Summary

Our Score

7/10

User Score

Review Price free/subscription

Packard Bell Dot S2 - 10.1in Netbook - Packard Bell Dot S2

Like its screen, the PB Dot S2’s speakers are good though not outstanding. Bass is utterly absent and audio is occasionally muddled, but generally it comes across clearly and at decent volume levels for a netbook.

It’s also very difficult to find fault with the netbook’s chiclet-style keyboard. Though key travel is necessarily shallow, feedback is nice and crisp, so Packard Bell/Acer can pat themselves on the back here. This combines with the keys’ matte surface and an excellent layout to make typing a pleasure. Intelligent placement of secondary functions helps, too. Overall, it’s on a whole other level to the Eee PC 1005PE, indeed it's among the best netbook keyboards around.

Below it, the large matte touchpad does nothing to curb our enthusiasm. Marked by a slightly textured pattern of white dots that feels pleasant under the finger, it’s very sensitive and multi-touch works smoothly. Its buttons are likewise just right, with no handicap from being incorporated into a single rocker switch. Frankly, where input is concerned, this is one of our favourite netbooks.

Connectivity brings us back to earth, though. As with most netbooks you’ll find a VGA output, three USB ports, headphone and microphone jacks, an Ethernet port and memory card reader, with nothing like HDMI to get excited about.

The hardware is just as uninspiring. Like most new netbooks, Intel’s Atom N450, running at 1.66GHz, is paired with the company’s NM10 chipset and GMA 3150 graphics to make for a platform that’s slightly faster in general use and even more efficient than its already frugal predecessor, lowering power usage from 8W to just 5.5W.

This is backed up by 1GB of RAM, which again is pretty standard though 2GB is slowly becoming more prominent. An ample 250GB hard drive takes care of permanent storage. One slight disappointment is the lack of Wireless-N Wi-Fi, with just 802.11b/g available, and there's no Bluetooth either – both disadvantages compared to the Asus Eee PC 1005PE we previously looked at.

As we discovered in our 1005PE review, you’ll just about be able to play back high definition 720p video on this specification, but forget about gaming or anything else remotely demanding. Of course, everyday applications will run just fine, held back mainly by the limited screen real estate.

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