- User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Use:
Quality of Tech Support:
Pros:Big Screen, Fast, Ability to Remove and Replace Parts
Cons:Touchpad seems quirky, a little heavier than I would like
I purchased this product on September 13th, 2000 and upgraded to 128 megs of RAM and a 10 gig hard drive. That drove the price up to a bit over $2600 with the carrying case ($49.00) and the 3 year extended warrantee ($79.00).
The pros: The screen is HUGE! It is 14.1" and looks beautiful. The colors are sharp and vivid and photos and websites look perfect. The processor is a 650 mhz which is faster than my desktop and, other than a few problems I had on the web, it is very efficient and very fast. It weighs a bit over 5 pounds which is lighter than many but not as light as I would have liked. However, the unit is made for functionality not portability although it certainly is easy to travel with.
It came preloaded with Microsoft Millennium ME and Works (Microsoft Office is $129 extra) as well as Norton Utilities and virus scan and a few other small programs.
For the casual user or one who is not into downloading graphics or other large applications, the standard 6 gig HD is fine. For me, because I use this computer to do my website and I have many photos and graphics to work with, the 10 gig made more sense and for an extra $79.00, was well worth it.
You can hot swap the floppy and CD, meaning you can swap them while the machine is running and that is a big plus if you are in need of switching in mid program.
All the important parts of this unit are removable: Hard Drive, CD, Floppy Drive, so that if you want to upgrade, get something fixed, etc., you don't have to send the whole unit in. That is a BIG plus and I highly suggest looking for laptops with with this feature. I have an HP Thinkpad laptop with a fixed hard drive and that means if I want to enlarge it or if, God forbid, it crashes, I am in trouble. With the Gateway, I simply remove the hard drive and send it away and they replace it.
Having said all that, I am not really thrilled with the touchpad mouse. I may be simply used to the "red button" mouse on my Thinkpad but I am having trouble getting used to the touchpad. I find it a bit quirky and I find myself tapping like crazy on the touchpad to place the curser in applications, usually on the net. You can, however, configure the touchpad to have "hot spots" with certain areas tapped configured to exactly what you want. There are a million functions and ways to configure the touchpad and I am experimenting with them but I still feel that the touchpad is quirky.
I had a few instances while online of locking up and simply not being able to turn off the machine no matter what I did. This was and is worrisome. Locking up online is nothing new but the inability to turn off the machine or cntl , alt, dlt out was cause for concern. I also had several instances where the touchpad detected another pointing device and stopped working when, in fact, there was no other mouse attached.
All in all, however, this gray and black laptop is a beautiful machine with a nice keyboard and good sound. It has several good features as described above and seems to be stable, except for the few touchpad problems I encountered and I feel that is more a getting to know the machine process than an actual problem.
The speed is great, the screen is beautiful, and I am keeping the machine and going through Gateway's support personnel for the problem of locking up. (I believe this is entirely due to my ISP and not the machine but I need a way to get off line when that happens and nothing I did worked!).
If you can get used to the touchpad and you don't mind a machine that is a bit heavier than the new ultra slim (This is about 3 inches thick), ultra light notebooks, this machine will work for you.
I know from prior experience that Gateway has great customer service, something that is very important when dealing with any computer and they have been helpful thus far with this one. I feel the price was a good one, not a bargain, but the unit is worth the price and it seems very durable, something I definitely need with my hectic pace and travel schedule.
I would recommend this machine to anyone who wants to have a functional laptop with expandable features and good quality all around. Just don't get frustrated trying to get used to the touchpad if you never used one before. If all else fails, there is the option to plug in an external mouse but I refuse to do that. I WILL master the taps and touches that are part of the touchpad mouse. I know I am just getting used to a new type of pointer and once I get over that hurdle, I will be zipping around like a pro once again.
Gateway is the way to go...if only for the quality and reputation it has and for their superior customer service.
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Amount Paid (US$): 2600
Operating System: Windows
Processor: Intel Pentium III
Processor speed: 601-700
Screen Size: 14"
Internal Storage: CD-ROM
Hard Drive (GB): 9-12