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Packard Bell Easynote TJ75 review

Barry de la Rosa
21 Mar 2010
Packard Bell Easynote TJ75
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
600
inc VAT

A pleasant design and bright screen add some class to this powerful Core i3 laptop, but we didn't like the keyboard or touchpad and it's missing some useful features.

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Specifications

15.6 in 1,366x768 display, 2.7kg, 2.13GHz Intel Core i3-330M, 4.00GB RAM, 640GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Since Acer took over Packard Bell, it has transformed the brand's reputation from cheap and nasty to affordable and stylish. The Easynote TJ75 is no exception and stands out from the pack with its two-tone colour scheme - the silver band around the case and the matching silver hinge assembly helping to break up what would otherwise be swathes of cheap black plastic. The glossy lid has an attractive pattern and classy silver badge.

Some of the TJ75's design flourishes aren't as successful, such as the seesaw touchpad button. Not only is it thin, with sharp edges, but it stretches about a centimetre past each side of the recessed touchpad area, so that the ends (which should be the easiest part to press) are flush with the case and difficult to press. The touchpad itself is responsive, but the buttons let it down badly.

Above that, the keyboard uses flat keys set too close together, so that it's easy to miss-hit neighbouring keys. Each key has a light action and a well-defined resistance point for feedback, so touch-typists should find it comfortable. The layout is standard, although the numberpad to the right is cramped and only has three columns of keys. A series of touch-sensitive LED controls above the keyboard let you toggle wireless, touchpad or sound, control volume and launch custom programs.

We found the 15.6in screen to be bright and colourful, with a very even backlight and a slightly warm cast. Contrast was good, but tight vertical viewing angles and a glossy screen finish make it difficult to use under overhead lighting. The 720p resolution of 1,366x768 is great for films, but as usual the internal speakers let the TJ75 down. They are weak and tinny, with poor bass, and you'll want to connect to an external sound system via the HDMI port to get the full home cinema experience.

Intel's new Core i3-330M processor includes an onboard graphics chip, but Packard Bell has opted to include a dedicated graphics chip, an ATI HD 5470. As with all new ATI 5000-series cards, this supports the very latest DirectX 11 technology and full HD sound from Blu-ray movies. Its score of 19.7fps in our Call of Duty benchmarks proves that it's no slouch either. While you won't be able to enjoy the very latest action games at their highest settings, most games should run at a reasonable speed at lower resolutions and with some settings turned down.

In terms of raw power, the TJ75 is very quick thanks to the 2.13GHz Core i3-330M processor and 4GB of RAM. It managed an overall score of 73 in our benchmarks, showing that it's capable of coping with any task.

In our light usage battery test, the TJ75 lasted just under three hours. Weighing 2.7kg, this isn't a laptop built for everyday travel, and its battery life is more than enough for occasional forays away from a power socket. The TJ75 lacks some common expansion ports, such as eSATA, FireWire or an ExpressCard slot, and there's no Bluetooth support, but it does have an S/PDIF digital audio output, plus a very generous 640GB hard disk.

Despite decent performance and a huge 640GB hard disk, the TJ75's awkward keyboard and frustrating touchpad detract heavily from it. The cheaper Samsung R580 is the better choice.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
ProcessorIntel Core i3-330M
Processor clock speed2.13GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size38x372x250mm
Weight2.7kg
SoundRealtek High Definition Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity640GB
Optical drive modelOptiarc AD-7585H
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro
Other portsminijack audio output/S/PDIF (shared), minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionbackup and recovery software
Software includedAdobe Photoshop Elements 7, Microsoft Works 9, Cyberlink PowerDVD 8, Nero Essentials 9
Optional extrasExtra battery, £132

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£600
Detailswww.packardbell.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.pcworld.co.uk

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