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Packard Bell EasyNote TM (TM99-GN-005UK) review

Tom Morgan
11 Oct 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
549
inc VAT

A laptop with great performance and a good screen. As long as you can live with the design, it's great value.

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With the latest addition to its EasyNote range, Packard Bell has made some striking design choices to make the TM stand out from the crowd. The outer lid, with a simple textured blue finish, looks subtle and attractive, but open it up and you'll find a multitude of white, silver and blue plastics. While not unattractive, the white upper chassis contrasts strongly with the black base. Look past the aesthetics however, and you’ll find a competent 15in laptop.

The glossy 15.6in screen is LED backlit, which produces an even colour balance. Although not the brightest display we’ve seen, darker images showed very few signs of bleed from the backlight. The wide horizontal viewing angles mean several people can view the screen at once, but vertical angles are limited. Video playback was smooth and detailed, especially in high definition. While the 1,366x768 resolution is good for 720p content, VGA and HDMI outputs allow for 1080p playback on an external display.

Packard Bell has placed the speakers above the keyboard in a thin strip, which we expected to be of poor quality. However, they proved louder average for such a small unit. Of course, music lacked bass and treble was a little dull. A set of external speakers or pair of headphones are the best options for multimedia playback.

Packard Bell EasyNote TM (TM99-GN-005UK)

Using the Chiclet-style keys favoured by many manufacturers, the EasyNote TM’s keyboard is spacious and includes a full numberpad. While the function and cursor keys have been sacrificed somewhat to make room for an otherwise full size keyboard, our typing was just as fast as on a PC keyboard. One dedicated shortcut key links to some inbuilt social networking software, but important controls such as volume and brightness are mapped to the function keys. The responsive touchpad sensibly has a widescreen layout to match the screen, and is compatible with multitouch gestures.

The 2.13GHz Core i3 330M processor in the EasyNote TM has been paired with 4GB of RAM and, sensibly, the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium. A 500GB hard disk should provide ample storage and the DVD writer is a welcome addition. This specification should make the TM more than fast enough for everyday tasks, as our benchmark score of 81 indicates. Despite the good performance results, the laptop isn’t suited to gaming on the move. With an Intel HD graphics chip providing the horsepower, the TM could manage only 10.9fps in our Call of Duty 4 test.

Lasting 3 hours 48 minutes in our battery test, the EasyNote TM wins no longevity awards. It's enough to watch a movie or several hours of web browsing before you need to start looking for a plug socket.

If you can look past the jumbled outer shell, there is a lot to like about the EasyNote TM. For a mid-range laptop, performance is stellar, while the large hard disk is great to see at this price. As it comes with Photoshop Elements 8 - software that most people will use - it's even better value and wins a Best Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Core i3 330M
Processor clock speed2.13GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size381x253x34mm
Weight2.7kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel HD Graphics
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity500GB
Optical drive modelTSST TS-L633C
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsnone

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionburn own restore disc
Software includedAdobe Photoshop Elements, Nero Express Essentials SE,
Optional extrasNone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£549
Detailswww.packardbell.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.currys.co.uk

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