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Packard Bell Dot S (DOT-S-018) review

Tom Morgan
17 Nov 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
249
inc VAT

If you can live with the poor speakers, excellent battery life makes the cheap Dot S perfect for the frequent traveller.

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While the new Packard Bell Dot S we were sent for review was a stylish shade of red, it's the black edition that's currently got the best price. The black version is still great to look at with a neat patterned lid adding a bit of class to the mini laptop.

Typing on any netbook can be challenging for larger hands, but we found the Dot S to be very capable. The black Chiclet-style keys have a straightforward layout, although some of the punctuation keys are half-sized to make the most-used keys easier to type on. The keys are grouped quite tightly, which led to a few initial spelling mistakes. The touchpad buttons are right on the edge of the chassis, which we found slightly too far away from the keyboard to be comfortable. The touchpad itself is reasonably sized and was quick to respond to input.

Packard Bell Dot S

The 10.1in LED-backlit screen has a glossy coating which picked up a lot of reflections. The standard 1,024x600 resolution is cramped and means a lot of vertical scrolling when viewing websites, but images were sharp. Colours were mostly accurate and contrast was even, but brightness was average. Viewing angles were decent, with little colour shifting at anything other than extreme angles. The screen tilts right back, but the hinges weren’t particularly stiff.

Although video was acceptable, audio was mediocre. The downward facing speakers were quiet, but sound quality was poor. High-end notes were masked by a thick mid-range: every music track we played sounded muddy.

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