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HolidayBuyer's Guide

HP Envy Sleekbook 6 review:

HP Envy Sleekbook 6

From our benchmark results, it's clear the A6 isn't as fast as Intel's mainstream Core i5 CPU, especially when it comes to multitasking. To be fair, AMD isn't claiming that it is a direct performance match. That said, you should think about what type of tasks you use a laptop for. If it's the same as the vast majority of users, that's surfing the Web, e-mail, social networking, and streaming online video.

In anecdotal hands-on use, this laptop, despite the slower processor, is perfectly fine for any of that, even with a standard 5,400rpm hard drive instead of an SSD, and with 4GB of 667Mhz RAM. The fact is, most laptops are very overpowered, considering the relatively simple things we ask them to do.

AMD's A6 is a combination of a CPU and GPU (the company calls it an APU, a bit of made-up marketing speak). The AMD Radeon HD 7500G isn't the same as getting a high-end discrete Nvidia (or even AMD) card, but it's better than traditional integrated graphics. In our Street Fighter IV test, at 1,366x768 resolution, we got a fair 26.7 frames per second. Depending on what you're playing, it's similar to moderately better than Intel's current-gen HD 4000 integrated graphics. Fine for casual gaming, but you'll have to keep the settings turned down for most current A-list games.

Juice box
HP Envy Sleekbook 6-1010us Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.47
Sleep (10 percent) 0.8
Idle (25 percent) 6.47
Load (5 percent) 23.15
Raw kWh 27.48
Annual energy cost $3.12

Going in, I was a little concerned about the potential battery life on this laptop, as AMD systems have traditionally not been as strong in this area as their Intel counterparts. But, this latest generation of A-series CPUs seems to have made some improvements in this area. The HP Envy 6-1010us ran for 5 hours and 41 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, which is very impressive for a 15-inch midsize laptop.

HP includes a one-year parts-and-labor warranty (although I've seen other, more expensive, Envy laptops start with a two-year plan). Warranty upgrades are confusing, with discounts that don't show up until you've added a specific plan and laptop to your shopping cart. I was able to add a three-year extended warranty, including on-site service and accidental damage protection, for $230, after an arbitrary $99 "discount."

HP's service and support tools are perfectly navigable, and product manuals and software and driver downloads were easy to find. The 24-7 toll-free number can be tricky to spot, however. It's 800-474-6836.

The HP Envy 6-1010us is best described as a pleasant surprise. Would it be a great $899 laptop? Not really, but for $599, it's a great midsize laptop for those willing to trade a little performance for some sharp looks.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Annual energy consumption cost

System configurations:

HP Envy 6-1010US
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.4GHz AMD A6-4455MM APU; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 7500G; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite P755D-S5172
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.4GHz AMD Quad-Core A8-3520M APU; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6620G; 640GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Gateway NV55S05u
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.5GHz AMD Quad-Core A8-3500M APU; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 512MB AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6620G; 640GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Samsung Series 9 NP900X4B-A02
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2467M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 64MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 128GB Samsung Solid State Drive

Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3-581TG
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 2637M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz; 1GB NVIDIA's GeForce GT 640M / 128MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 3000; 256GB LITEONIT Solid State Drive

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