Packard Bell dot s2 review

Price when reviewed

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.


Warranty1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions258 x 185 x 35mm (WDH)
Travelling weight1.4kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Atom N450
Motherboard chipsetIntel NM10
RAM capacity1.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total1

Screen and video

Screen size10.1in
Resolution screen horizontal1,024
Resolution screen vertical600
Resolution1024 x 600
Graphics chipsetIntel GMA 3150
Graphics card RAMN/A
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs0
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0


Hard disk usable capacity233GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskToshiba MK2555GSX
Optical disc technologyN/A
Optical driveN/A
Battery capacity4,400mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0


Wired adapter speed100Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno
Bluetooth supportyes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchno
Wireless key-combination switchyes
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots0
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)3
FireWire ports0
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks2
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readerno
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetRealtek HD Audio
Speaker locationFront edge
Hardware volume control?no
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use7hr 44min
Overall application benchmark score0.30
3D performance (crysis) low settingsN/A
3D performance settingN/A

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Starter
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedAdobe Photoshop Elements 7

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