HP Envy 6 Sleekbook review
15.6 in 1,366x768 display, 2.1kg, 2.1GHz AMD A6-4455M, 6.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
We were impressed by AMD's latest "Trinity" mobile processors when we got our hands on a prototype laptop earlier this year, but we’ve had to wait a while for the first Trinity-equipped production model. It's finally here in the shape of the Ultrabook-bothering HP Envy 6.
There's also an Intel-powered HP Envy 6 on sale, which has an identical chassis and screen. The Intel model is called an Ultrabook, while HP has called the AMD laptop a Sleekbook instead.
While the prototype laptop had a top-of-the-range A10 processor, the Envy 6 Sleekbook is powered by a mid-range A6-4455M processor running at 2.1GHz. The dual-core processor can use Turbo Core to reach 2.6GHz where there's enough thermal headroom. The chip found our multimedia benchmarks a challenge; it could only muster an overall score of 21, which is less than half that of the Intel-powered Envy 6. While demanding tasks such as video encoding were a challenge, the laptop copes fine with normal tasks such as office work and web browsing with multiple tabs open.
All Ultrabooks have some kind of solid state storage, whether as a main disk or as a cache, as this is part of Intel's Ultrabook specification. The Sleekbook only has a normal 500GB hard disk, so won't boot as quickly or have an SSD-equipped PC's general feeling of snappiness. Thankfully, the Trinity chip excels in other areas. In our light-use battery test, the Envy 6 managed a fantastic 8 hours 45 minutes away from the mains, meaning you’ll be able to last an entire working day on a single charge if you stick to light tasks such as word processing.
AMD is keen to point out how its processors have superior gaming performance to the Intel competition, and Trinity's saving grace is its gaming performance. AMD’s integrated Radeon HD 7500G GPU shares 512MB of RAM with Windows, and can cope with modern games. Although it could only manage 21.4fps in Dirt3 at 1,280x720 with High detail and 4x anti-aliasing, with Low detail and 4x anti-aliasing we saw a playable 29fps. This compares favourably with the 16.1fps and 25.3fps from the Intel Envy 6 at the same settings. Other games were playable, too. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was smooth, and even the brand-new Street Fighter X Tekken was playable at high detail levels, with a silky-smooth 60fps - compared to 48fps for the Intel Envy 6. Street Fighter X Tekken's own rating system rates the AMD Envy 6 as an "A" and the Intel system as a "B" for performance.