Hands on: HP Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook review

It seems this device was designed with the younger set in mind

What is a hands on review?
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Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

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CES 2013 is where you'll find Windows 8 devices galore. So it's interesting seeing how some PC hardware manufacturers are trying to stick out from the rest of the pack. Take Hewlett-Packard and the company's HP Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook, for example.

The Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook is actually a lot like the vanilla plain Pavilion Sleekbook, which was also present. Both devices sport an AMD A-Series APU (Advanced Processing Unit) CPU, 6GB of memory (which can upped to 8GB), and 1TB hard drive.

HP Touchbook Sleekbook

When it comes to connecting it to cameras, smart phones, external displays, and the like, you have HDMI plus both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.

HP has also loaded it with plenty of their proprietary solutions: HP TrueVision HD Webcams and HP MyRoom are designed for video calling and sharing images, HP CoolSense regulates temperature, and HP ProtectSmart keeps files safe and sound in case the Touchbook Sleekbook gets knocked around.

Again, everything above is common to the regular Pavilion Sleekbook. So what's the key difference? The name should be everyone's biggest clue; the Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook has a 15.6-inch touch capable screen, to offer an alternative method to interacting with Windows 8.

Speaking of touching, the feel of the machine overall is its most distinct attribute. The machine sports a plastic body, resulting in a finish that's shiny. Very shiny. It also sparkles: instead of being solid black, it's covered with what can only be described as glitter.

HP Pavilion

The Sleekbook is HP's line of low-cost laptop alternative, so one might make the guess that such a design choice was intentionally to perhaps make it appeal to the tastes of the younger set. That's only a wild guess, and as unfair such an assumption might be, many others will have the same gut reaction.

Sticking with the impression that the HP Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook was engineered for children, one might assume that it's a lightweight device, but that's simply not true; it's shockingly heavy.

No specific weight numbers were handy when asked, and considering the size of the screen, perhaps some degree of weight is to be expected. But the toy-like appearance and feel simply betrays those expectations.

Exacerbating the situation is the hinge. It's stiff and makes opening and closing difficult. The keyboard also felt a bit mushy. Did we mention how, again due to the finish, it collects fingerprints like nothing else?

Yet there is one genuine positive of the device, and it's the trackpad. It's the same texture that adorns the speaker grill, so the end result is something that feels very nice to slide one's fingers around with (as well as very different).

HP Touchbook Sleekbook track pad

Just messing around with it for just a minute leaves an impression, and a hope that other laptops follow suit.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned key differentiating factor is also a major disappointment. The responsiveness of the touchscreen was very accurate, but the image quality was sub-par. The colors were also noticeably washed out. The 1366 x 768 resolution, for a 15-inch laptop, feels rather dated for 2013, even if it is a budget machine.

HP Pavilion Touchbook Sleekbook

And when compared to the HP Pavilion Sleekbook, its touch capable bother is still not the best bargain either. Given all the strikes against it, the US$649.99 is somewhat hard to swallow. Though be sure to check it out for yourself, when it arrives on Febuary 3.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity1 TB
Processor ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon HD 7500G
Wireless LANYes
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyPavilion Sleekbook 15-b100
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelA6-4455M
Operating SystemWindows 8
Brand NameHP
Processor Speed2.10 GHz
Processor TypeA-Series
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells4-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory6 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.10 kg
Cache2 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityEPEAT Silver, WEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset ModelA70M
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 2.98 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyBrightView
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Height21 mm
Width386 mm
Depth259 mm
Screen ModeHD
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Series15-b100
Product Model15-b118sa
Product NamePavilion 15-b118sa Sleekbook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LinePavilion Sleekbook
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberD0W76EA#ABU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hp.com/uk
Marketing Information

We believe an everyday notebook should be anything but ordinary. That's why we gave the HP Pavilion Sleekbook a thin and light design that goes where you do. Email from the comfort of your couch. Plan a budget over a bite to eat. Connect with friends on Facebook from just about anywhere. All with the new fast and fluid Windows 8.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Pavilion 15-b118sa Sleekbook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter