With the latest iteration of its ID47 notebook, Gateway kept everything we liked about the previous version--an aluminum alloy chassis, an utra-thin bezel, and USB 3.0--and bumped the specs. You now get a faster processor and Intel's Wireless Display technology but at the same reasonable price of $699. Is this the 14-inch system for you?
Editor's note: Portions of this review were taken from our previous review of the Gateway ID47H02u.
Sporting a brushed aluminum-alloy lid and deck, metallic-colored keys, and a slick dark blue-tinted touchpad, the Gateway ID47H07u oozes style. Even the matte-black bottom and sides have a smooth surface, with a minimum of extraneous holes and grooves. The 0.2-inch black bezel surrounding the screen not only fits a 14-inch display in the same space normally reserved for a 13-inch panel, but it also adds a unique design flair.
Thanks to its thin bezel, the 13 x 9 x 1.1-inch Gateway ID47H07u is about half an inch shorter than many other 14-inch notebooks, such as the Dell Inspiron 14z (13.6 x 9.7 x 0.9 inches) and the 13.4 x 9.2 x 1.2-inch Lenovo IdeaPad V470. At 4.4 pounds, the ID47H07u is a hair lighter than the Inspiron 14z and the V470, both of which weigh 4.6 pounds. The HP Pavilion dm4t is a little thicker, but it has the same weight and depth, at 13.4 x 9 x 1.3 inches and 4.4 pounds.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The island-style keyboard on the ID47 provided reasonable tactile feedback, good key placement, and a comfortable deck. However, the keyboard did show a small amount of flex, particularly when we pressed down on the G and H keys. We do appreciate that the function keys are reversed so you can adjust the brightness and activate media controls without using combos.
The fairly large 3.9 x 2.3-inch Synaptics ClickPad has a slick, glossy surface with a unique blue color. Navigating the desktop wasn't difficult, but the touchpad picks up fingerprints easily and creates a little more friction that we'd prefer. Multitouch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom worked, but weren't as smooth as we would like. Those who use the touchpad with two fingers will experience some jerkiness. You can also scroll with two fingers and use a four-finger swipe down to show the desktop at any time.
The Gateway ID47H07u stayed pleasantly cool throughout our testing. After streaming a video for 15 minutes at full screen, we measured the touchpad at 82 degrees, the keyboard at 80 degrees, and the bottom at a chilly 81 degrees Fahrenheit. We consider temperatures below 95 degrees comfortable.
Display and Audio
The Gateway ID47H07u's 14.1-inch, 1366 x 768 glossy screen provided sharp, rich images. When we tried watching both a 1080p QuickTime trailer for Immortals and a 1080p YouTube trailer for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, images were crisp and motion was smooth, but colors inverted at even 45 degree angles. Dark areas also showed a high amount of backlight bleed.
Using an AEMC lightmeter, we measured the brightness of the screen, which averaged 153 lux. That's better than the Lenovo V470 (144 lux), but not as good as the Inspiron 14z (194 lux).
The stereo speakers, located on the bottom of the Gateway ID47H07u, provided accurate audio that was loud enough to fill a room. When we streamed it from Pandora, Maroon 5's "Wake Up Call" was rich and clear without any distortion. We could really hear the twang of Eric Clapton's guitar strums in "Lay Down Sally," and there was nice separation of instruments, too. The Dolby Home Theater v.4 software makes a huge difference, as all songs were flat when we toggled the application off.
Built in to the ID47 now is Intel's Wireless Display technology, which lets users stream content wirelessly from the notebook to a larger display, provided you have a receiver such as the $99 Netgear Push2TV HDTV adapter. Unfortunately, you will have to purchase this separately.
Ports and Webcam
The Gateway ID47H07u has a generous selection of ports, including one USB 3.0 connector that allows you to connect high-speed external hard drives and docking stations. The right side of the laptop houses an Ethernet port, a Kensington Lock slot, and that speedy USB 3.0 port. A VGA port, HDMI, audio in/out, and two more USB ports line the left side. The front lip sports a 5-in-1 card reader.
