HP introduces the Sleekbook

First came the Ultrabook, thin and light laptops designed to compete with the MacBook Air. Now we have the Sleekbook which is an Ultrabook in everything but name.

Thin and light laptops are all the rage; we can thank Apple and the MacBook Air for that. First came the Ultrabook, a term designated by Intel to invoke a desire in consumers to open wallets and make laptops fly off the shelves. Now comes HP with the Sleekbook, which is an Ultrabook without Intel processors inside.

The new Sleekbooks from HP will be packing AMD processors, which are cheaper than the Intel models in the Ultrabooks. The new Sleekbook moniker is necessary as specifications for Ultrabooks were defined by Intel, and it would be rude (if not involve lawyers) for HP to drop the Intel processor and still call them Ultrabooks. Confused yet?

The new 14 and 15-inch laptops from HP with the Sleekbook tag will be cheaper than the company's Ultrabook models. The inclusion of AMD allows HP to offer the Sleekbooks starting at just $600 and $700 for the 15.6-inch and 14-inch models, respectively. HP is claiming 8 or 9 hours of battery life with the AMD-powered Sleekbooks, which is competitive with the company's Intel versions.

Both of the Sleekbook laptops appear to be good value for the products, and definitely cheaper than HP's Ultrabook line. They provide a starting point for the budget-conscious, without appearing to sacrifice capability.

The new laptops with the lower prices should be particularly appealing to small businesses. Those must always have an eye on the bottom line and the new Sleekbooks are capable laptops that don't invoke sticker shock. The 15-inch model starting at just $600 makes it a good candidate for the small shop whose employees value the thin form yet without breaking the company bank.

We knew that the Ultrabook product category was likely going to confuse consumers, with the name being applied to laptops without strict guidelines. The appearance of the Sleekbook will not help consumers trying to make sense of it all. Perhaps next we'll see the arrival of the Skinnybook?



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