Before the EasyNote NJ65 came along, it had been many years since we reviewed a PC from Packard Bell. However, now that it's been acquired by Acer, the company is going through a bit of a UK revival. Assaulting the budget end of the market is its EasyNote range and today we're looking at the NJ65's larger yet slightly cheaper cousin, the 15.6in TJ65, which can be yours for just £450.
As usual its lid is glossy (the Sony VAIO VGN-NW11S/S being one of the few laptops that isn't), but depending on the angle the EasyNote's honeycomb-patterned gold finish is better at hiding fingerprints than most. The chromed Packard Bell logo inset is a nice touch, though the cheap-looking silver hinge doesn't quite match up.
Opening the TJ65 up reveals an attractive combination of silver with matte and glossy blacks, though again the highly-visible hinge is too blatant. Below the glossy-framed screen is a piano-black area containing red-backlit indicator icons and touch-controls, including 'buttons' for Eco Mode, Backup, Wireless and volume, as well as one which disables the touchpad. To be honest this is a puzzling location for it and we far prefer the implementation on Acer Aspire Timeline 5810T and other Timeline machines, where this button is next to the touchpad.
Unlike that found on Packard Bell's EasyNote NJ65, the keyboard on the TJ65 - which now includes a full number pad - is excellent. Key feedback is still a bit on the light side but this also makes them very quiet and there's no sign of the flex that plagued its smaller sibling, while layout is flawless and the broad, matte keys feel great.
Thanks to the touchpad's positioning you'll rarely need to disable it; we had very few instances where we accidentally moved the cursor with our palm. Its buttons are one of the few unique features about the EasyNote range, as they're incorporated into a very attractive transparent-and-chrome rocker switch that extends beyond the pad's edges. Unfortunately, though left-clicking is a pleasure thanks to good feedback and a large responsive zone, right-clicking is too stiff and requires you to extend your thumb too far.
Connectivity is standard fare, with a Gigabit Ethernet port, VGA and HDMI, two USBs, headphone and microphone jacks and a card reader on the left, plus a further two USB ports and the DVD-Rewriter residing on the EasyNote's right. Actually the optical drive is a potentially major build quality concern here, as its tray cover protrudes slightly from the chassis on one side which could lead to accidents.