One of the first business notebooks based on Intel's next-generation Santa Rosa platform, Gateway's E-265M delivers dual-core goodness in an understated yet stylish package. While it's missing the option for built-in mobile broadband connectivity, the system's above-average performance, combined with lots of battery options and security features, make the E-265M a good choice for mobile professionals.
Weighing in at 5.8 pounds and measuring 1.3 inches thick, the E-265M is supported by a magnesium-alloy frame and housed in a sturdy black case offset by a slice of silver trim bordering all four sides. (View our photo gallery.) Under the lid is a brightly lit 14.1-inch screen with a 1280 x 800-pixel resolution and a high-gloss coating that produces sharp, vivid colors. Unfortunately, the coating causes a mirror-like reflection that can be annoying under certain lighting conditions, particularly in semi-bright daylight. The widescreen display, however, provides a wide viewing angle with very little color loss when viewed from the sides.
The full-sized keyboard felt responsive and comfortable, as did the touchpad, and a fingerprint reader rests between the left and right mouse buttons. Positioned above the keyboard is a set of blue LED hard-drive and wireless-activity indicators and a programmable launch button that takes you directly into Windows Control Panel by default. The front bezel contains a set of mediocre speakers, AC and battery-power LEDs, a Wi-Fi switch, and headphone and microphone jacks.
All four USB ports and a FireWire port are conveniently located on the sides of the unit where they're easy to reach. This system also includes a 7-in-1 card reader, PC Card slots, a VGA port, Ethernet and modem connections, and a SuperMulti DVD recordable drive. Only the S-Video port and power jack are rear mounted.
Under the hood, the E-265M is well equipped. Powered by Intel's new 2.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 processor (with an 800-MHz front-side bus), 2GB of DDR2 memory, and a speedy 7,200-rpm 100GB SATA hard drive, the E-265M turned in an impressive MobileMark 2005 score of 248. The ATI Mobility Radeon X2300 graphics solution with 256MB of video memory managed a 3DMark03 score of 3,853, which is good enough for 3D gaming at lower resolutions but not quite up to par for the hardcore crowd. Wireless throughput was quite good (16.3 Mbps) from a distance of 50 feet, and the embedded Wi-Fi adapter supports the draft spec of 802.11n.
The system ships with a six-cell lithium-ion battery that lasted a respectable 3 hours and 44 minutes with Wi-Fi enabled. If you want more endurance, you can purchase an 8-cell ($20) or 12-cell battery ($60) for the long haul, which should increase your runtime to about five hours and seven hours, respectively. Springing for the six-cell modular battery, which can be swapped in for the DVD drive ($109), to combine with the 12-cell will bring your overall runtime to more than 10 hours.
IT administrators will appreciate that the E-265M shares a common platform image and components with its slightly larger sibling, the E-475M. As a result, IT departments can streamline and reduce their inventories, as both lines use the same hard drives, batteries, and optical drives. They also share a common docking station, which adds DVI video and S/PDIF audio, serial and parallel ports, and a PS/2 keyboard and mouse support.
In addition to the fingerprint reader, the E-265M features an integrated Smart Card and TPM (Trusted Platform Module) hardware. You can beef up security with an optional Computrace Complete theft recovery service from Absolute Software and opt for a clip-on privacy screen to shield what's up on your display from nosy neighbors.
Our test system came with Windows XP Professional, but Vista Business and Ultimate are also available. Gateway protects the E-265M with a three-year warranty covering parts and labor, but onsite service isn't included.
Its impressive performance and business-friendly features make the Gateway E-265M a solid choice for mobile professionals who require power and security in a thin-and-light notebook.
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