Packard Bell dot s2 netbook

By on June 10, 2010
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One of the very few netbooks that doesnt look or feel cheap

Editor's Score

The Verdict:
One of the better netbooks out there with good looks and functionality.

If you have been out shopping for a netbook, you might’ve wondered why almost every single netbook that you come across has almost identical specs. An Atom based CPU with 1GB or 2GB RAM, a 9 or 10″ screen with a 1024×600 resolution and 160GB or so hard drive. This is because intel dictates some of these specifications. So, the most distinguishable thing a manufacturer can do to set itself apart from all its competitors is to make their netbook aesthetically pleasing while being usable. The Packard Bell dot s2 that we’re looking at today manages to do that quite well.

Inside the packaging, we found a netbook cover along with a charger that plugs directly into the wall so you dont have a brick sitting on the floor. A drivers CD and a quickstart manual thats a pretty generic across Packard Bell’s entire desktop and notebook/netbook range is also included. One the first things you notice about the Packard Bell dot s2 is how un-cheap it looks and feels- contrary to the sea of netbooks out there that at time, feel like they’ve been put together using duct tape. From the smooth and beautiful lid to the brushed metal border and the funky power and Bluetooth buttons, the DOT is probably the best looking netbook I’ve seen. Not only does the dot s2 looks good, but its construction quality is also top notch with no creaking or weak looking components.

On the inside you continue to get the Intel N450 Atom CPU along with a GMA350 graphics controller found in almost all netbooks of late. The display is 10.1″ with a 1024×600 resolutions however viewing angles like most netbooks aren’t that great. Packard Bell equips the dot s2 with 1GB or RAM which we feel is a bit underwhelming for the included Windows 7 Starter. For storage, you get 160GB of hard drive space while wireless networking comes in the form of 802.11g along with a Bluetooth adapter.

As far as ports go, you have the power, VGA output and two USB ports on the left with one more USB port on the right along with the wired network port, audio input and output and a memory card reader. This keeps the front free of any switches and we like how Packard Bell utilized the sides of the screen hinges for the power button and Wireless notification. The keys on the keyboard are quite comfortable and reasonably big in size to type upon while the trackpad is smooth and supports multi-touch. The trackpad buttons look like one large button and are easy to click. About the only complain I have is the sound of buzzing that randomly kept appearing from the CPU fan, however, considering that this was a sample unit that was already abused before, I wont be surprised if this was a one-off thing.

The following are the scores using PassMark standard Performance Test 7.0.We’ve compared the Packard Bell DOT S2 to a couple of recent netbooks from our labs.

CPU 3D Disk Overall
Packard Bell DOT S2 316 77 366 223
HP Mini 210 363 80 573 251
Toshiba NB305 331 81 508 234

As you can see, the DOT S2 performs pretty much along the same lines of the rest of the netbooks. Its hard drive is a bit slower than the others but that doesn’t effect the overall score much. In terms of battery life, we managed to get a little over five ours on the DOT S2 which is a bit higher than the average four+ hours we get in most netbooks. Heat wasn’t much of an issue either with the netbook getting warm but never hot enough to be uncomfortable.

Priced at AED 1,199, the Packard Bell DOT S2 is one of the best looking netbook’s that we’ve tested to date. It’s price is also pretty decent making it one of the most attractive netbooks in the market. If a netbook is what you’re looking for, the DOT S2 should be on your short list.


Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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