Just when you thought optical drives in notebooks were on their way out, along comes the Gateway EC14D, an 11.6-inch notebook with a built-in DVD drive. This system will feature an Intel CULV processor, 4GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and retail for $629.
Here's the specs of the EC14D:
- CPU: 1.3GHz Intel Pentium ULV Processor SU4100
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
- Display/Resolution: 11.6-inch LED-backlit TFT LCD (1366 x 768 resolution)
- Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
- Memory/Expandable to: 4GB/8GB
- Hard drive size/speed: 320GB/5400RPM
- Optical Drive: 8X Super-Multi DVD player
- Wireless: Intel Wi-Fi Link 1000 802.11b/g/Draft-N
- Ports: Three USB, HDMI, Ethernet
- Size: 11.5 x 8.3 x 1.2 inches
- Weight: 3.6 pounds
We haven't seen an optical drive on a production system this small since the Sony Vaio TT--and that notebook's starting price was more than $2,000. We like the fact that Gateway includes an HDMI port on the EC14D, but wonder if the integrated graphics will provide enough oomph if someone outputs a DVD to a large-screen TV. Also, Gateway's press release makes no mention of a Blu-ray option--let's hope one is made available.
The other system Gateway announced, with considerably less fanfare, is the EC58D, which will have a 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768-pixel resolution display, Intel Core 2 Duo or Pentium Dual-Core processors, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and integrated DVD drives. Not bad for a system less than an inch thin, and starting at $649.
However, based on the image Gateway provided, the EC58D looks little more than a slightly modified and rebranded Acer Aspire Timeline 5810T, currently selling for about the same price. As with the Gateway LT21/Acer 5032h, we don't quite understand why Acer/Gateway has to release two of the same product.
Look for our hands-on post later today.