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July 18, 2012
- Nice-looking design
- Inexpensive cost
- Good keyboard & touchpad
- Above average battery life
- Dim display with limited viewing angles
- Below-average performance
The HP Envy Sleekbook 6z is another Ultrabook laptop that looks to take a bite out of the crowded market. It tries to do this with a rock-bottom price tag of $600 and Beats Audio in an attempt to lure back to school shoppers away from other brands. Performance does lack, however, which is disappointing to say the least.
The Ultrabook laptop category has certainly become very crowded over the past year. This is mostly thanks to smaller mobile CPUs and other components as well as the demand for low-cost, portable laptops. Some Ultrabooks seem come at a cost, whether that be performance, display quality or design, and the HP Envy 6z is no exception.
Because this computer is AMD-powered instead of having Intel components, it's technically not an Ultrabook since that is an Intel-only category. However, we can compare this laptop to those Ultrabooks and therefore, include it in that category for the purpose of our website.
HP designed the Envy Sleekbook 6z to look just that...sleek. It has a black, brushed aluminum lid with a chrome HP logo in the lower right corner. On the deck, the brushed finish continues to make it look very uniform and well-designed. The bottom of the laptop has a soft red material that both looks and feels great.
The size of the HP Envy 6z is 14.7 x 9.9 x 0.8-inches (wdh) and it weighs 4.8-pounds. The physical dimensions of this laptop are very similar to other Ultrabooks but it does weigh a tad more.
The matte black, island-style keyboard had a relatively large size and the keys provided solid feedback. We found the keyboard to provide a very comfortable typing experience with no noticeable flex. The base configuration does not come with a backlit keyboard, but that can be added for $25 extra (and it's well worth it!). The multitouch trackpad was also nicely sized and has a unique mylar coating on it to give a nearly frictionless surface. The responsiveness of the touchpad was also good and we had no issues performing various multitouch gestures.
HP includes a 15.6-inch LED-backlit display with a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels on the Envy 6z. The display was decent, but lacked in both brightness and viewing angles.
One of HP's selling points that it uses for this laptop is the built-in Beats Audio, which is unique for Ultrabook laptops. The audio quality was good overall with only some minor distortion heard while watching a movie.
The selection of ports includes two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, Gigabit Ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks and a 5-in-1 memory card reader.
The internal components include an AMD A6-4455M (2.1-GHz) APU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and an AMD Radeon HD 7500G GPU with 2GB of dedicated video memory. We found performance with the AMD A6 APU to be on-par with the slightly older, 2nd generation of Intel CPUs (Sandy Bridge, not the latest Ivy Bridge). This was evident on the PCMark 7 benchmark of around 1,500, which is well-below the numbers from other Intel Ivy Bridge laptops.
Despite the Envy Sleekbook 6z containing discrete graphics, they perform more like Intel's integrated graphics in real-use. This means you won't be playing any 3D games, but for everything else, it works just great.
Battery life with this laptop tops out at about 6 hours of of life, which is about 30-minutes to an hour longer than other similar laptops.
For more laptop and Ultrabook reviews, visit our Notebook Reviews page.