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8 Reviews
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent netbook, but spoilt by a few design issues
In my opinion, this is an excellent netbook. And I am happy to say that it is much better than the Acer Aspire One 8" that I bought a couple of months ago. However I have found some 'issues' which I wish to point out:

1) The touchpad is too small, and the virtual scrolling bar at the far right edge of the pad means that occasionally you can accidentally scroll...
Published on 15 Nov 2009 by Mr. J. Ward

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the advance I expected.
I've had a Samsung NC10 for some time and used it extensively over summer so this is a comparison with the Packard Bell (PB) from what is an established baseline product in this market segment (netbooks at ukp300).

Screen - The PB screen is much better in presenting pictures, but only if you're looking at the screen dead centre. It's OK left to right, but if...
Published on 14 Nov 2009 by C. Hatfield


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent netbook, but spoilt by a few design issues, 15 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. J. Ward (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Packard Bell DOT_SR.UK/010 10.1-inch Netbook (Intel Atom Processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, up to 6 Hours Battery Life, XP Home) (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In my opinion, this is an excellent netbook. And I am happy to say that it is much better than the Acer Aspire One 8" that I bought a couple of months ago. However I have found some 'issues' which I wish to point out:

1) The touchpad is too small, and the virtual scrolling bar at the far right edge of the pad means that occasionally you can accidentally scroll down an internet page or word document, or even enlarge the size of the web page! This is probably the biggest annoyance about this laptop, and I have found no way to disable it. The only way I can think of is to remove the 'synaptic pointing device' package in add/remove.

2) The plastic surround around the screen scratches too easily (common fault with netbooks), and the dimple effect around the keyboard also becomes imprinted on it. Also, the surround easily picks up fingerprints which means that I have to carry around a cloth to clean it each time I use it.

3) Yet again, another common fault! The screen is too shiny for prolonged outdoor use! This means that when you are in a sunny environment all you can see is yourself reflected in the screen. I do not mind the screen when it is slightly darker, as it looks quite good, but in the sun don't even bother trying to use it!

4) Lastly, the Energy Star sticker wears off within minutes of using the netbook and looks terrible. I ended up getting rid of it!

However, there are a lot of good points about this netbook. So much so that for the above the product has only been deducted one star.

5) The screen is (very) bright and looks good when in use, and is much better than the one on my 8" AAO. The colours look bright, even though the screen does lose colour when looking at it from the different angles.
The screen size is also just about right for a netbook, and I now think that 8" is too small! One thing which you would never hear me say before I got the Dot S!

6) The keyboard is the best I have found on a netbook so far, and is not slightly 'clunky' like the one on my AAO.

7) The OS, Windows XP, works very well with these specifications and the addition of another GB of ram didn't make too much difference. However I can highly recommend upgrading to Windows 7 as, in my opinion, it works much more efficiently on netbooks and has a much faster booting time. Although with Windows 7 I can recommend getting the extra GB of RAM.

The RAM needed for this netbook is: DDR2 PC2-5300, CL5

8) The extended '6 hour battery' on the PBDS is very good, and I have got around 7.5 hours out of it so far (wi-fi on and screen dimmed). However with a mobile broadband dongle being used, expect around three hours.

9) The hard drive activity light is not too bright, which is an advantage because when you are working the last thing you want to see is a bright green light flashing (like you do on the AAO). This may seem like a fairly small problem, but it is a huge annoyance after hours of staring at a screen!

10) The laptop has access panels! This means that you can add ram and change the hard drive without having to take the motherboard out (which is the case with most netbooks on the market). Well done PB, the only manufacturer to have designers with common sense!

Overall I would recommend that you buy this netbook, even though some models are now available with Windows 7, because the W7 Starter Edition is too limiting. You can't even change the desktop background! If you do want to upgrade to 7 I can recommend that you get an XP netbook (taking advantage of the clearance offers 15/11/09) and buy a Home Premium upgrade - you will save money and get more functionality!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the advance I expected., 14 Nov 2009
By 
C. Hatfield (Leafy Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Packard Bell DOT_SR.UK/010 10.1-inch Netbook (Intel Atom Processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, up to 6 Hours Battery Life, XP Home) (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've had a Samsung NC10 for some time and used it extensively over summer so this is a comparison with the Packard Bell (PB) from what is an established baseline product in this market segment (netbooks at ukp300).

Screen - The PB screen is much better in presenting pictures, but only if you're looking at the screen dead centre. It's OK left to right, but if you tilt the screen vertically there's a drastic change in contrast. Winner is NC10.

