Packard Bell Dot U Laptop


Ian

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After 5 years of my trusty old Dell X1 laptop, I've finally upgraded to something with a little more power. I've been looking for a reasonably powerful, reasonably cheap ultra-portable laptop for some time.

With family dotted all over the UK, we seem to be forever travelling around, so I've been after a light laptop to stick in a rucksack and be able to work from when we're away. I've been considering a 10" netbook, but the Atom processor isn't powerful enough for multitasking and isn't ideal for any extended period of typing.

After much googling, I decided to take a punt on the Packard Bell Dot U laptop - it's basically a slight upgrade from the Acer 1810tz - and a little cheaper. It's got a 12" screen, 3GB RAM and a Intel Pentium U5400 CPU (a cut down i3). Plenty for basic multitasking, but I'm not going to be video editing or gaming on it ;). The main selling point by far for me was that it weighs only 1.3kg - easy enough to carry around in a rucksack without noticing it.

I've not been a fan of Acer/PB in the past, so I took a bit of a risk with this one - but it was far cheaper than any alternatives in the same spec bracket (£425).

It should arrive in a few days time, so I'll post here and let you know what it's like when I get it :thumb:. It's not going to be a mainstream laptop, as it's primarily built as a cheap ultra-light machine - so if you want power there are much better buys available (and probably cheaper).

Fingers crossed :D
 
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floppybootstomp

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Bit of a pricey risk eh?

But things evolve, change, goalposts move and yesterday's bad boy can become today's wunderkid.

Always an open mind.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing what you think of it.
 

Quadophile

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Look forward to hearing the good news, will keep the fingers crossed.:thumb:

If you can spare 10GB of disk space you should install Ubuntu 10.10 on it. Its a wonderful operating system and comes in many variations to suit everyone. If you want to just surf the web at times you are better off with Linux than Windoze from security point of view. ;)
 

muckshifter

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aye, Acer own PB, but what the heck, it's usually "customer support" that lets a lot of these companies down, if something does go wrong, they are adverse to helping you.

enjoy!!



:user:
 

crazylegs

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Be interesting to see how it performs in the real world!

Battery at 6 and a half hours will probably equate to more like 4 hours normal use, looks like a good cheap lappy though so will wait for your comments Ian ..
 
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EvanDavis

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muckshifter said:
it's usually "customer support" that lets a lot of these companies down,


Aye. Get rid of Acer support and that stupid bl**dy Acer Empowering Technology that's installed on them, and there's nowt wrong with Acer. I have had a couple f Acer laptops and once the Empowering Tech software was removed they were OK. They have only been retired cause of age :D
 

Ian

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Yep, it's a bit of a risk - but the alternatives cost around £700+ and still don't get quite as light as this. I'd have to spend a lot more (over £1000) on something like a high end Sony or Dell to get close to this power/weight ratio - which isn't going to happen ;). Fingers crossed! As long as the build quality is good and it matches the specs, then I'll be happy - hopefully I won't need to get in touch with CS about anything (or I may regret it!).

Quad, I'm going to turn my old Laptop in to an Ubuntu 10.10 machine for a while and use it as a test bed. I keep dipping in and out of Linux, mainly as a Virtual Machine, so it will be interesting to see how it works on a low-powered laptop.

The PC Pro link is the one and the same laptop :). It gets the thumbs up there, so I'm hoping that it is indeed good!

As long as it does 4+ hours under normal load, I'll be happy. My current one lasts around 50 mins!

Evan, I'm going to get a clean W7 x64 install on the laptop to de-clutter all of the bundled software.
 

Quadophile

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Ian Cunningham said:
Quad, I'm going to turn my old Laptop in to an Ubuntu 10.10 machine for a while and use it as a test bed. I keep dipping in and out of Linux, mainly as a Virtual Machine, so it will be interesting to see how it works on a low-powered laptop.

When you say low powered laptop what are the actual specs on the machine like, CPU, HD and RAM to say the least.

My laptop on which I have the Ubuntu 10.10 is having 1.6GHz Pentium M processor, 40 GB HD and 2 GB RAM, it is a whole lot quicker than the other OS Windows XP I have on it. I am sure your old laptop beats mine in specs and if so you will love the Ubuntu 10.10 a lot. However, I would want you to test it out on your new machine which will actually give you the real feel of the OS.
 

