A Review of The HP Envy Sleekbook
Confession time – I’ve been using the same Windows based laptop for 5 years. Surprising right? It has served me well in the past, but now it feels more like a cousin of the Acme anvil than the cutting edge performer I bought years ago.
When I bought my old laptop my list of needs for a portable computer were not that long – I needed something portable that could run Windows XP and MS Office and that was about it.
Since then my list of need-to-haves has grown.
- I’m a Mom now, so I’m budget conscious. I need something under $1000.
- I carry it with me everywhere, so I need it to be lightweight.
- Since I tend to sit anywhere and work, I need something with great battery life.
- I also listen to music all day so I need something with good sound.
- I also want a large screen and a keyboard with great back lighting.
- It needs a hard drive that is large enough that I don’t need to carry additional storage with me, and
- It has to be fast enough to keep up with my video conference calls that involve screen shares.
Let’s face it, I’m a power user. I sit in my home office with my music blaring, monitoring social feeds while writing, copying files and editing images. My list of my need to haves makes it impossible to find something I love without doing a ton of research.
Coincidentally as I was traveling through an airport giving the airport security guy the stink eye for mocking my old laptop (which looks like it belongs in the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology I should add) I got an email from HP about their HP Envy Sleekbook. Although the specs looked great, to be honest I wasn’t expecting much from a machine with a price tag of only $699 Canadian.
HP asked me to give it a try – saying they wanted my honest opinion on how it performed. When it comes to trying out new electronics, I can certainly do honest, and if you remember my list of needs you’ll assume (correctly) that I wasn’t expecting to come away with a great feeling.
When the HP Envy Sleekbook came in I saw instantly why HP chose to call it a sleekbook – it really is sleek. It’s thin, lightweight and looks, well, sexy. The lid is black brushed aluminum, and the underside is a sexy crimson. It reminds me of those shoes super expensive red soled shoes I could never walk in.
The keyboard is fullsized, and the keys are quiet and the clicking feels comfortable. I know for some people this seems like a picky thing to check, but I hate hate hate a sticky keyboard.
At 15.6′, the screen looks big and with a recommended resolution of 1366 x 768 there is more than enough screen space for me to work with.
When it booted up the HP utilities walked me through setting up Windows 7 and Norton Internet Security. I was pleasantly surprised to find most of my favourite apps pre-installed. Evernote, LoJack, Skype and others were all there – saving me time on the initial configuration.
As soon as I was up and running I skyped with my friend who was stunned by the great quality of the top mounted TrueVision HD camera with integrated microphone. She could hear and see me loud and clear, and we didn’t have any of that annoying feedback that’s caused by laptops with the microphone sitting right next to the keyboard.
This is probably a good time to talk about the audio – Beats by Dre on board. Yup, those Beats by Dre. The speakers blared great sound from Soundcloud and Grooveshark with good bass tones and excellent mid range audio.
This machine has HDMI out which means I can stream video from it right to my TV. This is GREAT for visiting the grandparents that don’t have internet access – over Thanksgiving I simply loaded up the Envy with the latest and greatest pictures and video of the Geekling’s hockey practice and plugged it into the TV for everyone to see.
Due to it’s small form factor there is no CD/DVD/Blu-ray drive, but with an SD/MMC card slot and 2 USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 slot, you can easily get around that.
I have been running this machine through the ‘normal stressors of life’ … work, writing, skype, streaming video and audio, and, um, Lego Digital Designer and find it boots quickly, comes out of sleep mode easily, and all of my apps run smoothly. Much more than I expected from a sleekbook. Its AMD A6-4455M APU processor isn’t known as the fastest out there, and likely wouldn’t handle hardcore gaming with gusto, but it’s certainly enough for the typical user and midrange power users.
All this to say, the HP Envy Sleekbook exceeded my expectations. If you’re looking for a cost effective portable computer for your student, your traveler or yourself, the HP Envy Sleekbook is worth a look. For myself? I think I just found a replacement for my Acme Anvil.
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Full Disclosure: HP provided me with an HP Envy Sleekbook to try. No other compensation was provided, and my opinions on the HP and their product are 100% my own. I don’t make this stuff up.