The HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15 z-b000 is a configure-to-order notebook with cost conscious consumers in mind. With the base price sitting below $500, consumers won't find many notebooks for less. However, with so many upgradeable options available, it's likely that most consumers will find themselves paying considerably more than the starting price.
Granted the device does offer a few nice features for its low price point including a vibrant 15.6" display, strong audio quality, and a sizeable hard drive; but is that enough to carry this machine? With its weak performance and a mediocre build quality; is the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15z-b000 worth the investment? Read the full review to find out.
Build and Design
The HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15z-b000 offers a black plastic chassis. The plastic has a glossy finish that is reflective and easily picks up sunlight. Unfortunately the design is basically the classic budget look. The aesthetic is fine enough at first glance, but the glossy finish quickly picks up fingerprints and is difficult to keep clean.
Measuring at 16" x 10" x 0.83" and weighing roughly 4.56-lbs. (depending on the configuration) and the HP Pavilion is fairly portable. It is a bit heavier than most ultrabook and ultraportable devices, but it's still easy enough to transport.
The plastic chassis actually manages to provide a fair bit of protection to the device as well. The base of the chassis stood firm regardless of how much pressure was applied. The display held up decently to small amounts of pressure, but noticeable rippling did occur when adequate pressure was applied to the back of the display. Obliviously the HP Pavilion Sleekbook is not the sturdiest machine on the market, but it can take more wear and tear than you'd expect form an entry-level portable device.
Ports and Features
Though the Sleekbook could have used a bit more of its surface area to space out the ports, the notebook does offer a solid collection of ports. The right side of the device offers a 4-in-1 card reader, a pair of USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and the power jack. The left side houses a USB 2.0 port, and an audio jack.
|Left: USB 2.0 port and audio jack.||
Right: 4-in-1 card reader, two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI port, Ethernet port, and power jack.
The only noticeable thing missing from the selection is a VGA port, but the Sleekbook does offer a HDMI port, which should prove sufficient in most cases. The majority of the ports are adequately spaced so that using multiple simultaneously shouldn?t be an issue, with the exception of the two USB ports located on the right side. In some instances (such as with a wide USB storage device) the spacing may be an issue, but there is always another USB port located on the left side to help alleviate this issue.
Screen and Speakers
The HP Pavilion Sleekbook's display is a notable highpoint for the machine. The notebook offers a 15.6" HD Bright View LED-Backlit display with a 1366 x 768 resolution. Even though the screen only offers standard resolution, the glossy display manages to provide a bright vibrant picture with exceptional color contrast. The 15.6" screen also offers 10-point touch input. The response and feedback of the display is lighting quick, making the touch controls accurate and easy to use. In fact, the touch controls are likely the best control option available on the notebook.
The display also offers decent viewing angles, especially given the glossy finish of the screen. The display fares extremely well on the horizontal axis with image quality holding up well past 100 degrees, making the display perfect for multiple viewers. Unfortunately the display does not fare as well on the vertical axis; as the image quality quickly diminishes when the display is moved forward, though images still hold up quite nicely when the display is tilt backwards.
While the bright glossy display provides beautiful visuals under ideal conditions, it can also cause the display to become incredibly reflective. Heavy lighting cause's noticeable image distortion as solid images can be seen reflected on the screen. This issue is further augmented when the screen has a dark backdrop (such as a black screen during a scene change in a movie). However, under normal lighting conditions the display holds up admirably. Just be aware of this issue if you plan on taking the device outside in direct sunlight.
Similar to the display the speakers are another strong suite for the HP Sleekbook. The speakers are situated across the front panel of the chassis above the keyboard. While the speakers won't blow users away, they sound better than most would expect of a budget notebook.
Equipped with Dolby Advanced Audio the speakers provide clear crisp audio that is boisterous enough to easily provide audio for a small room. More importantly the speakers hold up extremely well, even when pushed to 100 percent capacity the audio remains clean with little to no noticeable distortion.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Besides the glossy plastic finish, the low quality keyboard is the biggest giveaway that the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15z-b000 is a budget device. Honestly the keyboard isn't terrible, it works with solid accuracy, but it feels shoddy and unreliable.
The notebook offers a full-sized Chiclet style keyboard complete with number pad. The squared keys are slightly braised on top providing a bit of friction, but fingers still managed to easily slide on the surface of the keys. The shallow key compression leaves something to be desired, and the feedback from each keystroke feels unreliable. In the middle of the keyboard the keys provide feedback that feels far more responsive than the keys located around the outer edges.
Despite its noticeable faults, the keyboard did manage to read input accurately. Users may feel like they are mistyping, but the keyboard is serviceable, in that it will function. However, if users want comfort they will have to look to an external keyboard.
Unfortunately the touchpad fares even worse than the keyboard. Located directly below the spacebar, the touchpad offers generous surface area with a right and left mouse button located at the bottom of the pad. The pad itself is heavily textured with a heavily tiled textured pattern.
There are no serious issues with the design of the touchpad; however, it simply fails to perform. The touchpad (which uses Synaptics drivers) suffers from a great deal of lag and unresponsiveness. A few times while testing the device, the touchpad froze all together failing to read any input. Additionally, the touchpad also struggles to read multi-finger gestures often missing the input completely, and when the pad does read the gesture it is often seconds after the input has been entered.
Luckily the HP Pavilion Sleekbook offers a high-quality touchscreen to make up for the shortcomings of the touchpad. However, users who are looking for productivity will need to invest in an external mouse with this device.
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