Packard Bell is not afraid to step out from the crowd in the design and styling of its laptop range - and the widescreen TN65-T-440 notebook is no exception.

From the outside with the lid closed, the top takes a smart but industrial tablet-embossed pattern, with sturdy-looking metal hinges to support the widescreen 15.5in display. There's a definite air of masculine tech about the Packard Bell EasyNote TN65.

Those hinges lift the screen clear of the main body when you open the lid, exaggerating the wide appearance of the 16:9 glossy screen. Once you get past gloss reflections, screen quality is good with usefully wide viewing angles.

The Packard Bell EasyNote TN65's top deck is brushed aluminium with a black finish, and features the comfortable flat-key keyboard and round trackpad common to the range. Given the extra-wide proportions of the notebook, Packard Bell has included a full number keypad to the right, activiated by a NumLk function key.

As almost the antithesis of the slippery glass pad on new Apple noteboks, the Packard Bell EasyNote TN65 circular trackpad has a rough sandpapery texture that is actually delightfully precise in use. The left/right click buttons are less ergonomic though, as they cannot be easily pressed by the thumb owing to a metal band that circles the laptop's body, and instead require you to move your hand from its natural position whenever you operate them.

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Four USB ports are distributed around the Packard Bell EasyNote TN65's chassis, two to the left and another two at the back by the right-hand display hinge. Also at left are two digital video ports - DVI an HDMI - plus an ethernet port and ExpressCard/54 slot. Audio in and out sockets, meanwhile, are sited at the front under the trackpad area.

Stereo speakers are hidden just behind the keyboard, below elongated grilled slots, and the sound from these is bass-light but clear and sharp.

In our tests, the Packard Bell EasyNote TN65 scored 85 points in WorldBench 6, making it a usefully fast laptop for most applications. With the help of its discrete ATI HD 3430 graphics card, it can make a fist at some modern 3D games - we recorded an average of just 10 frames per second in FEAR at challenging Maximum quality settings. Reduce the quality and gameplay should be possible without video stuttering too much.

Besides the tortuous click buttons, the biggest disappointment is the Packard Bell EasyNote TN65's battery life, which came in at a scant 2 hours 21 minutes in MobileMark 2007 tests.

NEXT PAGE: Our expert verdict...

Packard Bell EasyNote TN65-T-440: Specs

  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400
  • 15.6in (1366x768) 16:9 glossy widescreen display
  • Winodws Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit
  • 250GB SATA HDD
  • 3GB DDR2 RAM
  • ATI Radeon HD 3430 graphics card
  • DVD±RW drive
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • DVI-D and HDMI video outputs
  • 10/100Mb/s ethernet
  • mic-in/headphone out
  • SD card slot
  • 380x235x39mm
  • 2.7kg
  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400
  • 15.6in (1366x768) 16:9 glossy widescreen display
  • Winodws Vista Home Premium SP1 32-bit
  • 250GB SATA HDD
  • 3GB DDR2 RAM
  • ATI Radeon HD 3430 graphics card
  • DVD±RW drive
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • DVI-D and HDMI video outputs
  • 10/100Mb/s ethernet
  • mic-in/headphone out
  • SD card slot
  • 380x235x39mm
  • 2.7kg

OUR VERDICT

Like the Packard Bell EasyNote RS65 we tested last month, the Packard Bell EasyNote TN65-T-440 is a stylish and well designed laptop – excepting the badly executed buttons that will make relaxed operation tricky for some users. But it’s cool and quiet, weighs less than 2.8kg and has a true 16:9 display that will make video look great. And at under £450, it’s competitively priced too.

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