Packard Bell EasyNote TV £399
7th Aug 2012 | 11:00
A low-cost choice, but one with plenty to merit a purchase
Parent company Acer recently announced it had repositioned Packard Bell right at the budget end of the market. We were surprised to hear of the change of direction because it always seemed to us that Packard Bell was already there.
Still, Exhibit A from Packard Bell's new era is the EasyNote TV, which was launched alongside its sibling, the new EasyNote TE.
Priced at £399, this particular version of the EasyNote TV represents great value for money, but it's also hobbled by compromises with a couple of key specifications.
The 15.6-inch screen is a really lovely size, but is lacking in definition, with a maximum resolution of 1,366 x 768. Compared to many Full HD displays it seems a little fuzzy on close inspection.
Poor Intel integrated graphics don't help, and the system produces an average to poor gaming benchmark result.
The other disappointment is the processor. It's a dual-core 2.2GHz Pentium B960. It may have been released in the latter half of 2011, but it didn't perform well in our performance benchmarks. For all Intel's preaching about its newer Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, it beggars belief that the company still insists on keeping the Pentium name rolling.
Our performance and gaming benchmark results were even more disappointing considering that other models in the EasyNote TV line-up will have Intel Core i3 or i5 processors as well as Nvidia GeForce GT620M and GT630M graphics, which means our review model has a long way to look up.
Battery life: 162 minutes
3DMark 2006: 2,733
That's not to say this model is a disaster - these compromises have, of course, been made to hit the price point and, compared to many other laptops at this price, the EasyNote TV isn't too shabby. The chiclet keyboard is pleasant enough to use, though we found the numeric keypad a bit of a pain as we kept hitting those keys by mistake instead of Backspace and Enter - still we're sure we'd get used to it.
We wouldn't say it's a keyboard you'd want to be typing on for hours, but it is still perfectly comfortable for tasks such as typing the occasional letter and sending email. The trackpad and mouse buttons are also comfortable for such a budget model.
Elsewhere, connectivity is excellent and as well as the new HDMI video output standard, you also get a VGA port for connecting to older displays. You also get three USB ports and an SD card slot in addition to the headphone and microphone jacks you'd expect.
The sound quality is, however, poor for a sizeable machine. We'd heard less tinny sound from Ultrabooks and there's not a huge amount of power behind it, either.
We genuinely liked the EasyNote TV. So it's a little underpowered and the screen isn't the best, but for simple tasks and non-intensive working it's a great choice at the in-demand £399 price point.