Packard Bell was acquired by Acer last year, and continues to supply well-specified laptops at highly affordable prices. The EasyNote TN65-T-440UK is a widescreen media centre with an impressive specification, but which fails to deliver on its performance potential.

The unique design stands out from the crowd. The brushed aluminium palm-rest and textured plastic exterior create an almost retro style. The screen panel sits on a large hinge that holds it 10mm above the main chassis, and it can be smoothly folded back more than 90 degrees.

The chassis itself weighs 2.8kg, making it fairly light and mobile. Its slim dimensions let it slip easily into a carry case. The poor 177-minute battery life falls below the three-hour minimum we expect, however, so only suits basic travel use.

The user interface continues the unique design. The keyboard has an entirely flat profile, which makes it very tactile, but the keys rattle when typing. The circular touchpad is also quite awkward to use, as are the mouse buttons, which are cut directly into the main palmrest.

Performance is bettered by most of its rivals, but this is to be expected at this low price. The Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 3072MB of memory provide enough power for most home use, including basic photo and video editing, but this is certainly no multi-tasking powerhouse.

HD graphics

Graphics performance is equally basic, and again bettered by quite a few rivals. The ATi graphics card is designed for high-definition (HD) use, so HD video runs smoothly. There is also enough power to run some older games if need be.

The 16:9 aspect ratio of the 15.6-inch screen lets you watch widescreen movies without the intrusive black borders at the top and bottom. Image quality is also stunning and provides fantastic colour, contrast and brightness.

A camera is built into the top of the screen panel, so you can take snapshots and even stream live video over the internet. HDMI and VGA-out ports also let you connect to external analogue and HD screens to get a bigger picture.

Finally, storage matches the more expensive laptops around. The 250GB hard drive provides ample space for large collections of files, while the DVD rewriter and 3-in-1 media card reader let you save and share files, using both optical discs and flash memory storage cards.

While the limited mobility and performance of the Packard Bell is disappointing, its low price and stunning screen make it great for basic home entertainment. As long as the slightly awkward usability doesn't put you off, the TN65 is worth a look.