Many will recall the Gateway brand and its striking black-and-white 'cowhide' logo. The company relaunched in the UK in February this year with a portfolio that will include notebooks, desktops, servers and LCD monitors.
Gateway's parent company (since October 2007) is Acer, which now has four brands under its belt — Acer itself, Gateway, Packard Bell and eMachines. Although it flirted with consumer electronics in the past, Gateway is now firmly focused on the business market.
When Gateway announced three notebooks for the UK, we asked for, and received, a review sample. But a vital piece of information for any review — the price — was not forthcoming.
Kevin O'Donoghue, Product Business Manager for Gateway's EMEA division, explained why: "The value of the dealer services to his end customer is not something Gateway can, or will define. Therefore, in respect of this, we have no List Price."
The model we had intended to review, the NO20, is a 12.1in. ultraportable with a 1,280-by-800-pixel LED-backlit screen. The NO20 measures 30.6cm wide by 22.7cm deep by 2.75-3.49cm thick, and weighs 1.95kg with a 6-cell battery, or 2.1kg with the 9-cell option. Battery life is rated as 4.5 hours or 7 hours, depending on which battery you choose.
There's a variety of available configurations, with no less than six processor choices, and hard drives ranging from 120GB to 500GB. Disappointingly for an ultraportable, none of the variants include mobile broadband, although Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 are integrated.
The larger 15.4in. NO50 also eschews mobile broadband, although it does include WiMAX support along with Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0. Frankly, we'd rather have mobile broadband. The NO50's screen comes in WXGA (1,280 by 800) or WSXGA+ (1,680 by 1,050) resolutions.
The NO50 is a sizeable notebook measuring 36cm wide by 26.7cm deep by 3.4-3.65cm thick and weighing 2.9kg with a 6-cell battery and an optical drive. The weight rises to 3kg with a 9-cell battery and optical drive, and 3.1kg with a 9-cell battery and a 6-cell battery replacing the optical drive.
Battery life claims range from 3 hours with the 4,400mAh 6-cell battery to 7.5h with the 4,800mAh 9-cell battery and the 6-cell unit in the modular bay in place of the optical drive.
Again there's a wide choice of processors — no fewer than eight this time, maxing out at a 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo T9600. The hard drive is configurable between 120GB and 500GB. As with the NO20 model, there's no solid-state drive (SSD) option.
Gateway's 'Office' series notebooks come with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security chip and a fingerprint reader, plus DDR3 memory.
The third Gateway notebook, the NS50 is another 15.4in. WXGA (1,280 by 800) model — this time in the 'Standard' series that omits the TPM chip and uses DDR2 rather than DDR3 memory. Eight processors and hard drives up to 500GB are available, along with 6-cell (2.5h) and 8-cell (5h) battery packs.