Following the unveiling of their first ever showroom in Asia at Singapore’s Suntec City mall, Packard Bell launches the EasyNote MX36 series of notebooks that come equipped with Skype capability right out of the box. The specifications of this notebook can be customized to suit your computing preferences and the one we had is the Packard Bell EasyNote MX36-026. More about the exact specifications of this particular model will be revealed along the course of the review.
Being a desktop replacement notebook means the EasyNote MX36-026 is a notebook with several things: a large screen, a well-sized keyboard and loads of connectivity options, both wired and wireless. Where typing is concerned, it's safe to say the presence of a full-sized keyboard complete with a numeric keypad will not leave you wanting, especially if your profession requires you to punch in numbers everyday. We were pleased to find the keys for both QWERTY keyboard and numberpad to be comfortable and with a very good tactile response.
Since Skype support is one of its selling points, a webcam, an onboard microphone and Skype software bundle are what you can expect to find on the EasyNote MX36-026. With a stable Internet connection, be it through a wired line or wireless, Internet phone calls, video calls, Instant Messaging and even SMS can all be performed through the preinstalled Skype software. The built-in webcam and microphone performed their respective video and voice jobs well, which means to say you need not bring along additional peripherals for your next overseas trip. Other chat applications like MSN, Yahoo Messenger and even GoogleTalk worked flawlessly as well.
It functioned pretty well as a DVD player in our DVD playback test too. The 15.4-inch glossy screen was decidedly sharp and viewing angle was wide enough to entertain two people seated side by side.
The onboard speakers were a little disappointing though, lacking definition to project voice across – common for notebook speakers actually. It writes to DVDs as well, giving you options to back up gigabytes of data and also to make movies of your own.
Making life easier seems to be what the EasyNote MX36-026 symbolizes, what with its numeric keypad and provisions for VoIP applications. Further to that are quick access buttons to toggle Wi-Fi connectivity and power state of the notebook. The former is pretty standard fare but the latter, labeled as 'ECO', lets you put the EasyNote MX36-026 into power conservation mode instantly to get the most battery time possible when you're on the go.
Computing muscle comes in the form of an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU that's clocked at 1.73GHz and 1GB of RAM. Unsurprisingly, it made short work of the applications we threw at it, and with a 120GB SATA hard disk drive, the Packard Bell EasyNote MX36-026 is well equipped to store whatever applications you may need. Despite having a 15.4-inch screen, a 120GB hard disk drive, a full-sized keyboard and a numeric keypad, the Packard Bell EasyNote MX36-026 is not handicapped by weight. Together with its battery pack that managed to keep the notebook alive for close to three hours, the entire notebook only weighs 2.4kg, which means it's still a fairly portable notebook to bring around – just avoid walking or shopping for too long while you have it in your hands.
As a desktop replacement notebook, the Packard Bell EasyNote MX36-026 has all the necessary qualities to capture your attention. Not only is it packed with features, it also has processing power and entertainment qualities to boot as well. Most importantly however, it's very affordable, costing just S$1,398 (~USD$912). For that price, you get both a desktop replacement PC and a notebook for use on the go. Budget watchers will be thrilled by this Packard Bell offering.