Quality audio; Fairly good graphics performance; Sturdy keyboard; Responsive touch screen; Runs cool
Below-average overall performance; Short battery life; Relatively dim display; Smudge-prone lid
HP's Pavilion TouchSmart 15z-b000 Sleekbook combines a touch screen and solid graphics performance in a slim design for Windows 8 shoppers, but overall speed and battery life trails Intel-powered machines.
With the Pavilion TouchSmart 15z-b000 Sleekbook, HP pairs a slim design with a touch-screen display and an AMD quad-core processor for $649. Add in Dolby-powered speakers and a comfortable keyboard and you have a solid Windows 8 contender. But is this touch notebook the best in its class?
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Like other models in the Pavilion Sleekbook line, the TouchSmart 15z-b000 Sleekbook comes
This 15.1 x 10.2 x 0.9-inch notebook is slightly larger than the competing Dell Insprion 15z (15 x 9.8 x 0.9), and is on a par with ASUS' VivoBook S500CA (15.1 x 10.8 x 0.8 inches). At 5.6 pounds, the Pavilion TouchSmart 15z-b000 Sleekbook is also heavier than its Dell and ASUS counterparts, which weigh 5.2 and 4.8 pounds respectively.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Display and Audio
At 137 lux on our light meter, the Pavilion TouchSmart Sleekbook fell way below the 228 mainstream notebook category average. Dell's Inspiron 15z (146 lux) and ASUS' VivoBook S500CA (147 lux) have slightly brighter displays.
We found the 15-inch touch screen to be responsive and accurate. Swiping to navigate through the Windows 8 interface felt smooth and fluid. When reading news articles, we used pinch-to-zoom on the touch screen with ease, and highlighted text by simply tapping the screen and dragging the marker.
The Altec Lansing speakers give the TouchSmart 15z-b000 Sleekbook full and lively sound. When listening to "Somebody I Used to Know" by Gotye, the vocals sounded deep and rich. When we cranked the volume all the way up, audio boomed boisterously from underneath the display. Using the Dolby Advanced Audio 2.0 control panel, you can customize sound settings by using presets such as Movies and Music.
Ports and Webcam
The TouchSmart Sleekbook comes with HP's 1280 x 720 TrueVision HD webcam, which is designed to deliver bright video even in low light. In fluorescent lighting, images were indeed bright, but were washed-out and grainy.
However, after using the laptop for an hour on our desk, the wrist rests felt noticeably -- but not uncomfortably -- warm.
However, the Sleekbook 15 turned in mediocre scores on our benchmark tests. Its score of 1,352 on PCMark 7 is below the mainstream category average of 2,727. This showing doesn't even come close to the Dell Inspiron 15z (4,184) or the ASUS VivoBook S500CA (2,527), both of which have a 1.7-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U CPU.
The Pavilion TouchSmart 15 booted in a relatively quick 28 seconds, which beats the 42-second category average. However, the Inspiron 15z took just 21 seconds, and the ASUS VivoBook S500CA took 18 seconds.
During the LAPTOP File Transfer Test, both Dell and ASUS' notebooks outshined the HP Pavilion TouchSmart yet again. The HP's 750GB 5,400-rpm hard drive took 3 minutes and 54 seconds to duplicate a 5GB mixed media file, equaling a rate of 21.8 MBps. That's just about half the category average of 41 MBps, and also falls short of the Inspiron 15z (30.5 MBps) and the VivoBook S500CA (65.3 MBps).
The Pavilion TouchSmart was also sluggish on our OpenOffice Spreadsheet test, which matches 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses. It took the TouchSmart 9 minutes and 45 seconds to complete this task, significantly longer than the 5:56 second category average. By comparison, the Dell Inspiron 15z took 6:26, and the ASUS VivoBook S500CA took 5:36.
When playing "World of Warcraft" with the settings on autodetect, the TouchSmart Sleekbook averaged 29 frames per second, which is just below what we consider playable -- 30 fps. The VivoBook and Inspiron 15z were slightly better, scoring 33 fps each. None of these notebooks even come close to the 67 fps category average for mainstream notebooks. After bumping the settings up to full, the TouchSmart's frame rate dropped to an unplayable 15.5 fps.
The TouchSmart 15 Sleekbook can also play higher-end games -- barely. With the settings on low, we averaged 30 fps in "Batman: Arkham City." The ASUS VivoBook S500CA notched a higher 36 fps on the same settings.
The Pavilion TouchSmart 15z-b000 Sleekbook's 4-cell lithium ion battery lasted for 3 hours and 39 minutes during the LAPTOP Battery Test, which consists of continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi. This is well below the 5:41 category average for mainstream notebooks, and is more than an hour less than both the VivoBook (4:43) and Inspiron 15z (4:40). HP does not offer an extended capacity battery for the TouchSmart 15z.
Software and Warranty
HP has bundled some of its own applications, including Support Assistant, HP MyRoom, HP Connected Music and Snapfish. Snapfish, also known as HP Connected Photo, enables users to share, store and edit photos on their PC, while HP Connected Music is HP's music player and virtual store. The Support Assistant displays available updates, provides alerts for security risks, and shows information about battery, performance, and your computer's specifications in one dashboard.
HP offers a one-year warranty, which includes unlimited technical assistance along with parts and labor.
While HP only offers one preconfigured version of the TouchSmart 15z-b000 Sleekbook, the company does let you upgrade the memory and hard drive. Increasing the RAM to 8GB from 6GB costs $50; adding a 750GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive will add $20; and a 1TB, 5,400-rpm hard drive costs $50.
|CPU||AMD Quad-Core A8-4555M|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|RAM Upgradable to||8GB|
|Hard Drive Size||750GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type|
|Secondary Hard Drive Size|
|Secondary Hard Drive Speed|
|Secondary Hard Drive Type|
|Optical Drive Speed|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7600G Discrete-Class Graphics|
|Touchpad Size||3.8 x 2.9 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Combo Headphone/Mic Jack|
|Size||15.1 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches|