Packard Bell, a sub-brand of Acer, is also concentrated on the low-cost end of the market. Other models in the TE69 range use old Pentium and AMD processors. This newer model is still far from state-of-the-art, but it at least has an Intel Core series process – one of 2012’s Ivy Bridge generation of Core i3, rather than a current Haswell chip. Used here though this chip makes for a respectable entry-level budget laptop at a competitive price. (See: What's the best budget laptop?)
Packard Bell doesn’t sell direct, so you’ll need to scout around on the web or in your local high-street shops to find the best deal on an EasyNote TE69. We found this version on sale for around £375 with its Core i3 running at 1.8 GHz, 6 GB of memory and a 750 GB hard disk.
That processor and memory aren’t bad for an entry-level laptop, although it still won’t feel especially quick – the use of a hard drive meant that the TE69 only managed a modest 2360 points when running our general purpose PCMark 7 benchtest. (See also: What's the best laptop?)
But, to be fair, that’s in line with many similarly priced laptops, and the EasyNote TE69 felt reasonably smooth and responsive during our tests. It resumed in 12 seconds when using the Windows 8 fast-start standby option, and woke from sleep in just a couple of seconds – although we did occasionally need to tap the Power button more than once to nudge it back into life. It will certainly be able to handle routine web browsing and running a word processor.
Build quality is reasonable for a very low-cost laptop. The shiny plastic chassis does look a bit cheap and cheerful, but is sturdy enough to cope with the occasional bump. The keyboard panel flexes more than we might have liked, but the keys themselves move well and feel firm enough for some high-speed typing. We also liked the large, roomy trackpad.
A weight of 2. 3kg means that the TE69 isn’t as portable as some, but that weight’s not bad for a 15-inch laptop with a built-in DVD drive.
There are signs of cost-cutting elsewhere, though. We don’t mind the absence of a touch-sensitive screen, and the 1366 x 768 resolution is hard to escape for budget laptops. However, viewing angles are relatively limited – only around 90-degrees both horizontally and vertically – so you’d need to look at the screen from almost directly in front to ensure easy screen readability. The speakers also leave room for improvement, producing a thin, tinny sound that lacks any volume or body. Battery life was also poor, at just 3.5 hours of streaming video.