HP has been fleshing out its Ultrabook lineup as of late, most recently adding the metal-clad Envy Spectre XT to the mix, but the company is also addressing the lower end of the market with its Sleekbook line, announced back in May. Confusingly, these thin-and-light systems look exactly the same as the new Envy-branded Ultrabooks, except that the Sleekbooks are less expensive — namely because for one reason or another they don’t meet Intel’s Ultrabook guidelines. One such notebook, the Envy Sleekbook 6z, stands apart from the Ultrabook fold with an AMD Trinity APU — a spec that helps keep the starting price nice and low at $600.
That’s not to say that all of HP’s Sleekbooks ditch Intel processors, but given the choice between and AMD- and Intel-based model we quickly chose the former. After all, the 6z is the first Trinity-powered system we’ve had the chance to test, so we were naturally curious to see how it stacks up against recent Ivy Bridge machines — and we imagine you are, too. So without any further ado, let’s get to it.
Look and feel
At 4.75 pounds, this laptop isn’t a featherweight, but then again, its 15.6-inch display does make it one of the larger thin-and-lights we’ve seen. With a thickness of 0.78 inches, the 6z walks the line between Ultrabook and mainstream systems. The Dell Inspiron 15R is a fatter 1.18 inches, for example, while the 15-inch Acer Aspire V5 measures in at 0.9 inches. Still, it can’t hold a candle to a proper ultraportable like the 15-inch Samsung Series 9, which measures just 0.58 inches. Whatever weight class it belongs in, for a $600 laptop the 6z boasts a pretty sweet design, not to mention solid build quality. The aluminum lid and keyboard deck sport a black, brush-textured finish, while the red soft-touch bottom provides a tasteful pop of color (it makes it pleasant to hold and use in the lap as well). Save for some requisite Beats branding above the keyboard and in the upper bezel, you won’t find many embellishments or adornments here. All told, it’s one of the more understated designs that HP has unveiled over the past few years.
For a $600 laptop, the 6z boasts a pretty sweet design, not to mention solid build quality.
While whittled-down machines make the best travel companions, we can also sing the virtues of laptops with a little more meat — as more to love generally equals a larger selection of ports. The 6z includes an Ethernet port, one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 connections, HDMI, and an SD card slot, along with your standard headphone out and mic jack. Optical media fans can configure the machines with an external DVD tray for an added fee.
Keyboard and trackpad
The 6z’s recessed, island-style keyboard has a spacious, comfortable layout. The square-shaped keys provide a satisfying amount of travel, though we found that some keys were stickier (i.e., less likely to register our presses) than others. HP could have extended the keyboard a bit on each side to span the width of the laptop, though our fingers didn’t have a hard time finding key buttons like Enter and Shift. While we would appreciate a tad more spacing between the keys, they don’t feel cramped, and the recessed design feels more ergonomically sound than a flush layout. As it happens, there was no backlighting on our review unit, though it is offered as an upgrade option.
What is it about trackpads that makes them so prone to awfulness? Okay, the Synpatics ClickPad on the 6z isn’t atrocious, but considering how often you interact with this part of the system, its shortcomings add up to one very prominent item on our cons list. In general, the trackpad offers too much resistance. While it often didn’t register our gestures, though, it sometimes was overly sensitive, interpreting our pinch-to-zoom as a command to magnify text by 200 percent. As with other recent HP machines, too, the built-in button is a bit stiff. It also occasionally mistakes left clicks for right clicks, but for the most part it got them right.
Display and sound
Having a modest resolution of 1,366 x 768 doesn’t automatically make a laptop display bad, and indeed, the Sleekbook’s LED panel is decent for what it is. Colors on web pages and in video clips look balanced, if not especially vibrant. In a side-by-side comparison with the Lenovo IdeaPad U310, images on the 6z looked bright and crisp, while the IdeaPad’s screen takes on a decidedly bluish overcast.
As you’d expect of a garden-variety LCD screen, though, viewing angles aren’t exactly superb. Tilting the display more than an inch forward or moving to the left or right of center will cause some serious wash-out, but you could probably host a two-person viewing party without a problem. So no, you’re not going to rave about this display, but unless you make a blind purchase, thinking you’re getting a premium product, you likely won’t be too disappointed.
The 6z is part of the Envy line (heck, it’s made by HP) so Beats Audio is naturally on board. And marketing hype aside, that’s actually a good thing. The technology offers a much better listening experience than the tinny, canned sound on most other laptops at this price. There’s a limit to that boost in audio quality, though — you won’t forget that you’re pumping sound through a notebook, and a more budget-priced one, at that. Still, the built-in subwoofer delivers some pleasing bass notes. Above all, though, you might appreciate the sound most of all when listening with headphones — at least, that’s the setup we ultimately preferred.
To find out more, click the link below for the full review
Price and availability of the HP Envy Sleekbook 6z laptop in USA
The HP Envy Sleekbook 6z laptop is priced at 600$ and you can buy it directly from HP’s website.