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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  • juampavalverde - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    The thing is: a 1300 usd ultrabook with that screen? go home hp. People, please, refuse to buy this, refuse to review it, sent this company back to the design board, this cant posible, c'mon, a thinkpad t60 from something like 8 years ago had a 1400x1050 display on 14" and this "premium enterprise laptop" just hd and 1600x900 as an option... goddamit Reply
  • meacupla - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    It's also kinda big and heavy to be a proper "ultra"book.

    At first, I thought the photo was badly done, but I guess that's how crappy the screen really is on this thing.

    Did HP throw in the towel? They seem to not care that the competition, like asus, dell, MS offering some pretty damn good ultrabooks and convertibles for $900~1300?
    Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    $1300 for a crappy 768p TN and a measly 1 year warranty.

    And Intel wonders why their darling isn't selling. Besides do people even want to pay premium prices for premium PCs to begin with? The ASP of ~$400 suggests not.
    Reply
  • Silma - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    PC manufacturers cry themselves to sleep over low demand and tight margins and market shares lost to tablet but after years of crisis they are still incapable of assembling a decent PC, still thinking that choosing super bad parts such as panels of outdated TN technology with ultra low resolution crappy colors and brightness is just the right thing to put in an overpriced "enterprise" super premium priced notebook.

    No Wonder customers are loosing faith.
    Reply
  • StrangerGuy - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I wouldn't put all the blame on the OEMs, the whole industry is to blame for its own undoing. They thought they were innovating with oh-so-many Core whatever SKUs when in reality they are only selling Internet and Excel appliances that people only bought because there was no alternative.

    Then smartphones and tablets happened.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Your typical enterprise notebook is docked and using external displays 95% of the time; while still annoying when unlocked this is less of a problem than with a similar consumer model.

    On the price front, the docking port itself probably has at least $100 of soak the businessmen surcharge.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    This laptop is a f_cking joke and disgrace. And Intel wonders why people are not jumping on the "ultrabook" bandwagon.

    Only thing ultra about this laptop is ultra"sh!tty".
    Reply
  • Stephen Owen - Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - link

    I disagree. Put a 1080p (or higher) IPS display on this thing and it would be a dream.

    Well, it IS exceptionally loud. I've got one next to my mammoth Latitude e6510. I literally can't hear my typing over the scream of its turbines. I think the laptop is about to begin hovering, in fact.
    Reply
  • bhima - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Agreed. I paid under $1000 for basically the same spec'd Samsung Series 9 (smaller hard drive, only 128gb) and it has a fantastic 1600x900 screen that is quite bright and the light is well distributed with good viewing angles plus its thinner than a razor's edge. Reply
  • tomrocksalot - Friday, February 21, 2014 - link

    Ah yes I was in the same situation... and I bought the 9470m... second hand admittedly and upgraded it.
    My HP has the following benefits over a series 9 (which I was otherwise going to buy)
    8GB ram, 256 SSD, 1600x900 display, 1TB hdd, loads of ports and other features the series 9 does not have. Screen is larger at 14",( is it a pro is it a con???)
    If I bought a series 9 I would be lugging around an external HDD and dongles which kills the whole size difference IMHO.
    Reply

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