Hands on with the HP EliteBook Folio 9470m

Check out our full review of the HP EliteBook Folio 9470m laptop. 

With quick boot-up times, long battery life, and thin, lightweight form factors, all Ultrabooks already have the makings of great business notebooks. But when it comes time to connect one to a conference room projector, replace the battery or just keep the data onboard locked up and secure, they’re not up to the task. HP hopes to remedy that with the 14-inch EliteBook Folio 9470m, its first purebred business Ultrabook.

While its predecessor, the Folio 13, helped blur the lines between business and consumer hardware, the 9470m ignores the middle road for a more no-compromises approach, retrofitting a standard Ultrabook with everything it needs for the road.

On the connectivity side, that means no dongles: Ethernet, VGA, and DisplayPort are all native, along with three USB 3.0 ports. You can also outfit it with built-in 4G LTE, and the battery is not only user replaceable, HP will actually sell an add-on sheet battery that brings total runtime up to a whopping 20 hours (it’s a rated a fairly standard 9 hours without).

Business notebook aficionados will also be happy to find a trackpointer (the little rubber pointing nub) in addition to the usual trackpad. Speaking of that trackpad, it’s huge, and this one keeps physical left and right mouse buttons intact. To make IT managers happy, it has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for keeping company data under lock and key, and a docking station for use when you’re more stationary at the office.

At 3.5 pounds and 19 mm thick, it’s not the most waif of the Ultrabook crop, but it easily reaches Intel’s requirements, and compared to old-school business ‘books, it’s a featherweight for its size.

The model HP had on hand was a nonfunctional prototype, but build quality felt right up to EliteBook standards, which are among the highest out there. (Keep in mind though, that without the “p” designation at the end of the name, it doesn’t pass the same military durability standards as some of HP’s other EliteBooks). Interestingly enough, the prototype also had a sheet battery held on with magnets – HP reps couldn’t confirm whether this design would make it to the final product, but it would be an interesting first. And with the SSDs in Ultrabooks finally eliminating sensitivity to magnets, the shift would make sense.

Of all the hardware shown off at HP’s Global Influencer Summit in Shanghai, this might actually be one of the furthest away from arriving: It won’t launch until October, which means no price attached just yet either. If HP’s other EliteBooks are any indication, we expect it to be well north of $1,000, but for road warriors, this one might be worth waiting – and paying – for.

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