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"We don't ask our designers to smoke grass and come up with crazy ideas," Packard Bell marketing director Hugues Gontier told us this afternoon. Moments later, the company unveiled an AMD-powered netbook running Windows Vista Home Premium.

Incredible, yes. But true. The new Packard Bell 'dot m' is an unusual 11.6-inch netbook, which will be released in two flavours: one with an Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM and Windows XP, and one with a less-powerful AMD chip, but 2GB of RAM and Windows Vista.

One of the biggest problems we have with netbooks is small keyboards. The dot m's isn't full-size, but it's close, and reaches the edges of the chassis to make full use of the space available. When fingering it, CNET UK's hater of all netbooks -- better known as Nate Lanxon, or yours truly -- even admitted "It's not bad," which is as close to a compliment as you're ever going to hear.

The trackpad supports multitouch gestures, too -- something Packard Bell VP Emmanuel Fromont told us with a grin are "a bit like the famous iPhone". No shizzle, Sherlizzle.

Other features include a 160GB hard drive, an optional 3G card slot (PB is "discussing" deals with UK mobile phone operators), Wi-Fi, a webcam, a true 16:9 aspect ratio display and a five-in-one card reader. It'll also come with a full version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, which is a pretty decent deal, considering it's a £50 snag on its own.

It'll be on sale in June from £349, by which time we hope to have a full review for you. More photos over the page until then.

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Keys are large and comfortable to type on. For once.
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The trackpad. Also notice the pockmarked finish on the chassis.
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Eek! Gloss! No outdoor summer computing for you, netbook customer.
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Ports along the right-hand side.
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Closed up.
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