It's the biggest screen possible that impresses when comparing home theater setups, but it's the 13.3-inch display size that seems a favorite of manufacturers building ultra-slim, status-symbol notebooks. There are the Apple MacBook Air and HP Voodoo Envy 133 at $1,799 apiece; the Lenovo ThinkPad X301 at $2,029; the new Dell Adamo (technically a 13.4-inch diagonal due to its 16:9 aspect ratio) at $1,999. And now there's the Gateway UC7807, a sleekly styled 13.3-incher priced at ... $800. That can't be right, you say? OK. It's $690 at Amazon.com and J&R.
As you can guess, Gateway positions its first 13.3-inch notebook as a good-looking compact for travelers who can't afford to pay the luxury tax. The "good-looking" part is certainly true: While what Gateway calls its "glossy moonstone" lid collects plenty of fingerprints, opening the notebook reveals a handsome brushed-metal body with an eye-catching circular touchpad, red-backlit multimedia controls (play/pause, stop, next/previous, and a volume slider), and shiny cylindrical hinge, the left end of which serves as the on/off button.
What keeps the Gateway from membership in the Envy and Adamo club is that it isn't slim -- while the abovementioned machines tip the scales at just three or at most four pounds each, the UC7807 weighs more like a 14.1- if not 15.4-inch laptop at 5.3 pounds (the AC adapter brings its travel weight just past the six-pound mark).
At 9.4 by 12.6 by 1.5 inches, it won't hog your entire briefcase, and it's not too unwieldy to pass the pick-it-up-with-one-hand-while-open test. But it's more of a competitor to mainstream machines like the Dell XPS 1330 -- and even that 13.3-inch portable is more than a pound lighter -- than it is Gateway's answer to the MacBook Air.
You also get a 250GB Hitachi hard drive and a nifty slot-loading Optiarc DVD±RW drive. The latter shares the system's right side with two USB 2.0 ports. A third USB port is at the left, along with microphone, headphone, and Ethernet jacks and both VGA and HDMI video outputs for driving an old monitor or modern HDTV set, respectively.
The 13.3-inch LCD's native resolution is 1,280 by 800 pixels. There's a 1.3-megapixel webcam above the screen and an SD/MMC/Memory Stick flash-card slot below the system's front edge. Intel's 802.11a/g/draft-n wireless adapter is standard, but Bluetooth is absent.
|Next page: the touchpad|