Packard Bell has released some very impressive laptops in its consumer EasyNote range since the company's acquisition by Acer in 2008. The EasyNote NM86-GN-010UK is a highly portable machine, despite its solid build, and features a fantastically crisp display.

With a weight of 2.3kg and thickness of 34mm, it is a compact and portable laptop. The 303 minute battery life is a great result and means you can leave the charger at home and work on the daily commute.

Although the chassis is light, it's also solidly built, with almost no visible flex seen in any area. It's attractive too, with a subtle patterned design covering the palmrests and lid.

The excellent build quality extends to the keyboard, which uses the same style as the Acer Aspire 5741-333G32Mn, with flat keys raised slightly from the chassis. A lack of key definition doesn't hinder touch-typing thanks to the spacing between each key.

There's no separate numeric keypad, as there is on the Acer, but a couple of handy shortcut buttons are included as well.

Packard bell easynote nm86

As a result of the more compact dimensions, the 14-inch display quite small, although it is still a good size for working on documents and even watching movies. A 1366x768 pixel screen resolution has been used, despite the reduced size, so images are pleasingly sharp.

The screen features a glossy Super-TFT coating and photographs look stunningly realistic considering the price. The only disadvantage is the increased reflectivity.

Performance is good, with 3072MB of memory backing up the Intel Core i3 processor, and integrated Intel graphics providing graphical power. Office applications and basic multimedia tasks pose no problem.

Limited storage

The 250GB hard drive provides the same amount of storage as the HP G62-a45SA, and less than the Acer Aspire 5741-333G32Mn and Toshiba Satellite Pro C650-197.

This will be okay for most family use but could fill rapidly if you have a lot of digital music and movies to store. Files can be saved to DVD and CD, however, using the built-in optical drive.

Networking is strong, with Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi available for wired and wireless communications. There's also built-in Bluetooth for wirelessly sharing files with mobile devices, or connecting a wireless headset.

With excellent build quality and a sharp and vibrant screen, not to mention strong performance for the price, the EasyNote NM86-GN-010UK offers fantastic value for money. Granted, the limited storage is a let-down, but is forgivable considering the many strengths on offer.

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