As some of you might already know, Packard Bell (PB) was bought out by Acer a while back. To celebrate its new identity as part of the Acer group and its new logo, it invited TR along to take a peek at some of its new products.
Aside from bringing its monitor and external hard drive lines to the UK, the company also showed off refreshes of existing lines and brand-new products ranging from desktops to notebooks and netbooks.
Among the desktops potentially the most interesting item was the iMax-Mini nettop. Essentially an Acer Revo with a new lick of paint, this means you get an Atom processor on nVidia's ION platform, making this one of the more capable nettops around. You also get the 3D motion-sensing game controller, but for now it looks like the iMax will be available only with a 19in PB monitor and on a broadband deal in the UK.
Moving onto notebooks, highlights included the high-end EasyNote TR85, which showed off some sleek and very attractive styling. Features such as a glass-fronted edge-to-edge display, matte soft-touch interior, multi-gesture touchpad, slot-loading optical drive and Dolby audio combined to make for a great-looking machine, especially given its estimated starting price of £599.
Another star was the 13.4in EasyNote Butterfly, reminiscent of Acer's Timeline series in that it provides up to eight hours of battery life in a chassis less than an inch thick, all while offering discrete ATI Mobility Radeon HD4330 graphics. Also of interest was PB's updated 17in gaming laptop, impressively giving you nVidia GeForce GTX260 graphics for under £1,000.
Finally, the ever-popular netbook put in an appearance. Both the 10.1in 'dot s' (available in black and red) and black-only 11.6in 'dot m' feature multi-gesture touchpads, Dolby Headphone, optional 3G and six-cell batteries. They also sported exemplary keyboards which looked and felt quite similar to that found on the HP Compaq Mini 700, though we found the touchpad on the 'dot s' to be a bit cramped.
Interestingly, though it also has an Intel Atom version in the pipeline, PB told us its first 11.6in netbook will come with an AMD CPU and discrete ATI graphics. Aside from this, specifications are the usual 1GB of RAM and 160GB hard drive, but you do get a carrying case and uniquely both 'dots' come preinstalled with Photoshop Elements 6. Prices start at £279 for the 'dot s' and £349 for the 11.6in 'dot m'.