I recently purchased a new laptop, another Gateway because it was within my budget. I have a love/hate relationship with Gateway but keep coming back because they pack the features I want into a price I can afford. My latest purchase is an ID49C for CDN$349 at Best Buy in Vancouver.
What first attracted me to this model was the aluminum lid .. shiny object syndrome. I’m not sure why pc makers can’t make their hardware as pretty as Apple does. This at least, is a step above boring. It’s 14” screen and light weight make it perfect as my mobile office. It fits into my compact Blurr notebook bag and leaves room for a few essentials including the power cord if I’m going to be gone past a couple of hours.
While I’m away from my home office everything is done in the cloud, so there’s very little software installed; Windows Live Writer, Market Samurai, CA Security Centre, Dropbox, Chrome, Firefox and a few plugins for each of the browsers. I use Google Apps, so there’s very little of the 640GB hard drive used. I run a fully patched version of Windows Home Premium x64 with automatic updates turned on. When I’m in my office the laptop is on the network, so Microsoft doesn’t try to install 14 updates in a coffee shop 5 minutes before a presentation. I have Microsoft Security Essentials, CA Security Centre, https anywhere and WOT plugins for my browsers installed for security. I don’t store any data on the laptop, so there’s no need for encryption.
The Processor is a Intel Pentium P6100; nothing to get excited about, but more than adequate for browsing, retrieving emails, writing blog posts and making presentations. It has 4GB of DDR3 memory, a 1.3 mp webcam, 640GB HDD, DVD Super Multi DL Drive and a 14” 16:9 HD LED LCD display. 5 USB ports, an HDMI and VGA port allow you to connect to almost anything you’d want.
After the aluminum lid, I noticed the backlight track pad and the tactile keyboard. The keyboard is one of the best I’ve encountered on a laptop, but my friend thought it was spongy and weird. I’d recommend you give the keyboard a try in the store, you’re either going to like it or not. I like the placement of the keys on the side, it took me very little time to reach instinctively for the end and delete keys for instance and I’m not continually turning on the CAPS LOCK. This is the first track pad I’ve been comfortable with and the backlight feature is cool, but other than an indication that it’s working I’m not sure it’s function.
The only indication this is a budget notebook is battery life. Fully charged it’s a little over 4 hours and the power management system works well on Balanced. If you’re using the system non-stop, there’s unpredictable behaviour with about an hour of battery life left. You can loose your wireless connection and the display dims at odd times. This is the only downside of this system and I’ve learned to carry the power cord with me if I’ll be out for the day. A small price to pay for an affordable attractive mobile laptop for the small business owner who has another system in the home office.
I’ll give this system a 4.5 stars out of 5.
What do you look for when you buy a mobile laptop? Have you embraced living in the cloud yet? There are at least two manufacturers who are delivering a system that uses the cloud for everything except to boot and load a browser. I’m not quite there yet but the ID49 is the closest I’ve come.