Note that the Packard Bell EasyNote LJ75 exists in several versions. The version we tested, the LJ75-JP-258FR, is a high-end model. Other LJ75 models use lower performance Intel Core i3 and i5 processors. The graphics card may also vary - we've seen models with the HD 5470 instead of the HD 5650 that was on our test model.
Our general opinion on the machine remains the same but obviously performance levels will vary according to the configuration. For some, we might take off a rating star due to lower performance.
Make sure you check when buying.
With a high-end Intel Core i7 processor and a good ATI graphics card, the LJ75 is ready to take up its place as your home computer. This is in any case where Packard Bell is aiming it, at home entertainment fans and film lovers with its "powerful audio/video features allied with an extremely seductive design".
Handling, design and build: a number pad, a good touchpad but very average finish
The Packard Bell EasyNote LJ75 is imposing with its 17.3 inch screen in 16:9 format. It isn't however particularly wide for the category but its design gives it a heavy, bulky feel. The matte black plastic inside is combined with glossy plastics around, behind and under the screen. The materials used are unfortunately rather low end, while the finish could be improved. The glossy black plastics on the inside scratch very easily, even with a soft cloth (micro-scratches). The screen hinges also seem to lack solidity. The mechanism seems too flexible.
The keyboard is firm and responsive with with wide keys (17x 17.5 mm). Keying is rapid and remains relatively discreet. The keys aren't resized with the exception of the arrow keys and function keys which are only 10mm in height. The number pad is on the right of the keyboard and the number keys are the same size as the letter keys. Above, you have your touch keys to activate Wi-Fi, save data, disactivate the touchpad, start up applications or set the volume. These buttons work well but the backlighting isn't very successful (when a button is lit up it also lights up those surrounding it).
The multitouch touchpad is very good and corresponds to the 16:9 screen. Its matte finish gives a rapid, precise glide. The surface area is large although we're still some way from the giant touchpads used on the MacBook Pro. The click bar is very wide and also of good quality.
The webcam image is rather good, with satisfying contrast and fluidity. The very light areas of the image are however a bit overexposed.
This laptop is quiet when processing office documents. You hear just a slight fan sound and the heat is nicely expelled out of the casing. In contrast, the fan does become noisy during heavy processing (photo work, video encoding/editing).
Connectivity is standard with VGA and HDMI video outs, 4 USB 2.0 ports, an RJ45 (Ethernet Gigabit), a 5-in-1 card reader, a headphones and a microphone socket. Wi-Fi b/g/n is also included and there's a DVD burner.
There's a big panel underneath that gives access to the main components: RAM, processor and graphics card. Another panel gives access to the hard drive.
|Packard Bell EasyNote LJ75 from above
||2 USB 2.0s, DVD burner, stand-by button
|Antitheft, power, RJ45, VGA, HDMI, USB 2.0, mic, headphones, USB 2.0, memory card reader
||Touchpad and click bar
Processing: the highest performance mobile dual-core processor
Windows 7 index: 5.7. Details: CPU 6.9 - Memory 5.9 - Graphics 6.7 - Gaming graphics 6.7 - Main hard drive 5.7.
The Intel Core i7-620M is currently the highest performance dual-core processor for laptops on the market (without counting the Core i7-920XM "Extreme Edition"). Clocked at 2.66 GHz (up to 3.33 GHz in Turbo Mode), it even outperforms the 4-core Core i7-720QM on certain tests!
In our test protocol it scored 136, which is up on our reference machine (100 on the index), the Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi3650 (equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9400).
So the LJ75 won't fear anything you care to throw at it: it handles photo work, video editing and decoding at disconcerting speed.
Windows 7 Family Premium (64-bit) comes pre-installed and it takes 40 seconds to display the desktop, with another 15 to 20 seconds to load up the main software items (antivirus uninstalled). It shuts down in 10 seconds.
The processor handles HD 1080p no problem (Blu-Ray equivalent). We do however advise you to use the ATI graphics card to carry out this task, which reduces energy consumption and frees up the processor for other tasks.
3D gaming: high settings at native definition except for the most demanding games
With slightly better performance levels than the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M, the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 graphics card that equips this model allows you to do your gaming with all the latest 3D titles. You can choose high graphics settings for many of them (Far Cry2, Fallout 3 and so on) except for the most demanding games which require low to mid settings (Crysis) if you want to remain at native resolution (1600 x 900).
Audio: standard, straight up and down
Without being exceptional, far from it, the audio quality is pretty much ok. Of course, there's no deep bass but it'll do as a fallback option. However it's better to use the headphones out, which is quite clean, for listening to music or watching a film. Unfortunately, Packard Bell hasn't judged it necessary to add an S/PDIF optical out, unlike many other machines in the same category. For multi-channel digital audio, you have to use the HDMI out which implies the use of an amplifier with it (all recent models have HDMI connectivity).
Mobility, battery life: don't stray too far from a mains plug
Not the best but still 30 minutes more than on some of the competition models. In spite of its small 6-cell 4400 mAh battery, the LJ75 gives 2h31 film playback (brightness at 100 Cd/m², Wi-Fi disactivated and headphones plugged in). Enough for watching a film and doing a bit of browsing, even if you shouldn't stray too far from the mains socket.
In terms of size, the 17.3 inch screen weighs a lot on the scales. At 3.4 Kg and rather big with it, this isn't a model that's been designed to carry around with you regularly.