HP Folio 13 review
The Folio 13 has the best keyboard of any ultrabook to date. While the Asus Zenbook UX31 and Toshiba had well spaced layouts, the keys were incredibly shallow. The soft-coated keys on the Folio, however, don’t suffer from those issues — perhaps, because of the added thickness of the base of the system. The squared-off keys are just the right height and feel great. Sure, the deck on the Lenovo U300s was similarly comfortable, but HP understands the importance of lining the bottom of the deck with a backlight. Yes, you get illuminated keys here, though you cannot adjust the brightness and there’s no ambient light sensor to automatically adjust the light level. However, the F5 key doubles as an on / off switch for the light.
Almost every ultrabook I've reviewed so far has been ruined by a flaky touchpad with integrated buttons, but the Folio 13's touchpad is much better than most. It's still far from perfect, though. The good news is that the ClickPad itself is adequate for navigating. My usual finger positioning — keeping my thumb on the left mouse button and an index finger on the pad — didn’t result in any cursor jumps. It was smooth navigating throughout my testing. Similarly, two-finger scrolling was very responsive: no added pressure was needed to get to the bottom of this very website with light drags.
The bad news is that the hardware itself could be more ergonomic. The 4.5 x 2.5-inch pad is very stiff, meaning that clicking not only takes more effort but is rougher on the side of a finger. Additionally, there isn’t much room between the keyboard and the pad. A few times my palms swiped at the pad as I was writing this review, causing the cursor to jump to another place in the text. This poor palm rejection is something I’ve seen with a number of these ultrabooks and is likely a result of poor software drivers. At least you can easily disable the touchpad by double tapping twice on the small rectangle on the top left corner of the pad. HP's ruined plenty of laptops with bad trackpads in the past, but the Folio 13's unit marks notable improvement both for HP and for ultrabooks in general. Unfortunately, it still can't hold a candle to the MacBook Air's glass pad.