HP Elite Folio vs. Microsoft Surface Pro X: Battle for the best ARM on Windows machine

HP Elite Folio vs. Microsoft Surface Pro X: Battle for the best ARM on Windows machine

Windows on ARM is slowly catching up with the pace this year. We saw HP launching the Elite Folio, a 2-in-1 laptop powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen2. But it’s unlike any ARM-based Windows laptop that we’ve seen in a while, thanks to its vegan leather exterior. In our review, we rated it as the best Windows on ARM PC, but how does it stand up against Microsoft’s Surface Pro X? Both run on almost identical chipsets and you also get a convertible form factor, but which one is better?

HP Elite Folio vs. Microsoft Surface Pro X: Specifications

HP Elite FolioMicrosoft Surface Pro X
CPU
  •  Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen2 (up to 3.0GHz burst frequency, 4MB L3 cache, 8 cores)
  • Microsoft SQ1 (Up to 3GHz, 8 cores)
  • Microsoft SQ2 (Up to 3.15GHz, 8 cores)
Graphics
  • Qualcomm Adreno 690 Graphics
  • Qualcomm Adreno 685
  • Qualcomm Adreno 690
Body
  • 298.45×229.36×16mm (11.75×9.03×0.63 inches)
  • 1.32kg (2.92 pounds)
  • 287×208×7.3 mm (11.3×8.2×0.28 inches)
  • 774 gms (1.7 pounds) without keyboard
Display
  • 13.5″ diagonal, WUXGA+ (1920×1280), touch, IPS,
    BrightView, Corning Gorilla Glass 5, 400 nits, low power, 72% NTSC
  • 13” PixelSense (2880×1920), 267 PPI, 3:2 aspect ratio, 10 point multi-touch
Ports
  • 2 SuperSpeed USB Type-C 5Gbps signaling rate (USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4)
  • 1 headphone/microphone combo
  • 1 Nano-SIM
  • 2 x USB-C
  • 1 x Surface Connect port
  • Surface Keyboard port
  • 1 x nano SIM
Storage
  • Up to 512GB PCIe NVMe TLC SSD
  •  Up to 512GB
RAM
  • Up to 16GB LPDDR4 4266MHz RAM
  • Up to 16GB LPDDR4x RAM
Battery
  • HP Long Life 4-cell, 46 Wh Li-ion battery
  • 65W USB Type-C adapter
  • Up to 15 hours of typical device usage
Audio
  • Bang & Olufsen quad stereo speakers
  • Dual array microphones
  • Dual far-field Studio Mics
  • 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio sound
Keyboard
  • HP Premium Collaboration Keyboard – spill-resistant, backlit keyboard
  • Clickpad with multi-touch gesture support
  • Surface Pro X keyboard (sold separately)
  • Surface Pro X Signature keyboard with Slim Pen bundle
Camera
  • 720p HD privacy camera
  • 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p full HD video
  • 10MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD and 4k video
Connectivity
  • Qualcomm Atheros 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2) Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE Cat 16
  • Wi-Fi 5: 802.11ac compatible
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE model
Color
  • Black
  • Matte Black
  • Platinum

Design

Both the HP Elite Folio and Microsoft Surface Pro X offer flexible form factors but are quite different when you set them next to each other. The Surface Pro X is a tablet-first device that attaches to the external keyboard using magnets and pogo pins similar to other Surface devices. You can prop it up using the kickstand at the back, or just fold or remove the keyboard if you want to use it in tablet mode or tent mode.

The Elite Folio on the other hand feels more like a laptop. It has a nice vegan leather cover around it and the keyboard just stays with it all the time. Also, you can use the Elite Folio in tent mode by pulling the display from the bottom or just lay it flat to use in tablet mode.

 

The Surface Pro X is slimmer, lighter, and easier to carry around, and while you might think it offers more flexibility, there are some things to consider. First, the keyboard on the HP Elite Folio not only stays with the rest of the laptop but also offers better key travel and a more tactile feel. You also get a slightly larger trackpad on the Elite Folio compared to the Surface Pro X and bonus points for the more natural and convenient placement of the USB-C ports.

While we’re leaning more towards the Elite Folio, the design is subjective to user preference. Some might prefer the slim tablet form factor while others might appreciate the thought behind the traditional clamshell-first design.

Display: The Elite Folio offers a larger, more color-accurate panel

Once again, we have some pros and cons. The HP Elite Folio offers a larger 13.5 inches full HD (1920 x 1280 pixels) touchscreen display. The Surface Pro X offers a smaller 13-inch display but with a higher resolution of 2880 x 1920, which means it’s sharper. But if you compare the performance, the Elite Folio offers better color reproduction and accuracy, but the display on the Surface Pro X is brighter. Like the design aspect, it’s up to you whether you want a brighter and sharper display, or if you want something bigger with better color accuracy.

Performance: Both are equally matched

The HP Elite Folio is powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 and can be configured with up to 16GB RAM. The Surface Pro X is available with either SQ1 or SQ2 chips, which are basically variants of the Snapdragon 8cx Gen and Gen 2. On paper, both are very similar and benchmark tests suggest the same. The Elite Folio and the Surface Pro X rendered similar scores on Geekbench 5, with the former only marginally better.

You do need to consider the fact HP offers the Elite Folio with optional 5G connectivity for faster mobile connectivity, while the Surface Pro X is limited to 4G.

Conclusion: Which one should you buy?

We’d recommend you go for the HP Elite Folio as it offers a more wholesome experience. It feels more natural to use and doesn’t compromise on the form factor. At the same time, the Surface Pro X is also a brilliant device as it’s lighter, has a brighter and sharper display, and even costs less. But at the end of the day, it’s a tablet and that restricts some of your productivity especially on Windows.

    Microsoft Surface Pro X
    The Surface Pro X is Microsoft's attempt at making an ARM-based Windows detachable machine that's powered by a custom version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx.
    HP Elite Folio
    The new HP Elite Folio is a premium hybrid laptop from the company and also one of the best Windows machines powered by an ARM chipset.

If you aren’t convinced with either of these, check out our lists of the best laptops for 2021, the best 4G laptops, and the best 5G laptops.

About author

Kunal Khullar
Kunal Khullar

PC building enthusiast currently exploring the gaming industry. My love for tech began at an early age and I also have a keen interest in photography, music, PUBG Mobile, automobiles and a knack for keeping things clean. Email: [email protected]