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

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Aside from its generous hardware bundle, it’s on the software front that the Dot S2 manages to distinguish itself. Windows 7 Starter is installed, which despite some limitations still provides a far superior experience to XP. However, the undoubted highlight is a full version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. It’s a great bonus for any digital photography or design enthusiasts and at £40 retail makes for a good value-add too. It's worth bearing in mind that the Dot S2’s weak specification does occasionally struggle with this application, but as long as you don’t apply complicated effects to large image files it generally runs okay.

Inexplicably, battery life is slightly poorer than that of the Asus Eee PC 1005PE, despite using identical internals and a battery that’s rated at the same 4,400mAh (48Watt-hour) capacity. PB deserves credit for quoting a more realistic eight-hour battery life (compared to Asus’ claim of 11 hours) on its packaging, though confusingly it states 10 hours on its website. In our usual test, running a looped video file at 50 per cent screen brightness with wireless turned off, the Dot S2 managed just over six hours: an hour less than the 1005PE. Mind you, on its own merits this is still plenty for many users.

An MSRP of £299 is in line with other basic Pine Trail netbooks coming to market. As discussed in the Eee PC 1005PE review, that makes for a rather poor proposition as you can get the likes of Toshiba’s excellent NB200 for around £220 these days. However, if you like the sound of XSync and Photoshop Elements 7, the Packard Bell represents decent value and this should be further enhanced as older models go out of stock and these new ones begin to fall in price. If you're looking for something more powerful and with digital video out, keep in mind that netbooks like the HP Compaq Mini 311c offer an HD-resolution 11.6in screen and 1080p video playback, CUDA acceleration and HDMI thanks to nVidia's ION chipset, all while costing only a little extra.

Verdict

It's not the prettiest netbook around, but the Packard Bell Dot S2 offers an excellent keyboard and touchpad, decent screen and speakers, and some innovative and genuinely useful extras. It’s definitely one of the better Pine Trail models so far, but it’s still worth looking at older generation netbooks if you're on a tight budget.

Overall Score

7

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 8
  • Design 6
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Value 7

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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