Gateway UC7807 Notebook: Good Looking Compact: Page 2

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Aside from its weight, my biggest disappointment with the Gateway was its touchpad. Not that it doesn't work fine, because it does -- just like a square or rectangular one, with a smooth response and rocker-switch pair of buttons below (set flush with, rather than recessed from, the notebook's front edge).

But if you're going to have a round touchpad, why don't you let users twirl a finger around the circle to scroll up or down? Alas, the UC uses the same Synaptics driver bundled with scores of ordinary laptop touchpads. Count it an opportunity lost.

On a more positive note, the system doesn't miss an opportunity to satisfy touch typists -- the keyboard is full-sized (the keys' square-tiled rather than plateau-crowned design actually makes the span from A through apostrophe a quarter-inch wider than my usual desktop keyboard), with Ctrl and Delete keys holding down their proper positions in the bottom left and top right corners, respectively. Except for half-sized cursor arrows with the usual doubling up with a Fn key to deliver Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys, you'll find no compromises, but a smooth typing feel.

Also pleasing is the Gateway's screen, as long as you keep the backlight cranked up to its top or next-to-top setting (that's not a knock on Gateway; it's what I find myself saying about every conventionally cathode-backlit LCD now that brighter and whiter LED-backlit flat panels are flowing into the mainstream). The 1,280 by 800 resolution makes fine text and flashy videos alike look sharp, with clear colors.

The UC7807 gets a B for battery life. BAPCo's MobileMark 2007 productivity simulation lasted just over and our own word-processing and Web-surfing sessions lasted just under three hours, though our more disk-intensive software-installing and music- and video-playing stints regularly ended after two hours plus 15 or 20 minutes.

Fast Enough for the Daily Grind

Convenience and portability, not benchmark-blasting speed or fast-frag gaming, are the Gateway's goals. Its Intel GM45 integrated-graphics chipset and Graphics Media Accelerator 4500 display adapter are fine for killing time with World of Warcraft or Spore, but you can cross high-octane games like Crysis or Call of Duty off your list -- running at 1,024 by 768 resolution, the poor thing barely crawled at 5 frames per second in Unreal Tournament 3.

The laptop's 3DMark06 score wasn't that much more impressive at 727, and Cinebench R10's sample scene took a placid three minutes and 38 seconds to render.

But the UC7807 loaded programs and switched among applications snappily enough, and completed productivity-oriented benchmarks such as SysMark 2007 Preview without staggering (score: 93). Its CrystalMark and PCMark05 scores were 65,253 and 4,367, respectively. Windows Vista's own Experience Index rates the Gateway a 3.2 on its 5.9-point scale, with graphics proving the weakest link compared to relatively hearty hard disk, CPU, and memory subscores.

So where does that leave the UC7807? As a compact (alas, more compact in size than in weight), sharp-looking, capable traveling companion for tight budgets. It's not quite as cool as it looks, but it gets the job done.

HardwareCentral Intelligence

Gateway UC7807
Available: Now

On a 5-star scale:
Total: 11 out of 15

Previous: « A Full-Figured Compact

Article courtesy of Hardware Central.

Tags: Vista, Intel, HP, notebook reviews, gateway

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