The Packard Bell EasyNote TX86 mid-range laptop offers good looks and great value, with ample performance for most users.

If you love shiny things, you'll admire the silver-on-silver design of the Packard Bell EasyNote TX86. It lifts its appearance well out of the ordinary, replacing the dark, drab experience of the generic black laptop with something bright, elegant and, dare we say it, cool.

This metallic finish extends to the Packard Bell EasyNote TX86's lilypad-style keyboard, whose keys appear to float in mid-air on stalks. Below is a silky, glowing trackpad. It’s a zero-button affair that delivers mouse clicks in response to being poked in the corners.

At 22mm thick, the Packard Bell EasyNote TX86 is a pretty slimline laptop. Its 2.5kg weight is average, but it feels lighter and wider than it actually is.

The Packard Bell EasyNote TX86 uses the same Core i5-430M processor as Medion's Akoya P6625. It’s also fitted with 4GB of DDR3-1066 RAM and a roomy 500GB SATA hard drive. It turned in a slightly lower performance in WorldBench 6, however: 102 points against the Medion laptop's 106. This is still ample speed for the vast majority of users.

The integrated graphics capabilities of the Core i5 processor provide enough power for work and multimedia use, including playing HD video. And if you fancy the occasional bit of gaming, the Packard Bell EasyNote TX86 can switch over to its discrete nVidia GeForce G310M chip. It’s still well behind what you’ll get from the Medion laptop’s ATI HD 5165, but the nVidia hardware will certainly cope with less taxing games.

Four USB 2.0 ports ensure the minimum of cable swapping. Like most budget laptops, the Packard Bell EasyNote TX86 has no FireWire or eSATA.

The Packard Bell EasyNote TX86 lasted for a commendable 5.5 hours in our tests – that’s an hour longer than Medion’s similarly configured Akoya P6625.

See also: Group test: what's the best laptop?

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Packard Bell EasyNote TX86: Specs

  • 2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3-1066 RAM
  • 500GB 2.5in 5,400rpm SATA 3Gbps
  • 15.6in (1366x768) glossy LED-backlit screen
  • 512MB nVidia GeForce G310M (games scores: Stalker: Call of Pripyat [720p, DirectX 10.x] = 17.7fps
  • Fear [Max] = 34fps)
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 8x DVD+/- RW DL drive
  • webcam
  • stereo speakers
  • audio jack
  • mic
  • multiformat card reader
  • 48Wh lithium ion battery, 336 mins life
  • 378x259x22mm
  • 2.5kg
  • WorldBench 6 score: 102
  • 2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 4GB DDR3-1066 RAM
  • 500GB 2.5in 5,400rpm SATA 3Gbps
  • 15.6in (1366x768) glossy LED-backlit screen
  • 512MB nVidia GeForce G310M (games scores: Stalker: Call of Pripyat [720p, DirectX 10.x] = 17.7fps
  • Fear [Max] = 34fps)
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 8x DVD+/- RW DL drive
  • webcam
  • stereo speakers
  • audio jack
  • mic
  • multiformat card reader
  • 48Wh lithium ion battery, 336 mins life
  • 378x259x22mm
  • 2.5kg
  • WorldBench 6 score: 102

OUR VERDICT

For £130 more than you would pay for Medion's Akoya P6625, you get a considerable upgrade in terms of style and build quality. Performance could be better, however. You also get a large amount of bundled software with the Packard Bell EasyNote TX86, including Photoshop Elements.

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