Touchpad - Despite what the other reviewer said, I found that the PB touchpad was more responsive and the size wasn't an issue. The buttons were equally difficult to use. Winner is PB.

Keyboard - The keyboard on both were easy to use even for my podgy fingers. They're not going to compete with a macbook but they're real world useable. Draw

Performance - The PB edges this with a slightly better processor. Winner PB

Battery - Almost identical. I love these netbooks. You no longer feel anxious about being more than a few hours away from a mains outlet. Both easily achieved six hours of constant use from a full charge. Recharging times were equally rapid. Draw.

Portability - The PB feels a lot lighter despite having the same battery size as the NC10. The only disadvantage is that the battery on the PB sticks out the back making it a tight fit in existing gel cases. Both feel OK to hold in one hand whilst typing with the other. If I was to choose, the PB edges this contest. Winner PB.

Overall you'd expect me to declare the PB the winner, but I'm really shocked how little progress has been made over the NC10 in this market segment. I still love these devices but I can't give the five stars I was hoping for. It seems that Intel and Microsoft have got this market in a vice that is limiting the sort of progress we're used to seeing with computer products. Shame.

[update, 4 months later] - After minimal abuse, this netbook died. It is no more. This may be a one-off but the lack of support from Packard Bell and lack of info on their website loses it another star. The NC10 is still going strong in the ownership of the mate who bought it off me. I'll replace this with a Samsung N220.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 6 Mar 2010
By 
M. Dolan "Archimad" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Packard Bell DOT_SR.UK/010 10.1-inch Netbook (Intel Atom Processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, up to 6 Hours Battery Life, XP Home) (Electronics)
This is a brilliant little laptop, I upgraded the RAM to 2gb for fairly low cost, this was really easy to do. I run the usual word and internet off of it but also manage photoshop and indesign pretty well (for smallish files). Battery life is great I was pleasantly surprised that it actually sometimes exceeds the predicted 6hrs. Nice looking, portable quick (for a netbook) definitely a winner.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good netbook, 17 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. Jon Forster "sensor" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Packard Bell DOT_SR.UK/010 10.1-inch Netbook (Intel Atom Processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, up to 6 Hours Battery Life, XP Home) (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Mini bell.

I am writing this review after having used several laptops and notebooks.
I think everyone knows by now but a netbook is not a laptop. They are smaller and have less `power'. Netbooks are though small, light and easily transportable.
So, what about this `little bell'?

Positives
Small, light.
Appears well constructed.
`Nice looking' build.
I like the screen - appears very 'clean' when used.
Great for emailing and web surfing.
Reasonable battery life.
Comes with a good, padded cover (a rare thing to get with a netbook and much appreciated!)

Negatives
Not the easiest to actually open! There is no obvious way to open the lid and you may risk dropping it opening it.
Comes preloaded with a lot of 'junk software' - why does companies keep doing that? Get Win7 and you can wipe it clean.
Mouse pad area is small - I knoiw a netbook is small but this is very small.
Only 1gb of memory. With the price of memory I would think it would come with 2gb as standard.
It comes with XP and there is no `free upgrade' to Windows7 as it is the lowest version of XP. XP is ok but once you install Windows7 then it improves performance. This is not a review of Windows7 but a disappointment that you cannot get a free upgrade (note any Packard Bell `free upgrade' costs 19.95).

Overall
It is a pretty good example of a netbook. It has to though compete with the Asus and specifically the Samsung range. I've used the NC10 and still think it is a great netbook and there is now a new model out. Have a look at it to see if you like the look of it but I still think the Samsung is a nicer, more robust netbook.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but could have been better..., 18 Oct 2009
By 
Straightforward (Twickenham) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Packard Bell DOT_SR.UK/010 10.1-inch Netbook (Intel Atom Processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, up to 6 Hours Battery Life, XP Home) (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I quite like this machine, but what could have been four stars has been reduced to three (and a half if that were possible) by the following factors:

1) The screen isn't as good as rival netbooks - the picture loses visibility when viewed from above or from the side at angles that other machines on the market can handle easily.

2) Design - little things like there being no light to indicate when the integrated camera is operating, or the small size of the mousepad which makes it quite fiddly to use properly. I didn't like the dimpled surface on either side of the mousepad either; it feels cheap and insubstantial in some way, like corrugated cardboard - I prefer the 'Bakelite' effect that is common on other manufacurers' models (Which they have used on the outer casing, but just not on the inside). Another tiny thing - the 'Energystar' sticker next to the Intel and XP ones started smudging and looked really cheap, so I had to remove it.

