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Packard Bell Dot S review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £229
inc VAT

This netbook has the latest Atom processor and doesn’t cost much, but it’s not as stylish as some of its rivals

It’s easy to regard netbooks as being more or less interchangeable, given that their specification is limited by their very definition. However, with the increasing power of newer Atom processors and a refinement of designs to produce lighter, hardier and sleeker machines, the current generation of netbooks represents a significant improvement over its predecessors.

Packard Bell Dot S

The Packard Bell Dot S isn’t much to look at, but at just under £230, no-one’s expecting an outstanding beauty. It’s available in a range of colour schemes, too. The cheerful patterned white model we reviewed is attractive enough and is certainly a departure from the ubiquitous grey, black and silver colour schemes of most laptops. If it isn’t to your taste then other options are available, including black and purple. The Dot S is compact and well made, but its plastic chassis doesn’t feel particular sturdy. We suppose this the price of having a light weight.

Packard Bell Dot S

Because it’s so tiny, the Dot S’s layout is a little cramped, but we were impressed by its full-sized keys, which make touch-typing considerably easier than it would otherwise be. The flat keys feel a little wobbly and don’t give the best feedback when you’re typing, but they’re up to the job. There’s no numeric keypad, the spacebar is small and some keys have been crammed together, but it all works well overall, even though we did find ourselves mis-keying from time to time when typing quickly.

The function keys at the top of the keyboard control media and other features by default, so you’ll have to use the (Fn) modifier to use them as Function keys. It’s an unusual choice, but a sensible one. You’re much more likely to adjust your volume than press the F12 button in your favourite application. The touchpad is tiny, but responsive. It’s centrally located on the wrist rest, though, so we didn’t find ourselves brushing it by accident.

Packard Bell Dot S

The 10.1in display has a resolution of 1,024×600, which is standard for a netbook. Only a few have larger screens or higher resolutions. Obviously, everything feels a little cramped if you’re used to a 1,920×1,080 monitor, but it’s big enough to work on word processor documents comfortably, although we spent longer than we’d like scrolling around large spreadsheets. The screen has a semi-gloss finish that makes it appear bright without being too reflective. Colours are generally accurate, although some dark tones tend to blend in to one another indistinguishably.

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Basic Specifications

ProcessorIntel Atom N2600
Processor clock speed1.6GHz
Memory slots1
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory2GB
SoundRealtek ALC269
Pointing devicetouchpad


Viewable size10.1 in
Native resolution1,024×600
Graphics ProcessorIntel GMA 3600
Graphics/video portsHDMI, VGA
Graphics Memory384MB


Total storage capacity320GB
Optical drive typenone

Ports and Expansion

USB ports3
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSDXC, Memory stick Pro, MMC, XD
Other ports1x 3.5mm headphone output, 1x 3.5mm mic input


Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Starter 32-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedAdobe Photoshop Elements 9, MS Office Starter 2010
Optional extrasnone

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB