Hands on: HP Elitebook Folio 1020 G1 Bang and Olufsen
In this world of commodity products and devices, the special edition has become a something of an art in many inventories.
As evidenced by its ambitions to take premium personal computing devices beyond mere tools, HP Inc with its Spectre device hopes to compete with Apple and others in the high-end desirable device stakes, being the thinnest laptop on the market currently. But, just before that all new device, the Elitebook 1020 G1 got the special treatment with a new colour palette and speakers from Bang & Olufsen, as well as tuned audio, noise cancellation capabilities, and consequently improved audio playback and conferencing capabilities.
The 1020 B&O, we’ll call it, shares the chassis and base configuration with its vanilla 1020 G1 reviewed previously. The 1020 B&O gets a performance boost from slightly uprated processor in the form of an Intel Core M-5Y71, over the M-5Y51.
The Bang & Olufsen influence is a set of stereo speakers, and a colour set of a satin graphite grey main colour with bronzed accents on the keyboard, hinge and keyboard. The audio processing is done by a Realtek high definition audio unit, with HP’s own noise cancellation processing for audio input and output. There are also dual microphones for better audio input. A DTS audio control panel gives equaliser control, as well as presets for music, movies and more. This is certainly welcome and gives a premium device a special feel, elevating its playback capabilities beyond the tinny, squeezed experience that it usually is.
That said, the number of times you are going to enjoy your music collection through the speakers of a laptop are probably limited. But the number of times that a conversation via Skype or Lync or whatever, that may be enhanced by the combination of Realtek, HP and B&O, is likely to be greater and far more appreciated. The enhanced audio capabilities, when combined with the processing power and connectivity capabilities, mean that a video call, conference link or video presentation is going to be a far more enjoyable experience, whether receiving or broadcasting.
Added to all of this is the fact that the 1020 B&O is now available ex-VAT from HPShop.ie for €1320 odd makes it a very competitive special edition, as the vanilla version was significantly more when released.
If you are in the market for a thin and light ultrabook spec machine, and you like your tunes, then the 1020 B&O is for you. The new colour options are distinctive without being brash and the price is no bar. While the Spectre might be steeling some of the limelight, the 1020 B&O can enthral with a superior laptop audio experience and be the better for it.