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I bought this netbook because I was looking for a travel companion. Small and of relatively good spec I thought it would do the trick.
I have a problem with tablets and a particular software I use, tablets simply don't support it. Because this unit still works like a PC (in that it has windows) it did the trick for this particular requirement.
So about the product:
Build - its ok...the joints of the screen seem a little flimsy I worry that my heavy handedness will one day break it, but to press they have lasted! The unit other than this is sturdy, very little flex in the chassis. The keyboard is a mini type but is tactile, keys showing some shining after six months use. The mouse pad is good with a tactile click action that does not disappoint.
Speed - surprisingly fast! I render NEF images (negative digital image files) and it can keep up. I take the unit to the photography site with me to check what the images are like, it is lacking in memory however, I noticed a vast speed increase once I gave windows some more RAM to use. The chip has all the power saving features you would expect, it increases performance when demanded and saves battery life when idle
Battery life - talking about battery life, its GREAT! Seriously I can get days out of this thing with intermittent usage. My last trip saw me through 3 days with several internet cafe sessions. All in all I am getting about 4 hours life if not more in some instances.
Screen - Here is where it suffers! The resolution is low, you might expect small resolution because it's a small unit but others out there ARE topping the 600px that this has on its smallest edge. Width wise it does the job for internet pages but I find myself using the F11 (no window) browsing feature to try and squeeze all I can out of those 600px. Its bright however, crisp and renders the images in good color when matched to prints. Contrasty with depth of blacks and whites. The only adjustment however is brightness, you cannot change much else hardware wise. If you wanted to, you would have to turn to software to do this in windows.
Weight - its SO light! Seriously it's not much more than an IPAD in terms of weight.
Connectivity - packed with all the connectivity you need for a travel/compact unit, SD slot, USB, VGA network, WIFI. It would benefit from an HDMI out but sadly it missed the boat on that one!
Software - Other than the Packard bell stuff that is loaded that is of no use to me in reality (update software, social tools etc..) the only notable point is that windows 7 is poor! Simply put its not up to scratch, no desktop wallpaper change ability, no user switch, no remote connectivity. It just drops the hat in all respects. I ended up upgrading for a small fee to get Windows 7 full version. I ask what the point of installing this mini OS is....none that I can think of!
All in all this unit is a good carry round unit, with good battery life and good range of connectivity I rarely find myself stuck when out and about with this mini unit. It's fast enough to do normal day to day work on, and I turn to it when the tablet just cannot do what a PC does. Here is this unit's selling point in fact...it's a great option for when you need a PC on the go. With a decent sized hard disk it helps my on the move productivity.
Alternatives? Lets be honest if you had the cash an ultrabook would be the minicomputer of choice, but all in all this unit can keep up to the user and for the price offers a very attractive alternative at a superb price point!
Please keep in mind that this is a review from a computer user who is proficient using computers yet, although not a technophone at all, not hugely technically minded. So this is from that point of view.
You may be able to tell from the title of this review that I am pretty happy with my Packard Bell Netbook.
To be honest, when I bought it I thought Packard Bell had something to do with Hewlett Packard.
Apparently this is a common misconception. My more technical-minded friends sucked in their breath and told me my choice hadn't been very wise. Yet I have been very pleased with it. So pleased I even gave it a name: Ruby, and she is a good girl.
I have found it a blessing for when I have been travelling, as it is both compact and light. I have even sometimes been on Skype talking to someone and have had to answer the door, so I have simply balanced it on my inner forearm holding onto the battery area and walked to the door with it.
That is how light and easy it is.
I find it very easy to type on. Some think the screen is a bit small yet I find it find and have watched films, TV shows, and Youtube videos on it fine.
A down side is not having a CD/DVD drive. I am intending to get an external one of these as well as an external hard drive. I wish they made a combo of these so that I could just buy one unit instead of two.