Ian

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It's an old 1.1Ghz (perhaps 1.3) Pentium M, 1.5GB Ram and 30GB hard drive - but it's lasted well for 5 years :). I'll make another thread on this once I'm ready to give Ubuntu a shot :thumb:. I'm sure I'll end up dual-booting with it on the new one too, once I've had a chance to tinker.

I've just got the tracking number for the laptop delivery, so I'm hoping it will be here tomorrow :D
 

Quadophile

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Ian Cunningham said:
It's an old 1.1Ghz (perhaps 1.3) Pentium M, 1.5GB Ram and 30GB hard drive - but it's lasted well for 5 years :). I'll make another thread on this once I'm ready to give Ubuntu a shot :thumb:. I'm sure I'll end up dual-booting with it on the new one too, once I've had a chance to tinker.

I've just got the tracking number for the laptop delivery, so I'm hoping it will be here tomorrow :D

Can't wait for you to get it, as they say boys and their toys :D

On the old laptop you can have the GDM but I would suggest KDM on your new one when you get to dual boot it. GDM needs less resources compared to KDM but KDM has all the eye candy that makes it fun to use. ;)

When you create the Ubuntu 10.10 ISO you can use it to install the system and then from the Synaptic Package Manager you could just install all the files for KDM which will be kde-full, this will take care of KDM as well and you will have two choices of Desktop Managers on your new machine.
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Don't worry when you create the thread and are ready to install myself and other fellows will walk you through it if anything you need us to.
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Ian

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The laptop has just arrived and I'm performing a fresh install of Windows 7 right now. First impressions are good - the build quality is decent and it looks better than I thought it might ;).

More to follow once I've had a chance to use it :thumb: .
 

Quadophile

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Ian,

That is great news indeed! :thumb:

I will wait for you to give us your detailed analysis when you have time.
 

EvanDavis

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Ian Cunningham said:
The laptop has just arrived and I'm performing a fresh install of Windows 7 right now. First impressions are good - the build quality is decent and it looks better than I thought it might ;).

More to follow once I've had a chance to use it :thumb: .


Acer/Packard Bell have always had good build quality. Like I sadi in a previous post its just the crap that comes with them. And as you are doing a fresh install you won't have that problem. One thing I will say though, when you did your install did you leave the *recovery Partition* ?Not easy to over write even with a fresh install. But if you left it, its good, if all else fails you can recover and you warrenty is still intact :D
 

Ian

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So far so good :)

The performance is MUCH better than my old Dell X1, so I can easily multitask with a few graphics applications, Outlook and 5 x IE sessions! I've done a few benchmarks and it comes close to i3 330 performance and MUCH faster than the usual Intel Atom chips in most netbooks - but far from what you can get with the more expensive i5/i7's. I'm happy with it though... especially considering the low power requirements and cost.

The battery seems to last for just over 3 hours during heavy use (full backlight, wifi running, intensive apps, lots of disk activity), but in a few days time I'll be getting a chance to use it on the go (and I'll need to conserve batter life), so that should be an interesting test.
 
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Abarbarian

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Ian Cunningham said:
So far so good :)

The performance is MUCH better than my old Dell X1, so I can easily multitask with a few graphics applications, Outlook and 5 x IE sessions! I've done a few benchmarks and it comes close to i3 330 performance and MUCH faster than the usual Intel Atom chips in most netbooks - but far from what you can get with the more expensive i5/i7's. I'm happy with it though... especially considering the low power requirements and cost.

The battery seems to last for just over 3 hours during heavy use (full backlight, wifi running, intensive apps, lots of disk activity), but in a few days time I'll be getting a chance to use it on the go (and I'll need to conserve batter life), so that should be an interesting test.

Don't know if this will run for you but it certainly works on my XP.

http://cpu.rightmark.org/products/rmclock.shtml

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Quadophile

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A brand new battery needs conditioning, so when it has gone through a few cycles it will give its full potential. Try running it down once or twice and after that you should be OK.
 
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Ian

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Thanks for the tips guys, I'm going to set the laptop up tomorrow morning - so I'll put the battery through its paces then :).
 

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