In and Around the HP EliteBook Folio 9470m

If you've kept up with my reviews of HP's EliteBook line you're not going to find any surprises here with the Folio 9470m. The current styling has been working out fairly well for HP and still feels like it stands head and shoulders above what Dell is doing with their notebooks. Outside of the XPS line I feel like Dell's aesthetics on virtually all of their lines, consumer and enterprise alike, have gone almost completely off the rails. The current generation Inspirons look like Speak-and-Spells, while Precision notebooks look like cheap knock-offs of ThinkPads from ten years ago. Placed in that company, the EliteBook line looks positively futuristic.

With all that said, though, the current design motif of HP's EliteBooks is beginning to wear out its welcome. The machined aluminum lid and body is coupled with black plastic on the keyboard and display bezel. The bottom of the body is comprised of what feels like black carbon fiber, though it could just as well be well-treated plastic. Either way, the machine as a whole feels very sturdy, but I do feel like it's time to move on.

I continue to be pleased with how HP has been handling the backlit keyboard and especially the smooth glass surface of the touchpad; HP's keyboard layout is traditional, comfortable, and easy to use. Key depth is good, flex is minimal. There's a trackpoint in the center of the keyboard, traditional for enterprise notebooks, and the touchpad is large and roomy. Ironically, the recessed touchpad was more desirable in the Windows 7 era; with Windows 8, edge gestures are harder to perform. Truthfully, though, I'm kind of done with chiclet keyboards. They work fine for the most part, but I'd like to see at least enterprise systems go back to traditional keyboards.

HP really takes care of the enterprise customer with the 9470m, though, and they do that in four ways: continuing to employ SmartCard readers, offering a side-mounting docking bay (the notebook is too thin to use the bottom-mounting ones, so HP is transitioning to these), offering a bottom-mounting slice battery, and making the ultrabook totally user serviceable (complete with replaceable battery).

Opening up the 9470m is a bit of a chore as you have to unscrew and remove the panels in a specific order, but you can see that overall it's a pretty smart and efficient layout. Everything you'd be able to replace in a traditional notebook, short of the CPU, can be replaced in the 9470m without too much hassle. Honestly this is one of those things I wish I'd see a little more frequently in consumer notebooks; only enthusiast-class units are really this user friendly anymore.

I also had a chance to try out the slice battery and dock. The dock feels just a touch loose, but it only blocks the VGA and ethernet ports on the notebook (which it replaces), and in exchange brings a tremendous amount of flexibility, including four USB 3.0 ports and an additional DisplayPort. I also like how the bottom of the dock allows you to mount it to the wall if you're so inclined.

The slice battery, on the other hand, can be a lot more fiddly. Once it's locked in, it's locked in, but getting the notches to line up and securely tilt in was abnormally frustrating. I was able to, and I suspect with practice it wouldn't be an issue, but the difficulty is nonetheless worth mentioning. The 60Wh slice battery does add at least a pound of heft to the 9470m; this was already a pretty light notebook so that's not a huge deal, but it's very noticeable.

Introducing the HP EliteBook Folio 9470m System Performance
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  • Tipsy McStagger - Monday, May 6, 2013 - link

    I just ordered a C6Z63UT from BB. While the specifications indicate it is a 1366x768 display, it says that it is an HD Active Matrix TFT Color Backlit LED LCD. Is this the same display as tested in this review?
  • john12345p - Monday, October 14, 2013 - link

    Can't decide between 2 HP laptops that you reviewed here on that site last year. HP EliteBook 2170p and HP Folio 9470m.
    Our IT department at work is offering either one of these and I don't know which one to choose. The are no other choices. Which one to choose among these two? Which one is better ultimately?
  • john12345p - Monday, October 14, 2013 - link

    Basically, which one of the two sucks less? 2170p or 9470m?
  • CTIBWI - Friday, October 25, 2013 - link

    I am in the market looking for a skinny companion to my luggable HP EliteBook 8560w Dreamcolor. HP pre-sales directed my attention to the EliteBook Folio, which is a waste of my time! HP is surely falling behind here, which disappoints me when I have been an HP fan since the HP35 calculator. HP shall strive with implementing the leading edge technologies above milking the customer with incrimental improvements. Only then will HP beat Apple and the like gaga evangelistas.
  • Davbaster - Thursday, October 31, 2013 - link

    I received one hp 9470m laptop for Work but with a 1600x900 screen resolución, a 256gb SSD, and 8gb of ram. This Computer is super fast, and it's very light compared with the normal bussines Computers I used to have. I will recommend it for Work; turning it on and off is fast. I used to avoid using My Work Computers at home because the customised OS windows My company uses take a lot of time to boots up, and power off. But not with this laptop. Now I'm ready to Work in less than a minute. I really recommend the HP 9470m for Work . I'm really Happy with this Computer.
  • lbluepromo01 - Sunday, December 29, 2013 - link

    I tell you guys i recommend to you when you buy some hardware should be branded. My loptops and other gadgets as of now they are good in performance. I used them everyday. thanks for this good site. <a href=" direct coupons</a>
  • daNY_b - Thursday, January 16, 2014 - link

    Hey guys what kind of battery life do you get with this? Im on Power saver with screen brightness pretty low and only get about 4-4.5h of use(browsing, youtube, wifi) nowhere near the 7:30 h that this article says. Suggestions will be appreciated !
  • tomrocksalot - Friday, February 21, 2014 - link

    Yes that is right I run linux mint and battery power usage minimum is 8.8W on minimum brightness doing nothing. 52Wh/8.8 = 5.9h
    Realistically I have the brightness on full or near full most of the time and power consumption is around 10-14W. Say 12w - 52wH/12 = 4.3h sounds about right.
  • linopks - Friday, March 7, 2014 - link

    I bought this HP Folio 9470m with i5-3427U @1.8GHz w 8GB RAM 180 SSD from Newegg. This is a fast booting Win 7 machine (about 12 sec) versatile business grade laptop that you can use it around at home due to its relatively light weight (compared to average laptops). While the dual-channel 8GB RAM somewhat boosts up the HD4000 graphics capability so that we can still play some graphic games, and also a spare room for a second mSATA drive to install large games. At native resolution 1368 x 768, the native font (without distortion) is just the right size. A second large 1080p extra monitor can be attached to the slim docking station for graphic and serious business work. Why would anyone need a 1080p resolution crammed into a 14 inch laptop monitor (the native size fonts will be so small).
  • WalkInTheGlow - Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - link

    Laptop HP EliteBook 9480m - is a beast. Yes, of course the price exceeds the limit. But the laptop very cool. Design excellent. It works like a clock, do not hang. The speakers are loud, even at full volume include, neighbors regret. The video quality is very good, my favorite movies pleased to review on this Toshiba, get aesthetic pleasure. The battery holds 4-5 hours, for such a machine, which is very good

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