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

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

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.

Ryan131

February 22, 2010, 5:42 am

Does the Xsync support Windows' Easy Transfer or are you forced to use the (usually rubbish) third-party bundled software?

Stewart

February 22, 2010, 12:33 pm

Hate these combined power transformers/plugs. They are much to bulky to be hanging out of an outlet. You sometimes can't plug anything in alongside them (because of their size) when they are plugged into a double outlet, and when you use them in less physically secure sockets (like a two pin european type one) the whole bulk thing can be pretty precarious (especially if used alongside a travel adaptor). Much prefer the size/weight to be sitting on the floor in the form of a power brick and have just the plug hanging off the socket.


The rotating thing in this netbooks power supply is quite clever though.

morsch

February 22, 2010, 6:23 pm

When I first saw the image I figured they had thrown in world-compatible replacement plugs. Now THAT would be nice. In fact since they've got a replaceable plug already it seems silly not to do it.

TechVegan

February 22, 2010, 10:58 pm

@Ryan:


It uses a third-party application which installs flawlessly off the stick without any effort on your part. It works well and offers an attractive interface.





@Stewart:


I know what you're saying and agree where previous combo plugs are concerned. But with this new system you can always orient the power brick so that you can plug something in next to it - I tried it in a double outlet with another (non-moddable) power brick.





@morsh:


I'm guessing they will sell compatible plugs for every socket type of any country where Acer/PB sells netbooks...

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