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Packard Bell Easynote NJ65 - 14in Laptop - Packard Bell Easynote NJ65
Aesthetically, as mentioned before, the Easynote NJ65 has all the hallmarks of a contemporary laptop. Thankfully, though, it doesn't apply any of them too liberally. Its brown patterned lid is glossy save for the polished Packard Bell logo, while the screen bezel and segment above the keyboard are glossy black, but the main body of the machine is completed in a smooth matte black. As a consequence the NJ65 manages to look attractive and eye-catching, without surrendering practicality entirely. Our only concern is the silver trim around the edges, which looks a little cheap and is bound to scuff easily.
This isn't the only build quality concern, since the keyboard is also slightly disappointing. Its layout is actually very good, but the keys have a light and flimsy action to them and the keyboard as a whole suffers from noticeable flex. This makes working on the NJ65 less pleasurable than say the Samsung R522, which while larger (it uses a 15.6in display), offers a better typing experience as well as more flexible connectivity.
No meaningful complaint can be made of the touchpad, though the rocker style button is a tad unusual in that it extends beyond the confines of the touchpad. Like a lot of similar implementations the buttons prove a little stiff too, though that's not really worth fretting over.
Neither is the performance, which isn't earth shattering but still perfectly acceptable. In PC Mark Vantage the Samsung R522, which uses the Core 2 Duo T6400 mentioned earlier, is around 10 per cent faster, but the NJ65 is still a solid performer and will deal with normal productivity tasks and light image editing just fine. Even video editing should be fine, though HD footage would prove more taxing.
Another arena you'll have to avoid is gaming, with the Intel integrated graphics delivering a paltry 11.9 frames per second (fps) in Trackmania Nations - 30fps being the desirable minimum. If you're after a little more grunt you may want to look at the HP Pavilion dv2050ea, which at 13.3in is similarly portable but offers superior nVidia-based graphics.
Battery life, on the other hand, is very good. In the Productivity segment of MobileMark 2007, it managed a solid three hours and 47 minutes, increasing to four and a quarter hours in the lower intensity Reader test - both very good results, besting the Samsung R522 by a handful of minutes, though the more expensive HP Pavilion dv2050ea was comfortably better than both.
As an affordable and portable laptop, the Packard Bell NJ65 is well worth considering. It has all the right features, performs well and even throws in one or two extra features into the bargain. However, it's let down by a mediocre keyboard, which is worth testing out before you hand over your cash.