1280x720 on my 4" smartphone, but HP can't somehow do better than that in a stock notebook configuration. Thankfully the 9470m can be ordered with a 1600x900 panel, but that's still a far cry from the 1080p IPS goodness being found on many consumer notebooks.

In and Around the HP EliteBook Folio 9470m
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  • danbi - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    Do you suggest that those who work for "enterprises" should suffer from low screen resolution? So that they cannot see more on the screen and be more productive? Only "toys" should have quality screens?

    HP used to have better displays. My 8 years old 15" HP laptop has 1920x1200 display. Why this crap now? Why an "elite" business laptop has to have such mediocre display?
    Reply
  • SteveLord - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    It could be $500 and people would still whine about the resolution. It happens everytime for every laptop or tablet. I have 20 of these issued and they have been a huge hit. Now I agree that except for the Dreamcolor series, HP screens could be better. And I agree these should be priced lower. But your average corporate/enterprise user won't notice or care about anything beyond the size of the screen itself and how heavy or light the laptop is. Reply
  • meacupla - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    for $500? 1366x768 is fine, as long as the viewing angles and colours are acceptable. This is the case with Asus X202E. X202E uses a semi decent TN panel, unlike this $1300 garbage from HP. Reply
  • Tams80 - Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - link

    I wish you could get 1920x1200 on ANY laptop now. As far as I know there aren't any newish ones with that resolution. =( The last were a 17" HP Elitebook with Dreamcolour display and the 17" MBP if I recall correctly. Reply
  • Grennum - Monday, April 1, 2013 - link

    Lets take a piece of serious business software like MS Dynamics AX. I watch people all day fighting with low res screens constantly scrolling around instead of being productive. Then they see me using my high res screen(on a engineering laptop) and are amazed that I don't have to do that.

    Just because people have never known any different doesn't mean it's unimportant. It is the result of companies like HP pushing required IT features (like smart card readers) and low cost at the expense of productivity and the IT departments not caring. It is not the users, it is the IT department who should be pushing back on this.

    The average user doesn't know or need to know the resolution spec, but they should know that the person who did spec the machine cared, which I find is often not the case.
    Reply
  • hrrmph - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    The reviewer nailed it on this one.

    HP got credit where credit was due (SSD, USB 3.0, etc.). But, he rightly scorched them on the display and keyboard.

    We shouldn't have to turn in our classics for equipment that is inferior, even if it is thinner.

    -
    Reply
  • blazeoptimus - Saturday, April 6, 2013 - link

    I was very disappointed in this article. It's obvious Dustin is reviewing this device from a consumer oriented device perspective. All of the objections mentioned are valid more for a laptop you'd find in best buy, the one your considering your corporation. Take for example the screen. I'm not a fan of the 1366x768 res, and I'd opt for a 1600x900 screen for myself if it were available. That being said, the primary reason you'd choose this laptop over a standard ultrabook would be its docking station (something only briefly touched on in the article). If your using a docking station, then your most likely using external monitors. Users will opt for larger, easier to read monitors, if available/practical. This means that the built in monitor really will only see light use, since users will use there docked displays most of the time. If you also include the fact that its not uncommon for corporate apps to be built to run in 1024x768, it becomes apparent that a 1366x768 screen is adequate for those few times a 'mobile' user will be away from his desk, but still need his laptop. The second point I take contention at is the 4 gig of ram. Again, it's fairly common for a corporate app to still be 32bit. Some major apps will still not run on 64bit windows. Even with the ones that are, it's very rare for an office worker or exec to need more than 4 gig to run there corporate apps. In these cases, the 4 gig is a waste. Also, by going with one chip, it's very easy to bump it to 8 if the need arises. As to the price, its competitive with other business class ultra books. Service and build quality are usually better on business class items, so there not priced in the same category.

    In short, again, your applying the rules we'd use when buying a personal laptop to a laptop that was never intended for that market. You should be looking at it from the perspective of laptop that could easily see deployments in the thousands for an organization. In this context your points of 'rage' hold less validity.

    I'm a network admin and I use a 9470m as my primary machine.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Sunday, April 7, 2013 - link

    Being thin (as in Ultrabook-thin) does almost nothing for an "Enterprise". However, being expensive, having a screen unsuitable for real work and only a 17 W CPU do hurt. Looks like a really unbalanced product. Reply
  • sperho - Thursday, May 2, 2013 - link

    I'm an enterprise user and I couldn't disagree more. I travel. A lot. I love the thinness and this alternative hit the spot. The screen is useable for mobile computing and when I'm in my office, I have two 22+" monitors that fit the bill. This computer is a mobile *option* within our company. More desk-bound employees do not and are not recommended to choose it; we have other options for those folks. Reply
  • Wolfehosue - Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - link

    The HD+ screen is released. This is the hold back for this form. The device is as thin as it can be while including VGA so if they drop that it can go thinner. Still limited with RJ45 but could be thinner than a Mac Air. Reply

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