Packard Bell's Dot S netbook really impressed us, with a great set of features and some truly impressive portability. The Dot SE is another excellent and very well-priced option for regular travellers, with a strong battery life and great design.

With its bright red chassis, this is a colourful and attractive netbook that stands out, along with the Acer Aspire One 522. It's also reassuringly solid enough to soak up any bumps on the road, while the firm hinges allow the lid to be tilted back almost 180 degrees.

Viewing angles are decent and the display is just as bright and colourful but the glossy Super-TFT coating is reflective in bright light, so the Packard Bell is best used in your home or office.

The keyboard is completely flat with no real key definition. This may put off anyone who struggles with touch-typing, but we found we reached an impressive speed when bashing out pages of text.

Packard bell dot se

The keys are well sized as the board stretches the width of the chassis, but the gaps between them let in crumbs and other debris.

Usability is further boosted by a smooth and responsive touchpad, which makes the most of the limited space it has. A marked section along the right edge of the touchpad allows quick and easy scrolling through websites and documents, while a firm bar beneath can be used to left and right-click.

Performance is standard for a netbook, with an Intel Atom N550 processor on board. The integrated graphics are also limiting, so once more you're restricted to running simple office applications and watching low-definition video.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 524 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 70
3DMark 2003: 672

Impressive portability

While battery life doesn't quite match the jaw-dropping ten hours of the Toshiba NB520-108, we still wrung 524 minutes of productivity from the Packard Bell. This is a great result and enough to keep you going all day away from home or the office.

With a weight of just 1.2kg and a thickness of 31mm, this machine won't make much of a dent in your bag.

Storage matches the other netbooks here, with 250GB of space for your files and applications.

Ports are standard, while 802.11n Wi-Fi and 10/100 Ethernet provide ample options for connecting to the internet.

We enjoyed our time with the Dot SE/R-710UK, which provides a highly portable and usable method of accessing your office applications on the move. The colourful design and bright screen are further highlights, and the low price a welcome bonus.

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