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Packard Bell EasyNote TM99-GN-030UK review

Barry de la Rosa
29 Nov 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
530
inc VAT

A faster processor makes the new TM99 good value on paper, but the design has some flaws

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The Packard Bell EasyNote TM99-GN-030UK is an updated version of the TM99-GN-005UK model that we reviewed recently . This model differs by using an Intel Core i3-370M processor, the latest in the Core i3 line and more powerful than the i3-330M in the earlier laptop. This helped the new TM99 to a decent overall score of 86 in our benchmarks.

Apart from the processor, little has changed. The design is the same, and the TM99 still relies on the processor's in-built graphics chip rather than a dedicated card. The hard disk is smaller - you get 320GB rather than 500GB of storage space - but otherwise there's little to explain the price drop from £549 to £530. On paper, it's certainly better value than the previous model.

Packard Bell EasyNote TM99-GN-030UK

The 15.6in display may be LED-backlit, but we found it blotchy and not as bright as others here. Still, once you adjust the tilt of the lid carefully to get the best vertical viewing angle, contrast is good and the glossy finish means colours are vibrant. It also reflects overhead lights, which can be distracting, and a slight blue cast makes flesh tones look drained, but overall it's not a bad display.

The keyboard has Chiclet-style keys which as used on many new laptops, but their flat tops are suspended above the case on sprung supports, so there's lots of space under the keys for detritus to collect. The action is light however, and has a distinct bite that provides feedback for touch-typists. The touchpad is part of the wrist rest, but thankfully the surface is smooth and responsive, while the long, see-saw mouse button has a light action.

Packard Bell EasyNote TM99-GN-030UK right

As with the other budget laptops, there are minimal expansion ports: only three USB ports, and no FireWire or eSATA ports for faster external hard disks. There's an HDMI port, which can send both audio and video to a larger screen or a home cinema setup, and a standard VGA output.

Packard Bell EasyNote TM99-GN-030UK left

Although looks may be low on most people's list of priorities, it's worth noting that the glossy white plastic surrounding the keyboard and display attracts dust. The blue lid, wrist rest and silver strip across the top of the keyboard also make the design a bit too busy.

As with all Packard Bell laptops we've seen, Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 is pre-installed, making it great value if you want to organise and edit photos.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
ProcessorIntel Core i3-370M
Processor clock speed2.4GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size34x381x253mm
Weight2.7kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA HD
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory128MB

Storage

Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other portsminijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionbackup and recovery software
Software includedMicrosoft Office 2010 Starter, Nero 9 Essentials, Adobe Photoshop Elements 8

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£530
Detailswww.packardbell.co.uk

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