The market for small affordable laptops has exploded in 2008, called netbooks and coming with screen sizes from 7” up to 10” these products have taken the industry by storm, shipping a total of close to 15 million units in 2008. It’s no surprise than to see many companies jump onboard and bring out their version of the Netbook.
Today we have the brand new Packard Bell
Dot notebook in for test. Packard Bell might ring a bell with our European readers as this company has been around for quite a while, longer than most of our readers I would dare to say.
Very few brands can claim to have witnessed, let alone contributed, to the three major revolutions – radio, TV and PC – in home entertainment of the past 80 years. Packard Bell is one of the rare ones. The brand was born in 1926. In the 1920s and 1930s when radio was all the rage, Packard Bell emerged as a popular brand of console radios with a reputation for elegant design. The first Packard Bell television sets were launched in 1948, just as the TV revolution was sweeping the world.
In 1986, Packard Bell began designing and marketing personal computers to a previously untapped market segment: home users. Our goal was to design affordable, high-quality, easy-to-use computers, and market them through traditional retail channels.
As simple as this may seem today, the idea was revolutionary at the time. Packard Bell pioneered the use of the PC in the home, transforming an unfriendly but useful office tool into a friendly, indispensable feature of today's modern home
Their focus has always been a favourite for novice and beginner home users and the Dot netbook is part of this family; they combine proven hardware setups with ready to use software installations to make sure even those with little knowledge of PCs will get the most out of them.
The .dot is a 8.9” netbook which puts in the middle of the pack size-wise, depending on where you live the Dot is offered with different configurations, the entry level model is the most affordable at €399 (can be found cheaper online), the second model adds more battery power, the third model adds 3G integrated network adapter. Naming convention is not very telling though, Dot.be/005, Dot.be/010, Dot3G.be/020. Each step up adds about €50 to the price.
We received the Dot.be/010 with the following specifications: OS: Windows XP Home
CPU: Intel Atom N270 – 1.6Ghz
Storage: 160Gb HDD
Memory Card Reader: 5-in-1 (MMC/SD/XD/MS/MS-PRO) + 1SD slot
Graphics : Onboard Intel 945 GSE
Screen : 8.9" LED (1024x600)
Integrated Webcam, Speakers and Microphone
10/100 Lan UTP and 802.11 b/g Wireless
3x USB 2.0 ports, Headset/Microphone jack
Battery: 6 Cell Li-Ion
Weight: 1.16Kg (the 3-cell version weighs 1kg)
Warranty: 2 Years
The specifications of the other hardware is pretty much the same compared to the other netbooks out there, seeing as most are all based on the same Intel Atom platform this is no surprise; good to see a large 160Gb HDD in there, that should give you enough space to store your most used data; connectivity is quite good too with 3xUSB, one VGA output. Onboard memory of 1gb is definitely enough for the included XP OS, the screen has a wide enough resolution at 1024, 600 height is also the standard for these netbooks, good for movies, games, might not be enough for office work and internet browsing (depending on the sites). Packard Bell included an extra memory card slot with 5-in-1 support for the most popular formats. Do note that the Dot has no Bluetooth support, something which might come in handy for some, there are very small USB adapters available out there for less than €10 but you’ll have to sacrifice an USB port to use them.
So hardware specs won’t differentiate these netbooks much, but looks will, let’s take a closer peak at the DOT ->