Packard Bell EasyNote TX86-JO-045UK

A solidly built and highly usable laptop, with strong performance for the price

The EasyNote TX86 may be a good looking machine on the outside, but Packard Bell hasn't neglected the laptop's insides. A powerful dual-core Intel Core i5 430M processor is on board, running with a clock speed of 2.26GHz.

Intel's mid-range Core i5 processor sits between the entry-level Core i3 and über-powerful Core i7 in terms of performance, and provides ample power for multi-tasking with intensive applications, thanks to its capacity for hyper-threading.

Aided by 4096MB of speedy DDR3 memory, the EasyNote TX86 can comfortably handle any office tasks thrown at it. We didn't witness any slowdown, even with several packages open at one time, which would have seriously impacted older Core 2 Duo laptops.

A dedicated nVidia GeForce 310M graphics card with 512MB of video memory is also in place, and the EasyNote TX86's multimedia performance is reasonably solid as a result. This isn't a gaming machine by any means, and the latest titles will struggle even with detail levels turned right down. But older games run without a hitch.

Design packages also run well, and anyone hoping to do some photo editing or light video editing will be satisfied by the performance the EasyNote TX86 delivers. Packard Bell has generously included a copy of PhotoShop Elements 8, for tinkering with your treasured family photos.

This strong performance is all the more impressive given the EasyNote TX86's thin and reasonably light chassis, which is suitable for carrying even on regular commutes. Portability is further enhanced by the excellent 302-minute battery life, which exceeds most laptops at this level.

However, if the thought of lugging a 2.5kg machine around is too much, and your budget can stretch a little further, there are excellent ultraportables with similar levels of performance to be had.

For instance, the Fujitsu Lifebook P770 packs plenty of power into a 1.5kg chassis and still manages 427-minutes of battery life – although the £1441 price tag is a considerable step up from the EasyNote TX's asking price.