Gateway NO20 laptop review

The reborn Gateway now has its first products available. Is this 12in notebook good enough to make an impact?

There's more good news on the hard disk front. The Hitachi unit in the NO20 has a pre-formatted capacity of 250GB which is more than enough for most applications, as well as a decently-sized media library for those who find themselves with occasional downtime.

Network capabilities are standard: 802.11a/b/g wireless and gigabit Ethernet are usual inclusions, although at this stage we're beginning to take sceptical note of every laptop that crosses IT PRO's door without a built-in HSDPA adapter for mobile broadband.

But it was the 9-cell battery fitted to this NO20 that lifted it from dull-but-worthy office boy to all-conquering CEO. Left doing as little as possible, it ran for an incredible eight hours 42 minutes.

With judicious use of Windows' hibernate and standby modes, you could easily stretch that to last a full day, and possibly include some of your commute as well. Intensive use was less impressive: with the powerful processor pushed to its limit we saw a time of just under two hours, but still, the Gateway gets a full-throated recommendation for those who frequently find themselves away from their desks.

It's tempting to write off the NO20: it's dull to look at, doesn't include any particularly noteworthy pieces of hardware, and although it's fast, it doesn't distinguish itself from the pack in any meaningful way. It's reasonably well-built although, again, not so much so that we could recommend it to those who do their computing outside. But it's that magnificent battery life that truly lifts it.

It might be dull to look at and uninspiring to the touch, but as long as you get the 9-cell battery, with almost nine hours of battery life, it will still find plenty of people that love it.

Verdict

There little to get excited about with the NO20 from a hardware perspective, ticking all bases without offering anything special in terms of design or specifications. However, with the use of a 9-cell battery, this NO20 will make even a Core 2 Duo T9500 stay the course for most of a working day – at least under moderate use. If you value power and battery life over design then the Gateway NO20 gets the job done.

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo T9500 2.5GHz

MEMORY: 4GB 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM

STORAGE: 250GB hard disk

GRAPHICS: Intel GMA 4500MHD

CONNECTIVITY: 802.11a/b/, Gigabit Ethernet

OS: Windows Vista Home Business

WARRANTY: 1yr collect and return warranty

DIMENSIONS: 306 x227 x 35mm (WxDxH)

WEIGHT: 2.1kg

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