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Packard Bell Dot U review

A slim, sleek and affordable ultra-portable that thinks it's a netbook

Our Verdict

Product features

  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Very slim, light chassis
  • Bright and super-sharp display
  • Decent performance
  • Almost five hours of battery life
  • Good software bundle

Against

  • No optical drive
  • Squashed touchpad
  • Limited graphical performance
  • Stiff hinges
  • Social Networks application limited

The Packard Bell Dot U is being marketed by the company as its latest netbook, but while it definitely shares some features with those mini machines, some of the components used here place it more in the ultra-portable laptop category.

Netbooks are currently being prodded from the spotlight by the influx of tablet devices anyway, but they still have a viable spot in the market. Their slim, light builds and extended battery life make them perfect for taking on the road. What's more, they have a physical keyboard, which currently makes them superior to tablets for typing out long documents and emails.

Of course, the compromise between netbooks and full-sized laptops is performance. Run almost exclusively by low-voltage Intel Atom processors, netbooks are good for browsing the web, working on that mid-term essay and not a lot else.

Packard bell dot u review overhead

Anyone with more demanding needs who also requires a high degree of portability will be better off looking at ultra-portable laptops instead. To be classed as ultra-portable, a laptop must weigh 2kg or less, and the Packard Bell Dot U comes well under that, weighing just 1.3kg.

Packard Bell's Dot U is similar in size and weight to the Sony VAIO VPCZ12V9E/X and Fujitsu Lifebook P770 ultra-portables, but the asking price of £450 is much less than these laptops, and more comparable to the Dell M101z.

Carry the Packard Bell Dot U around in a bag all day and you'll barely even notice it. And with a compact chassis that's just 23mm thick, you'll have no trouble fitting it in a briefcase, rucksack or even a fair-sized handbag. This laptop has definitely been designed with the regular commuter in mind.

Packard Bell has gone for a red design featuring subtle wavy lines, which cover the Dot U's lid and also the palmrest and touchpad inside. We think it's a smart and appealing look, and helps to brighten up what could easily have been a boring all-black design.

Packard bell dot u review keyboard

More importantly, the chassis is solidly built. We couldn't find any weak spots that flexed under pressure, with even the lid proving suitably firm for life on the road. We can confidently say the Packard Bell Dot U can take a few knocks and brush them off.

Our only concern surrounded the hinges that attach the lid to the chassis. These proved a little stiff, occasionally sticking when we opened or closed the lid and meaning we had to push or pull a little harder. It's not a big problem, but it does cheapen the Dot U's design somewhat.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNetbook
Hard Drive Capacity250 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product Familydot dot u
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelU5400
ColourRed
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NamePackard Bell
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Processor TypePentium
Screen Size29.5 cm (11.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Standard Memory3 GB
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM55 Express
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Memory StandardDDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Seriesdot u
ManufacturerAcer, Inc
Product ModelDOTU-U543G25nrk
Product NameDOTU-U543G25nrk Netbook
Product Linedot
Manufacturer Part NumberLX.BK002.003
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.acer.co.uk
Marketing Information

Two flashy options on the cover and on the palm rest. Cashmere Red and Silk Silver. let you express the colour that suits you best. The cover features a unique wave pattern that enhances visual richness and adds a soft, warm touch. The matte finish prevents fingerprint smudging and protects the cover from scratches. Smaller than a magazine and just as easy to carry, the dot u is less than 1 inch thin, making it easy to grip, maneuver and store. A comfortable palm rest features rounded edges and smooth comfort for the hands and a full size keyboard enables accurate typing. The renowned multi gesture touchpad is perfect for scrolling, rotating images, zooming and browsing, all with mouse less, fingertip convenience.

Package Contents
  • DOTU-U543G25nrk Netbook
  • Standard Battery
  • AC Adapter