Packard Bell EasyNote Skype £699

17th Feb 2007 | 00:00

Packard Bell EasyNote Skype

A dedicated laptop for Skype addicts

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

Ultimately, this is a slightly above average laptop with one single gimmicky feature to try make it stand out

Like:

<p>Excellent display</p><p>Decent core spec</p>

Dislike:

<p>Skype button poorly placed</p><p>Wi-Fi indicator poorly conceived</p><p>Poor touchpad</p>

Packard Bell has provided a highly affordable mobile option here. The EasyNote Skype (£699 inc. VAT) doesn't have the range of features seen on some of its rival machines, but there's still a lot on offer.

The EasyNote features a 14.1-inch display, offering a useful mix of portability and usability. While we found the display large enough for everyday use, the overall weight is just 2.4kg. Images appear vibrant, thanks to a glossy Super-TFT coating, although reflections in brighter conditions can prove distracting.

As expected at this price point, there's no dedicated graphics card. The EasyNote features an integrated Intel 945GM adapter which we found adequate for everyday use. With a 3DMark 2003 score of 1454 points, however, it's not suitable for gaming or anything more than light multimedia tasks, lagging behind all but the MSI when it comes to 3D performance.

The screen is firmly attached to the strong chassis, and build quality is reasonable. Unfortunately, the spacious and comfortable keyboard flexes under slight pressure, and the keys move with a noisy action.

We found the touchpad responsive, although due to a rounded shape it's not as large as it could be. An 'eco' button allows you to use every last second of the battery life, dimming the screen to use less power. On average, we managed to get over three-and-a-half hours between charges.

At the heart of the machine is Intel's Core 2 Duo T5200 processor. Although a dual-core chip, running at 1.6GHz it's a budget solution. Despite this, the EasyNote managed to achieve a reasonable score of 229 in our MobileMark 2005 benchmark. We experienced no noticeable lag when running applications.

The 160GB hard drive is a decent size, and its 5400rpm helps the EasyNote to run smoothly. The link with VoIP software and Skype means you'll find a 1.3-megapixel webcam and microphone built into the top of the screen surround.

Unlike most other machines with webcams, you'll also find dedicated software pre-installed to let you use these features straight out of the box. A button to the right of the webcam launches the Skype software, so chatting to your friends couldn't be easier.

If you only want a laptop for basic tasks and internet use, the Packard Bell Skype laptop makes a great choice.

Packard BellVoIPMobile computingLaptopInternet
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