Released at the end of 2008, Packard Bell's latest range includes the EasyNote RS65-M-700. It proves to be a compact and well-specified laptop with an affordable price tag and strong performance, and only its awkward usability lets it down slightly.
Alongside the Rock, the slim 2.5kg chassis is more than portable. Although not quite ultraportable, it can easily be carried on long journeys. This is helped by the fantastic 251-minute battery life, which offers the strongest mobility.
The glossy, curved design looks great and is accentuated by a brushed aluminium palm-rest and cylindrical barrel hinge. The tough plastics used make it more than strong enough for regular travel use, but as with most at the moment, the glossy coating is easily scratched.
Usability is mixed. The keyboard has a completely flat profile that looks great and makes the keys comfortable to use. The board rattles as you type, however, and has a hard typing action. Equally, the small circular touchpad and tiny mouse buttons prove very awkward to use.
While performance is bettered by all but the Rock Pegasus 320, it suffices for most home and office use. The Intel Core 2 Duo processor makes it easy to multitask, and the 3072MB of memory ensures applications run smoothly at all times.
Data storage is outstanding for such a small laptop. The 320GB hard drive is more than enough for you're music and pictures. The built-in DVD rewriter also lets you create your own CDs and DVDs wherever you travel, as well as back up and share files.
Driver conflicts meant we were unable to measure graphics performance. The ATi graphics card is again a mid-level chip, however, designed for high-definition (HD) use. HD video runs smoothly and you can also watch DVDs and even play older 3D games.
The stunning 13.3-inch Super-TFT screen has a 1280 x 800-pixel resolution, but image quality is outstanding. Brightness, colour and contrast are also exceptional, but the glossy screen coating is highly reflective.
Connectivity is aimed at cutting-edge use. The DVI and HDMI-out ports allow digital and high-definition connections to external screens, but owners of older analogue screens will need to invest in a VGA adapter. Bluetooth also provides easy wireless access to peripherals.
The excellent performance, mobility, screen and storage of the EasyNote make it ideal for buyers that need more power than a Netbook, but can't afford highpriced ultraportables. Just bear the limited usability in mind before you buy.