The Packard Bell EasyNote TX86 is a 15.6-inch entry in the new EasyNote X-Series range, a premium set of laptops available at a highly affordable price. With an emphasis on simplification, Packard Bell is helping consumers to get the most out of its latest series of portables through slick design and easy-to-access shortcut buttons.

The EasyNote TX86 features a solid metal chassis that is surprisingly thin and light, weighing just 2.5kg and measuring 30mm at its thickest point. Performance is also assured, thanks to the inclusion of one of Intel's latest dual-core processors and a dedicated nVidia graphics card.

We liked

That solid chassis is one of the toughest we've seen outside of rugged laptops such as the Panasonic Toughbooks, and can take a bit of punishment when you're on the move. At 2.5kg it won't weigh you down much either, while the five-hour battery life further boosts portability.

Performance doesn't suffer as a result, with the EasyNote TX86's Intel Core i5 processor providing more than enough power for multitasking with various office applications. The nVidia GeForce GPU is good enough for basic multimedia tasks.

We're also impressed by the features Packard Bell has packed into the EasyNote TX86's slimline chassis, with plenty of storage space and a good range of ports on offer. Networking is speedy, both wired and wireless.

Last but not least is the glorious glowing touchpad. Pointless it may be, but we're just relieved the built-in mouse buttons don't cause the cursor to go crazy when pressed. The EasyNote TX86 also has a firm and responsive keyboard, which is a joy to tap away on for extended periods.

We disliked

To be honest, any complaints we have with the Packard Bell EasyNote TX86 are nitpicky at best. The reflective screen is a hindrance to outdoor use, and liable to give you a migraine if you attempt to do so, but this is true of most Super-TFT displays.

The Social Networks application is also highly limited in its current state, with no support for the likes of Twitter, and we feel that few people will make regular use of it. There's still potential for expansion, however.

If portability is a priority, there are lighter laptops available with much longer battery life, although you'll pay a premium for one with as much power as the EasyNote TX86.

Verdict

Packard Bell has smashed the ball clean out of the proverbial park with the EasyNote TX86, an excellent all-round machine that pulls off power and style with panache.

A solid yet portable chassis is merely surface material, as the Intel Core i5 CPU and nVidia graphics card provide excellent performance at this price.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview