What do you call an Ultrabook that isn't an Ultrabook?
According to HP, it's now a Sleekbook. At least that's the name they've given to this skinny, affordable 15.6in laptop - which thanks to its use of a 2.6GHz AMD processor cannot use the Ultrabook name (that's reserved for Intel, which gave birth to the genre). But how much of a compromise are you making in going the AMD route?
AMD vs Intel
So what does the use of an AMD chip mean for you, the proud owner of a new Envy 6?
Well, Intel's Ivy Bridge-based Core i5 chips are better at traditional processing and multitasking. AMD's A6-4455M 'Trinity' chip, meanwhile, has more powerful, integrated Radeon graphics, with 512MB on tap.
That will speed up photo and video editing, and make games fly (at least by the standards of a relatively budget, lightweight laptop). Oh, and the AMD-powered Envy is a tempting US$100 cheaper than its Intel-powered brother.
performance and battery life
That goes some way to explaining how HP's made a thin and light 15-incher for just US$660.
Some cost-cutting has clearly been needed. The Envy 6 has a 500GB conventional, spinning hard drive rather than the faster SSD you'll find in an Ultrabook, for instance. But by way of compensation, the Sleekbook is one of the best made machines at this price.
It also has one of the most comfortable keyboards, and a perfectly respectable six-hour battery life.
The Sleekbook's styling stands out in a world of uniform grey, and the Envy 6's metal lid combined with soft rubberised base is a distinctive look that would grace laptops costing three times the price. This really is a handsome machine, all the more astonshing when you consider the asking price.
If you're choosing between a 13in and 15in ultrathin laptop, be aware that the Envy 6 does come with a few drawbacks. The first is its weight: at 5.4lbs, its surpsingly heavy for a skinny laptop.
More crucially, the 15.6in Envy's screen resolution suffers, with its 1366x768 pixel count spread over a larger area than its 13in rivals. It's a shame, for sure, but a forgiveable flaw given the HP's attractive price. Oh, and the glossy screen may cause problems with reflections in daylight.
bring the noise
The cooling fan on the Envy 6 never seems to turn off completely, and as a result is always audible. It's never as obnoxious as the worst we've used from the likes of Sony, but it is a flaw in an otherwise impressive machine.
Don't be fooled by the HP Envy 6 Sleekbook's Beats Audio branding: the speakers on the Envy 6 aren't noticeably better than on any other Ultrabook.
AMD Trinity processors power this Ultrabook alternative, making it cheaper and more battery-filled.
The Envy 6 has a quality metal lid and rubberised base, 15.6 in screen, and its 6GB RAM means faster boot times on its 500GB hard drive than a similar Intel Core i3. Maybe not the sleekest we’ve used, but it's still an excellent, great value laptop.