Packard Bell dot s2 review

10 Aug 2010

Not the best battery life, but the dot S2 boasts good ergonomics, a great screen and includes valuable extras

Price when reviewed: 
280(£280 inc VAT)
5

Packard Bell's dot s2 might not have some of the big-brand cachet of some of its rivals, but it makes a striking entrance. Glossy white contrasts with a gorgeous silver interior, and little details such as the glowing blue power button and stylish font on the keys show an attention to detail that eludes much of the competition.

Look past that chiselled exterior, however, and there are a few weaknesses. There's a little flex in the chassis and some noticeable give in the wristrest, for example. It makes amends with a generous specification, including a 250GB hard disk, 802.11n and Bluetooth, plus its memory card reader supports more formats than rivals.

Packard Bell dot s2

There's even a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 included, and Packard Bell throws in a neat little USB device. Its XSync cable allows you to drag and drop files directly to the dot s2 from your main PC, and vice versa.

Such features would be useless if the dot s2 didn't get the ergonomic basics right, but it puts on a great show. The striking white of the keyboard is matched with a good feel and a comfortable layout - and, while the keyboard is good, the display is fantastic.

In fact, the dot s2 has one of the best displays we've seen on any netbook, with rich, realistic colours, plenty of brightness and impressive contrast. Even the speakers manage to put in a good performance.

Packard Bell dot s2 - rear view

Battery life is a little behind the very best, but the 4,400mAh battery still managed 7hrs 34mins of light use before expiring.

It's a great little netbook at a good price, and especially so when you consider extras such as the nifty XSync. The Asus Eee PC 1001P may be cheaper, and the Toshiba NB305 more refined, but Packard Bell's dot s2 is a worthy contender nonetheless.

Details

Price ex VAT £238
Price inc VAT £280
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 6
Value for Money 5
Performance 2

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 258 x 185 x 35mm (WDH)
Weight 1.190kg
Travelling weight 1.4kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Atom N450
Motherboard chipset Intel NM10
RAM capacity 1.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 1

Screen and video

Screen size 10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,024
Resolution screen vertical 600
Resolution 1024 x 600
Graphics chipset Intel GMA 3150
Graphics card RAM N/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 250GB
Hard disk usable capacity 233GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Toshiba MK2555GSX
Optical disc technology N/A
Optical drive N/A
Battery capacity 4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
FireWire ports 0
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 2
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset Realtek HD Audio
Speaker location Front edge
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 7hr 44min
Overall application benchmark score 0.30
3D performance (crysis) low settings N/A
3D performance setting N/A

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Starter
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition
Software supplied Adobe Photoshop Elements 7