Packard Bell has really impressed us lately with a number of solid entries in its consumer EasyNote laptop range. The latest addition is the premium EasyNote X-Series, which comes in two flavours - the 14-inch EasyNote NX, and the 15.6-inch EasyNote TX.

The EasyNote TX86-JO-045UK is one of the 15.6-inch models and packs a surprising amount of power into a slick and slim metallic chassis, while adding a few unique design touches.

A premium metallic build has been used throughout the Packard Bell EasyNote TX86, from the brushed aluminium finish of the lid, to the firm keyboard. The chassis is reassuringly solid in all areas, yet also just 30mm thick and 2.5kg in weight.

Simplification has been Packard Bell's motto of late, and the number of shortcut buttons provided on this and other recent models demonstrates this.

A quick-and-easy backup button was introduced in last year's EasyNote models, and one addition to Packard Bell's EasyNote X-Series is the Social key, which launches the new Social Networks application.

Social networking

This program acts as a social hub by streaming content from your Facebook, YouTube and Flickr accounts, so you don't have to separately log onto each site. You're currently restricted to using those three websites, but we're hoping Packard Bell will expand the software to other social media sites in the near future.

Even better would be the option to add any social website of your choosing, although this may be going beyond Packard Bell's simplification mantra.

For further ease of use, a row of touch-sensitive media buttons can be found above the Packard Bell EasyNote TX86's keyboard. These allow you to quickly pause or skip through songs and movies, or eject the DVD drive.

There are also two shortcut buttons in the top left corner of the EasyNote TX86's chassis. One of these can be configured to launch the application of your choice, while the other toggles Wi-Fi on and off.