The soundcard is a really good one on mine. If listening to music or to talking to someone on Skype and using a headset, the quality of sound is extremely good. Listening via the in-built speakers is not so good though and a bit tinny.
I haven't come anywhere near using up all the space, but then I don't download a large amount of film or music. Mine has the Starter 7 platform.
A bit of an annoyance is that this version 'thinks' a little too much for me, deciding how I want to do and put things. It also took me a while to get used to the features in Word. After over twenty years experience in word processing it isn't very nice to feel like a novice because you can't find anything!
Another great feature is OneNote which seemed to come already loaded onto my computer. I find this brilliant, with no need to save and you can paste in stuff from websites and it loads the info about the site on also. It is very easy to use and most useful.
I did have a bit of a problem getting a replacement battery. I checked on Packard Bell's website and was unable to see a battery for my particular model and when I wrote in I found the customer service a bit lacking. In the end I lodged a complaint and finally got some assistance and satisfaction. Yet this was following an extremely frustrating period.
Yet the machine itself is brilliant and I do recommend it.
The netbook is flawed in many ways, but that is only when comparing it to a laptop or desktop equivalent. It won't play HD video, it won't render images or movies at any speed, and it won't be of any use for intensive tasks. BUT you don't buy a netbook for that sort of thing, and I can honestly say that my little red Dot S has performed just how I would have wanted it too, and I cannot complain about its reliability and quality when it has been needed.
The windows 7 starter edition installed on the computer is limited, you can't even change the pre-installed default background, but it does the job. It has the useful user interface improvements without taking too much performance out of the limited specifications.
The keyboard is easy to use, the webcam works nicely, the battery life is good and it can just about run 2 or 3 programs at once.
Don't buy if you are looking for a powerhouse capable of playing games or anything more taxing, but do not hesitate if you want a reliable machine (it has never broken down for me) which can easily run word processing, emails and internet browsing, whilst having the benefits of a multimedia player built in.
Since there release i have not really been a big fan of netbooks, i was a bit skeptical as to me they just seemed like a smaller lower specification version of laptop, which when simply looked at, they are. However this netbook i personally found performed well in comparison to what i expected, initial thoughts were that Windows 7 on such a low specced device could only be a stupid idea, however it's utilised quite well and runs smoothly. The windows 7 helps navigate the system easily and smoothly. The netbook itself boasts all the qualities you'd expect anyway for a basic laptop but in half the size, the ridiculously light weight and compactness of the device makes it a perfect device for any business user as it can easily be carried around when travelling places. It also has the capability of running high end software that may be necessary and vital for someone. The only drawbacks i found with this netbook is the obvious, the size. Although if you're purchasing a netbook you're probably doing so for the size it did annoy me and i had to become acustomed to it as i did struggle fitting my huge fingers onto it's nimble keys without knocking others. A good netbook that's well worth the money if you ask me.
I only use a computer when I really have to and hate over complicated computers and laptops, so this was a perfect choice for me.
It doesnt have a very big memory compared to other larger laptops so if you're looking for somewhere to store lots of files then I recommend you buy an external hard drive or a normal sized laptop. I mainly use this laptop for university to work so generally only keep a few essays on here at a time so I have not found this to be a problem. I have found that when I have a few tabs open at a time, the internet is not as fast as when I am only trying to view one web page at a time. This is paticularly a problem when I am trying to listen to music online, so I tend to avoid doing so.
The size and weight of this laptop is one of the main reasons I bought it. It is small enough to fit in my bag amoung my other belongings and also light enough to do so. As a result it is very ideal for students.
When fully charged the battery lasts around 7 hours, a little less if you run alot of programs at once, which just long enough to last a normal days work!
One of the major issues I found was that due to the version of Windows 7 already installed onto it, I cannot change the desktop background or the screen saver, which would be a nice touch to personalise my laptop. I think to be able to do this I have to upgrade the Windows 7, but I have to pay to do so.
The pro's of this product definately outweigh the cons!