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HP introduces new 15-inch AMD Sleekbooks with touchscreens

HP, like most PC companies, debuted most of its new and cool computers in October when Windows 8 launched. So it’s no surprise that the company’s CES offerings are few. This week in Las Vegas HP’s showing off two laptops: The HP Pavilion Sleekbook and the Pavilion TouchSmart Sleekbook. These notebooks start at $480 and will be available within weeks (instead of months from now).

The first to come to market will be the 15.6-inch HP Pavilion Sleekbook. Sleekbook is HP’s moniker for machines that have many Ultrabook-like qualities – such as a thin design, light weight, island-style keyboard, and clickpad – but the specs don’t quite fit into the Ultrabook category. In this case, the Sleekbook comes with an AMD processor (technically, Ultrabooks are Intel-only) and a traditional hard drive instead of an solid-state drive.

You can get up to 1TB of storage in the Pavilion Sleekbook, which would be ultra expensive if it had an SSD inside. The AMD A Series processor also shaves a few pennies off the price. Other specs include USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, a memory card slot, HDMI, and optional AMD Radeon discrete graphics. Another difference between this laptop and an Ultrabook is that the Sleekbook’s battery is removable.

If this laptop looks familiar, it’s because it uses the same design as existing 15-inch Sleekbooks, just with different options for internal hardware. With AMD in the mix, it’s possible to get the slim and light design at a slightly lower price.

The new HP Pavilion Sleekbook will be available January 13 starting at $480. This includes an AMD A4 CPU, 500GB hard drive, 4GB of RAM, and three color choices: sparkling black, ruby red, and winter blue. It will come with Windows 8, naturally.

For those of you who just can’t deal with Windows 8 if there’s no touch capability, you’ll only have to wait a few extra weeks for the HP Pavilion TouchSmart Sleekbook, which will be out on February 3. Though the specs are about the same here, the starting configuration includes a more powerful AMD A6 CPU, 6GB of RAM, and a 750GB hard drive. Plus, the 15.6-inch display will respond to touch, making it even easier to navigate Windows 8.

The starting price for the TouchSmart model is $650, which is still within the budget realm. For those of you looking for an inexpensive, yet powerful machine, HP is doing its best to deliver.

We’ve only had a little bit of hands-on time with these Sleekbooks, but, so far, we’re impressed by their lightness and sturdy build quality. We’re looking forward to getting them in for review after CES.

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