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The TJ65-AU-031UK's 15.6in, 1,366 x 768-resolution screen is an unexpected highlight, especially considering the version on the previous TJ65 left us unimpressed. Aside from distracting reflections due to the glossy finish and some inevitable weaknesses of a TN-panel, such as strong contrast shift depending on viewing angle, it put in a decent performance.
In our testing there was no sign of backlight bleed and backlighting was fairly consistent, colours were rich without being oversaturated and banding so minimal as to be almost unnoticeable, while text was never less than sharp. At the right angle, the screen will also give you reasonable black detailing, meaning you'll get the best out of dark films and games (the few that the Intel graphics will let you run, anyway) - albeit at the cost of white differentiation.
Finally on the hardware front we take a look at battery life, which thanks to the 4,400mAh (48Whr at 10.8V) battery is quite good. Nearly three and a half hours in MobileMark's Productivity benchmark (at 40 per cent screen brightness and with Wi-Fi turned off) ought to be plenty for most users, especially since the screen is still usable at lower brightness levels.
Software has also seen an upgrade over the previous Packard Bell TJ65, most notably with the OS transitioning to a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium. This is accompanied by 60-day trial version of MS Office and Norton antivirus.
Far more interesting than these trial pieces, however, is an inclusion unique to Packard Bell's entire mobile range: a full version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 - and though Adobe Elements 8 is now out, it's still a worthy inclusion and great a value-add, especially for those with an interest in digital photography or design.
In terms of value, £430 sounds like a great price for what you get. Indeed, unlike its predecessor, the TJ65-AU-031UK is one of the better-value laptops we've reviewed. However, there is the slightly unresponsive touchpad to consider, and also the fact that laptops with Vista pre-installed (basically older stock, but with Windows 7 upgrade vouchers) are going at bargain prices at the moment. For example, you can get an Acer laptop with a proper Core 2 Duo and Blu-ray drive plus dedicated graphics for around £480. Those wanting true portability, meanwhile, are better off with the award-winning Aspire Timeline 1810TZ for the same £430 price.
Despite a slightly unresponsive touchpad, the Packard Bell EasyNote TJ65-AU-031UK offers good value for money, making it a prime candidate for those looking for a capable, all-round laptop on a budget.
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