Don't look now, but AMD is going in for the Ultrabook kill. While some of the lowest cost Intel-powered Ultrabooks cost $549 to 599, the new HP Pavilion Sleekbook just announced at CES 2013 will start at a low $479 when it goes on sale January 13th. That's not too shabby for a sleek 15.6-inch Windows 8 system with an AMD A4 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Rather touch Windows 8? HP has you covered there, too.
The $649 Pavilion TouchSmart Sleekbook, available Feburary 3rd, includes a touch screen for poking those Live Tiles and enjoying Windows Store apps. This more premium machine steps up to a faster AMD A6 CPU, 6GB of RAM and a 750GB hard drive. Intel-powered Windows 8 notebooks with 15-inch touch screens can be had for as little as $579, but that's with a somewhat sluggish Core i3 processor. Core i5 models cost at least $700.
The Pavilion Sleekbook will be available in black, red and blue, while the TouchSmart will come only in sparkling black.
Both the TouchSmart Sleekbook and Pavilion Sleekbook feature Dolby Advanced Audio, a dedicated numeric keyboard and a removable battery. Other amenities include a TrueVision HD webcam and optional discrete graphics. You'll find HDMI, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.
What you don't get that value-priced Ultrabooks offer is an SSD cache for faster resumes and application open times. However, booting Windows 8 should be speedy.
On the software front, HP includes MyRoom for video calling and photo sharing, ProtectSmart for preventing file loss, Connected Photo powered by Snapfish and Connected Music.
We'd like to see how well these new Sleekbooks balance battery life and performance versus their Intel-powered counterparts, but bargain hunters should be intrigued. Keep it locked here for our hands-on impressions and in-depth reviews.