The 720p webcam provided sharp and colorful images when used near a light source, but it suffered from a lot of visual noise when we used the cam in a dark area of our living room. When we were talking on Skype in a dim area with a light source behind us, fine details of our face were visible, though shadowed.
With its 2.4-GHz Core i5-2430M CPU, 4GB of RAM, Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics, and a 5,400-rpm, 500GB hard drive, the Gateway ID47H07u provides strong performance that's good enough for demanding tasks.
On PCMark07, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance, the ID47H07u scored a strong 2,342, slightly above the 2,171 thin-and-light notebook category average (and the same score as the older ID47). The new ID47 was also predictably faster than the Core i3-powered HP Pavilion dm4t (1,869) and the IdeaPad V470 (1,821). However, the Dell Inspiron 14z we tested with a 2.3-GHz Core i5 CPU notched a higher 2,562.
The 500GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive booted into Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) in 1 minute and 4 seconds, almost dead even with the 65-second category average. The drive took a 2 minutes and 58 seconds to complete the LAPTOP File Transfer Test, which involves copying 4.97GB of mixed-media files. That's a rate of 28.6 MBps, a little above the 26 MBps category average and the 24 MBps provided by the HP Pavilion dm4t. However, the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s' 7,200-rpm drive notched a speed of 31.6 MBps.
On the OpenOffice Spreadsheet test, the ID47H07u took 5 minutes and 27 seconds to match 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses, which is 1 second faster than the Inspiron 14z (5:28), about 40 seconds faster than the category average (6:10), and much faster than the V470, which took 7:51.
Don't expect to do any serious 3D gaming with the Gateway ID47H07u's integrated Intel HD 3000 chip. On 3DMark06, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall graphics prowess, the notebook scored a modest 4,176. That's slightly below the category average (4,370) and well behind the Dell Inspiron 14z (4,579). Still, the Gateway was better than the HP dm4t's score of 3,466.
On autodetect settings, the ID47H07u managed 36 frames per second in World of Warcraft, which is playable but half the 74 fps category average. However, when we turned the settings up to maximum, that rate dropped to an unplayable 13 fps, half the 29 fps category average.
The Gateway ID47H07u packs enough juice to last just about all day. On the LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi, the ID47H07u lasted a strong 7 hours and 48 minutes, 40 minutes longer than the ID47H02u, and more than 2 hours longer than the thin-and-light notebook category average of 5:32. The Pavilion dm4t managed a time of 7:02, while the Inspiron 14z lasted 6:18, and the V470 lasted 4:56.
Our review configuration, the ID47H07u, costs $699. For that price, you get the 2.3-GHz Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive. For $629, you can get the ID47H06u, which has a 2.2-GHz Core i3-2330M CPU, a 500GB hard drive, and 4GB of RAM.
Gateway bundles the ID47H07u with a standard array of utilities, including Acer Video Web Camera for capturing stills and video, Gateway Recovery management for creating a restore disc, and Gateway MyBackup for backing up files and even imaging the whole system. Gateway Games is a portal that lets you purchase and download a wide variety of free and paid casual games.
A Social Networks app launches automatically when you hit the social networking button that sits to the right of the backspace key. The app shows the latest updates from your FaceBook, Flickr, and YouTube feeds and allows you to post Facebook updates. We like that you can add your favorite contacts on the Friends tab in this software, and that there's a separate tab just for photos. However, there's no support for Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other popular social networks.
Other apps include Barnes & Noble's Nook for PC, Aupeo (a Pandora-like music app), and Nero Multimedia Suite 10 Essentials (pictured above).
Support and Warranty
The updates to the Gateway ID47H07u made a good notebook even better. This classy 14-inch system has even more power and endurance than before, and its Dolby-powered speakers are also top-notch. However, the glossy touchpad isn't for everyone. We prefer the HP dm4t, which has a better touchpad, fingerprint reader, and a larger hard drive for $50 less. But if you want Core i5 power, all-day endurance, and a sleek design at a reasonable price, this Gateway laptop is a good deal.