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Packard Bell dot u review

Verdict

A gorgeous little ultraportable for a fantastically low price. A petite stunner

Review Date: 25 Aug 2010

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £383 (£450 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
6 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

An attractive, slimline ultraportable for just £382 exc VAT might seem too good to be true, but Packard Bell's latest update to its dot u model successfully manages just that - with a dash of panache.

Since Acer took over the reins at Packard Bell HQ, its range of portables has gone from strength to strength. And just as Audi sports car technology trickles into low-cost Skoda hatchbacks, you can see Packard Bell's dot u is a slimmed-down, sexed-up Acer Aspire 1810TZ.

At just 28mm thick, and weighing in at a modest 1.32kg, this is one seriously portable laptop. Despite trimming all that fat, Packard Bell has still managed to make the dot u feel surprisingly sturdy, with only a little bit of flex evident in the chic little chassis. Our only worry is the somewhat slender display hinges.

Packard Bell dot u - front

Minor concerns aside, it's a perfect ultraportable for slinging in a bag on the way to work or a lecture. And 6hrs 21mins of battery life is enough to last most of the working day. Ergonomics are impressive too. We weren't entirely enamoured with the bouncy feel of the identical-looking keyboard on Acer's Aspire 1810TZ, but the dot u improves on it, with a sensible layout and chunky, square keys.

The 11.6in display, meanwhile, is very good indeed. Great contrast and ample brightness are allied to neutral colour reproduction, and only the reflective, glossy finish and narrow vertical viewing angles give any room for improvement.

You'd half expect the tiny dot u to falter when it comes to performance, but it doesn't. The Intel Pentium U5400 inside is a cut-down version of Intel's Core i3 and i5 processors, and despite running at a mere 1.2GHz, it managed a solid 0.67 in our benchmarks.

Try as we might, there are few valid complaints that we can level at the Packard Bell dot u. It looks good (if you don't mind the rose-tinted finish) and its performance, stamina and ergonomics are all well up to par. It effortlessly earns a place on the A-list.

Author: Sasha Muller

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User comments

Great netbook... but my 1810tz is too!

When I was looking around for my ultraportablea month ago the dot u's available at the time were only with the pentium 743 CPU so although I preffered their styling, going for the Acer 1810TZ was a no brainer due to its dual core processor. I am very pleased with it though. I could not however at the time find a review of this Acer on your website, which you actually mention in this review. Can you point me to it please?

By ThomasR on 25 Aug 2010

Service?

The entire article does not even mention a single word about Packard Bell's notorious customer service. IMO it is a quite a bold statement to put an item on an A-list just for the looks only.

Just to recall few facts about it:

2007 awards:
"Packard Bell has also taken a turn for the worse as far as customer satisfaction goes."
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/143607/revealed-your-f
avourite-notebook-manufacturer

2008 awards:
Customer support: 3/6
Reliability: 2/6
Overall score: 2/6
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/html/awards-2008/index.php?
pageId=2

2009 awards:
Customer support: 3/6
Reliability: 3/6
Overall score: 3/6
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/html/awards-2009/index.php?
pageId=2

Based on past years, I would claim that the service and reliability of Packard Bell products has yet to be proven. Good looks just won't suffice.

By stasi47 on 25 Aug 2010

Where can I buy?

Needing a second laptop, this review caught my eye, even with the iffy reliability warnings of another correspondent here. However the listed seller in the magazine does not seem to have it and a brief trawl through other sellers' offerings was fruitless. Any thoughts?

By wyndarra on 28 Oct 2010

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