3) Software - The PB screensaver can't be interrupted by pressing any key; I have to press ctrl/alt delete to get it to stop. This might just be me, but I've never had a difficulty doing this on any other machine. Not even escape does the trick! Setting up the computer is a drawn-out affair too compared to the brief simplicity of other machines.

However, these are minor quibbles on what is a perfectly adequate machine - the keyboard is nice and responsive, and although I couldn't find any benchmark ratings to compare the speed with other models, I would say that its 1.66ghz processor does a fair enough job judging by the smooth way it handles applications and games. The sound is fine, and Dolby processing is offered. It comes with a nice soft case included and when closed, it looks very elegant. A couple of female friends have remarked that it looks like a clasp handbag when closed, whatever that is.

The integrated camera is quite sensitive to light, so in normal conditions the picture it gives looks a bit washed out, but in darker conditions it looks a lot better.

The problem for Packard Bell is that this sector of the market has some manufacturers who have had a couple of years' headstart to get their machines just right, and this model faces stiff competition - whilst it really isn't bad at all, it isn't as good as some of the others out there. From the sales description, it seems that they are aiming at the female market, but computer users demand a lot more than just a pretty face these days.

Packard Bell are a relatively unfamiliar brand to me, but I have just found out that they are owned by Acer - so expecrt similar levels of customer service from both brands.

Edit 07/11/09: I have found the position of the internal speakers (the sound comes from underneath) to be a bit problematic while watching films - if the netbook is placed on something soft, the sound is muffled because the sound can't escape. Often with low-volume files, I have had to lift the base up to hear things better, as the speakers themselves aren't that loud.

Edit 31/05/11: Both the headphone socket and the power socket on the laptop have developed loose connections. Yes, it's had the normal amount of handling, but this implies cheap internal components and soldering to me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent netbook in its category, 16 Dec 2010
By 
Amazon Customer (San Francisco) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Packard Bell DOT_SR.UK/010 10.1-inch Netbook (Intel Atom Processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, up to 6 Hours Battery Life, XP Home) (Electronics)
I gave this netbook to my disabled father for Christmas as he was having difficulty carrying a full sized laptop. Recent reports in the industry have declared the netbook market dead, but it is situations like these where the ultraportable, keyboard-toting netbook really finds its place. Another is travel, and I have travelled extensively with two different netbooks in the past two years.

As with C. Hatfield I mainly compared this to a Samsung NC10 -- the Packard Bell DOT SR is actually much more stylish on the outside, and internally the specs are more or less identical. The differences in the keyboard, trackpad and screen are mostly down to personal preference. Neither netbook performs well outdoors and both will cramp your fingers slightly with extended use, but that is the price of portability.

My father installed Windows 7 on it without problem and it is running strong nearly a year later, and he would give it five stars if he could. Good, mostly-reliable (see other reviews) and basically your standard netbook. The only issue, as with all Windows computers, is it getting slower over time (and the hardware being so stripped down that it has some difficulty coping). Future versions should improve on the screen, keyboard feel and general spec/speed.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not very happy with this product!, 3 Dec 2010
By 
This review is from: Packard Bell DOT_SR.UK/010 10.1-inch Netbook (Intel Atom Processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, up to 6 Hours Battery Life, XP Home) (Electronics)
when this netbook arrived my had was very happy, i looked very good, nice build quality, easy to set up however there is a lot of bloatware that comes with the netbook took me about an hour or two to remove all of it.... after a while the laptop starts to play up for example it keeps crashing so i have to restore the device back to factory setting using alt+ f10 at boot. i did not understand why it kept crashing when my dad only uses it for the Internet no extra software installed but yeah not very good. also the hardware not that great...the left click button on the track pad has lost the click sound and feel... would not go for this product at all since my dad only uses this from time to time, not excessive matterfact i am currently restring the netbook to factory setting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Netbook, 22 April 2010
By 
Mark Windibank "MPW" (Portsmouth) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Packard Bell DOT_SR.UK/010 10.1-inch Netbook (Intel Atom Processor, 1GB RAM, 160GB Hard Drive, up to 6 Hours Battery Life, XP Home) (Electronics)
Arrived ontime and well packaged. Set up was easy, although too many pop-ups and things to register at the start. The speed is fine and does exactly what it was bought for, surfing the net and email. Looks great too. Battery life has proved good too.
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