The Bottom Line
Apr 8 2013 - HP tried hard to make their Pavilion Sleekbook 15t-b100 an affordable system and did make it under $500. It has a few nice features such as a very thin profile and great keyboard but it is hampered by a below average screen that is frankly very dark. The problem is that there are other systems that offer similar features that can be found for less with only a minimal amount of weight and thickness.
- Nice Keyboard
- Runs Very Cool and Quiet
- Display Is Dark With Narrow Viewing Angles
- Slow Hard Drive
- Exterior Very Prone To Smudges and Fingerprints
- Intel Core i3-3227U Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 500GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 15.6" WXGA (1366x768) Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, 6-in-1 Card Reader
- 15.2" x 10.2" x .83" @ 4.6 lbs.
- Windows 8
Review - HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15t-b100
Apr 8 2013 - The HP Pavilion Sleekbook offers a thinner profile for a 15-inch laptop but it is not a true ultrabook as one might expect. It does not meet all the criteria of Intel to have that label. Instead, it takes many of those same basic elements to reduce its size to just over eight tenths of an inch thick. Even with this relatively thin profile the system is fairly heavy at four and a half pounds. The exterior looks like most of the other Sleekbooks with a glossy plastic exterior that easily attracts fingerprints.
Powering the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15t-b100 is the Intel Core i3-3227U dual core processor. Now this is a lower voltage processor that one might expect to find in an ultrabook. It offers a bit lower performance than your traditional laptop processor but for many people, this isn't an issue as they mainly use their computers for browsing the web, watching video and maybe a productivity app or two. The processor is combined with 4GB of DDR3 memory which is smooth enough in Windows 8 but does hamper the multitasking capabilities a bit. There is space inside for a second memory module for those that wish to upgrade to 8GB.
The storage system for the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15t-b100 is pretty typical of a low cost laptop. A standard 500GB hard drive provides it with a good amount of space for applications, data and media files. Unlike an ultrabook, the system does not have any SSD cache which means that data access isn't as snappy. Boot times take just over half a minute. If you do need additional storage space, HP provides the system with two USB 3.0 ports which is nice as most low cost laptops will have just one of them for use with high speed external storage. There is no optical drive which helps keep the size down and they are less critical than they used to be.
With its larger size, the display makes up a big part of the bulk of the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15t-b100. The 15.6-inch display panel offers a very modest 1366x768 native resolution which is typical of low cost systems but means that the display just feels a bit offer compared to smaller devices with their relatively high resolutions. The viewing angles are pretty narrow and the brightness seems to be much lower than the competition. While some versions may feature a touchscreen, this low cost version is just a standard screen. The graphics are handled by the Intel HD Graphics 4000 that are built into the Core i3 processor. This isn't something to be used for 3D gaming but it is just fine for most other tasks. It does offering improved speeds when encoding video with Quick Sync enabled applications.
The keyboard for the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15 uses the same isolated design that is common to most of HP's models now. It features a full numeric keypad on the right hand side. Overall, it offers a good level of accuracy thanks in part to the textured surface of the keys. The trackpad is a nice overall size and features integrated buttons. It handled the basic Windows 8 gestures just fine but multitouch gestures had a bit more trouble.
For the battery, the Pavilion Sleekbook features a four cell battery pack that the company claims can last over five hours. In digital video playback testing, the system was able to run for just under four hours before going into standby mode. This is well below most of the systems that tend to use this new lower voltage processor design but is not that far off from what many of the low cost systems can achieve with their smaller battery packs. It certainly is much less than the HP Envy Sleekbook 6 with its larger battery that can achieve up to five and a half.
Priced right at $500, the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15t-b100 is the most affordable of their Sleekbook models. While it provides a thin profile, the lack of an optical drive is certainly unique at this price point and size. The most similar of the competition to HP is Dell's Inspiron 15. The Dell is a bit heavier at five pounds but it does feature a DVD burner. Performance between the two is near identical but Dell's can be found for almost one hundred less than HP's which is going to be a big factor for many buyer's.