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HP Pavilion Sleekbook b14-B000ed preview: Not an Ultrabook for a good reason

Well, you can also make a notebook look like an Ultrabook and leave out some of the less visible (yet expensive) things, and everyone will think you're carrying a fancy Ultrabook but at a lower price. HP has taken that approach with its Sleekbook series, thin notebooks that don't quite qualify for the Ultrabook stamp of approval.

Ultrabook requirements state that, in order to qualify, a number of Intel components have to be used, in particular one of the energy-efficient Intel CPUs. The laptop has to be thin and needs to start up quickly.

The quick startup demand, along with the Intel CPU, are expensive conditions to be met. A laptop will need a bootup SSD or hard disk with cache, and this adds to the pricetag. Leave it out, and you can't call the sleek notebook an Ultrabook, but it's also cheaper.

That's the road chosen by the HDP Sleekbook. It comes with either an AMD or Intel Core i3 processor (as in our test model). It doesn't meet all the criteria to be called an Ultrabook, and should therefore be cheaper. It is indeed cheaper than the majority of Ultrabooks, even if the Acer S3 comes close.

The HP Pavilion Sleekbook b14-B000ed (C5R96EA) costs an average of 599 euros. In this case the absence of a fast startup SSD is the reason it can't be called an Ultrabook.

Other than that detail this is your average entry-level Ultrabook. It has a 14in display 1,366 x 768 TN display with a glossy finish, but no touch functionality. The 14-inch size makes it more portable than the typical 15.6-inch laptops. The 1.8 kg weight is average for a laptop this size. The chassis is made in plastic, matte on the bottom and glossy on top.

The processor inside the HP Pavilion Sleekbook b14-B000ed we tested is an Intel Core i3 3217U, an Ivy Bridge CPU. It's a relatively new processor, as until recently much slower Sandy Bridge processors were used. It runs at 1.8GHz, has 4MB of cache and HyperThreading. The integrated GPU Intel HD Graphics 3000 is a lot slower than the Intel HD Graphics 4000 of the latest Intel processors. The main reason why this CPU is slower and cheaper than the Core i5 is the absence of a Turbo mode.

Read the rest of the review of the HP Pavilion Sleekbook B14-B000ed on