Their name has been dragged through the mud for many years (and arguably they deserved it), but even before they were acquired by Acer in late 2007, Gateway had started back building machines that were worth owning again. After years of selling low end junk that was closer to the eMachines brand they acquired than to their powerhouse machines of the 90’s, Gateway started selling some good machines again.
I have always had good luck with Gateway computers when I have owned them, and decided to give them another try when I found the NV5922u. Priced under $650 in most locations, I picked my up for $629 at TigerDirect.com, which I thought was an excellent price for a machine of this caliber.
For that price it boasts an Intel Core i3-330M 2.13GHz processor, has 4GB of DDR3 memory, a slightly stingy 320GB Hard Drive, a 15.6 widescreen (16:9) display, and comes with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. More surprisingly (to me) it also has an HDMI port, so you can hook this baby up to your flatscreen and watch Streaming videos on that big screen sitting in the living room rather than on a laptop monitor.
This machine is in a word… fast. I rarely, if every have to wait for anything, no matter how many apps or Browser tabs I have open. The multi-touch track pad is a nice little toy that is available on most if not all Gateway (and probably Acer) laptops. I like it for the novelty factor, but actually found it annoying in day to day use, and turned off the multi-touch features.
The display is crisp and sharp. The keys are responsive, the webcam is serviceable but certainly nothing to write home about. It support 802.11 b/g/n so it will work with just about any wireless router out there right now. Battery life is decent. I haven’t gotten the 4 hours 30 minutes claimed, but that isn’t really surprising, I have gotten over 3 hours use in conferences and such when I am constantly typing and note taking, but not much streessing in the way of video to get that much life.
As I mentioned the keys are quite responsive. They are quiet and soft, but not too mushy to touch. However, the keys are very large, and thus very close together with virtually no “fall off” area between keys. This has made for a very needed adjustment period in getting used to this keyboard.
Since it uses Intel’s GMA integrated graphics, one thing this machine is not is a “gaming rig.” But the graphics are good enough for the vast majority of people out there, just not the hardcore gamer types. It also ships with some crapware (Office 2007 Trial Edition, Norton Anti-Virus trial, and some games), but it is far less than you find on some laptops these days. So yes, you may need to uninstall a few items, but it is not an all day affair with of junk.
If you are looking for a decent mid-range machine, that can play some games, handle with web with ease while muti-tasking that post you are trying to write and listen to Pandora, this machine can handle it quite easily. And for a machine this powerful for under $650, it definitely is worth a look.