AMD Center Giveaway: HP ENVY Sleekbook, 15.6" quad-core Richland Notebooksby Anand Lal Shimpi on September 23, 2013 9:00 AM EST
Earlier this month we launched the AMD Center, a portal on AnandTech that aggregates all of our AMD content in one place. As a recap, the AMD Center features all of our independent content just as before but in an AMD sponsored wrapper. Thanks to AMD's sponsorship you'll get a cleaner interface on all AMD articles, as well as reduced advertising on those pages. The portal will also serve as a way for AMD to reach out to you all directly as we're pulling in AMD tweets and have a feed of AMD's own blogs on the right hand side. AMD also wants to hear from you, and we've got some opporuntities to help with that going forward. Finally, the AMD Center serves as a destination for a bunch of pretty awesome AMD giveaways we've got planned. With AMD's support we've got better prizes and more of them to give away.
We kicked off our AMD Center giveaways with three Acer V5s. Today we're continuing with some more powerful notebooks for those of you looking for a little more punch. AMD is supplying three 15.6-inch HP ENVY TouchSmart Sleekbooks for this giveaway.
The ENVY Sleekbook features a touch-enabled 15.6" 1366 x 768 display, 8GB of DDR3 memory (up from 4GB on the V5s we just gave away, and expandable up to 16GB) and has an AMD A10-5745M Richland APU with Radeon HD 8610G graphics. The A10-5745 features four Piledriver cores running at a base clock of 2.1GHz and a max turbo clock of 2.9GHz. This is a 25W part, which is fairly low as far as Richland APUs go. The GPU features 384 Radeon cores (VLIW4) running at up to 626MHz with turbo (533MHz max non-turbo). Just as before, I asked AMD if they would be willing to swap out the hard drives for SSDs and they agreed - so if you win, your Sleekbook will ship with a 128GB Samsung SSD 840 drive.
The Sleekbook is 0.9" thin and weighs 5.6 lbs.
Here's the deal. To enter, simply post a comment below (US residents only, please only make a single post, contest requirements below) explaining your current PC setup and why you want, or need to win a Sleekbook. What I'm looking for here is an understanding of what you currently own in terms of computing devices (PCs, notebooks, tablets, etc...), how you use them and how winning a Sleekbook would change/improve your current setup. Make your entries good as they may come in handy for some other stuff we've got planned in the future. If your entry from last time still applies, feel free to re-use it.
If you win, AMD wants your feedback on the machine after you get it. You'll be asked to provide a short review (a paragraph or two) talking about your experience with the system. Do a good job and your feedback may even be featured on AnandTech.
Congrats to our three winners. Here's their feedback from using the systems for a few weeks.
The HP ENVY M6 Sleekbook certainly doesn’t feel like a bargain laptop. With a sleek metal exterior and soft touch plastic on the bottom, the Sleekbook feels solid in the hands. The build quality is quite impressive, especially compared to some of the other HP laptops I have come across in the past. The laptop is slim, and deceptively light considering its size. On the exterior, the laptop features a solid port selection highlighted by dedicated HDMI. Open the lid and one sees a well laid out backlit keyboard that is pretty nice to type on. The keyboard does have some mild flex, but the key travel is good. The backlight is of the on/off only variety, while the wi-fi light on the f12 key is always on no matter what you do.
Turning the laptop on, one can appreciate the quickness of Windows 8 on an SSD. The laptop is snappy and responsive for your basic every day tasks and is well suited for multimedia as it handles HD video easily. I had no trouble with light gaming thanks to AMD’s A10 APU. The featured Beats Audio Speakers provide good sound quality at an impressive volume. That said, they are not anything to get too excited about. Where the Sleekbook really falls short is in its display and WI-FI performance. The 15.6 inch 1366x768 display is quite frankly, terrible. The low resolution may be forgivable at this price segment, but the screen’s brightness is just plain disappointing. Having the display at anything less than 100% brightness is not really an option. The Wi-Fi is another area of disappointment. The Sleekbook’s Wi-Fi range is limited compared to other devices I own. With just a quick (and unscientific!) comparison to my Acer netbook, the HP might fail to recognize my router in an area where the Acer would report greater than 50% strength.
The Sleekbook has a lot going for it in terms of build quality and performance. However, it gets hung up by the two huge flaws of display quality and Wi-Fi performance. That said, the AMD platform shows promise here and I look forward to seeing it offered in more devices.
The 15" HP Sleekbook comes in an attractive brushed metal package and is clad with a black island style keyboard. It feels higher up market than its price would suggest. AnandTech has said, AMD processors in notebooks allow OEMs to trade some of the silicon cost for higher quality components elsewhere. I can see some of that here with this Sleekbook. It has the best trackpad of any windows notebook Iíve ever used. Itís large, responsive, and handles gestures easily. Itís getting really close to a Macbook in trackpad quality. The screen is bright and looks good, but with the usual 1366x768 caveat. It came with Dragon Naturally Speaking, Box cloud drive space, and a nice temperature utility that uses sensors to keep the Sleekbook cool when it detects it is on your lap. My biggest complaint is, even beyond the wish for more pixels, it came with 600 MHz RAM. I almost couldnít believe it considering how dependent AMD chips are on being fed with fast memory. The A10 feels fast in most cases, but there are definitely times when you miss memory speed. I play quite a bit of Kerbal Space Program on this laptop, which it handles really well at native resolution. Yes, it does borrow some design, and cut some corners in some places I wouldnít have. However, this Sleekbook is aimed at people who are looking for value in a notebook form factor, and it delivers.
The HP ENVY TouchSmart Sleekbook has been my first experience using Windows 8 on a touch screen device. I was able to familiarize myself with navigating the operating system using the built in help menus and minimal internet searching. I primarily use the Sleekbook for web browsing, messaging, and light gaming. I am impressed by the almost instant boot time. The touch screen was calibrated well (for touch) from the factory and accurately responds to my input. I find the track pad difficult to use since it is a one-piece surface that incorporates the left and right buttons. Trying to click on anything without moving the cursor off of what you're trying to click is difficult without a light and deliberate touch. I am satisfied primarily using the touch screen. The keyboard layout is a bit spread out and works well for my larger hands although it may be less than optimal for someone with smaller hands.The AMD APU is powerful enough to handle casual games as well as some less demanding modern PC games. The sound quality is among the best I've experienced from laptop speakers. The Wi-Fi reception is the only aspect of the laptop I find substantially disappointing. This is the only device of several I use throughout my small house that must be in the same room as the wireless router to maintain a connection. Overall I am pleased with the construction and performance of the Sleekbook and would suggest it as a viable option for anyone looking to use Windows 8 on a touch screen device.
Entries will be accepted from 9:00 AM ET on 9/23/2013 through 12:01 AM ET on 9/27/2013. We will draw 3 winner(s) who will be selected by 9/30/2013.
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