Introducing the Gateway ID49C

We've seen a trend as of late towards sleeker, lighter mainstream notebooks. The days of cheap, bulky machines are slowly fading behind us as Intel's Core 2010 processors are being engineered into slimmer, lighter chassis. Gateway's entry (in some ways on behalf of its parent company, Acer) is the ID49C, a unit designed to be portable and at least a little flashy without being gaudy. Does it deserve to be shortlisted for your next purchase, or is the bling wrong-headed? That's what we're here to find out.

Gateway ID49C08u Specifications
Processor Intel Core i5-450M
(2x2.4GHz + HTT, 2.66GHz Turbo, 32nm, 3MB L3, 35W)
Chipset Intel HM55
Memory 2x2GB DDR3-1066 (Max 2x4GB)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT330M 1GB DDR3 Optimus Technology
Intel HD Graphics IGP
Display 14" LED Glossy 16:9 768p (1366x768)
LG Philips LP140WH2-TLA2
Hard Drive(s) 500GB 5400 RPM Hitachi Travelstar Hard Disk
Optical Drive 8x DVD+/-RW SuperMulti
Networking Atheros AR8131 Gigabit Ethernet
Realtek RTL8192SE Wireless 802.11n (150Mb capable)
Audio Conexant Cx20585 HD Audio
Stereo speakers, headphone (combination digital out) and microphone jacks
Battery 6-Cell, 11.1V, 4400mAh, 48Wh battery
Front Side 4-in-1 Flash reader
Left Side Ethernet jack
Exhaust vent
Kensington lock
VGA
HDMI
USB 2.0
Microphone jack
Headphone/SPDIF jack
Right Side 3x USB 2.0
Optical drive
AC adapter
Back Side Nothing
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 13.46" x 9.64" x 0.87-0.99" (WxDxH)
Weight ~5.0 lbs
Extras 1.3MP Webcam
86-key keyboard
Flash reader (MMC, SD/Mini SD, MS/Duo/Pro/Pro Duo, xD)
Backlit touchpad
Aluminum lid and inside surface
Warranty 1-year standard warranty
Pricing MSRP $849

Gateway seems to be betting on the form factor and style of the ID49C to sell the machine, but they at least didn't skimp on the configuration. The usual mainstream contenders make themselves known: married to the Intel HM55 chipset and two 2GB sticks of DDR3-1066 running in dual-channel mode is the Intel Core i5-450M processor. It's a dual-core affair sporting a 2.4GHz nominal clock, able to turbo up to a reasonably fast 2.66GHz. Intel's "Core 2010" series of mobile processors hasn't been very wanting for performance, and the 450M should allow the ID49C to handle most tasks with aplomb.

A welcome inclusion is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M, which brings NVIDIA's Optimus technology with it. Getting a decent mobile GPU in a 14" form factor from any vendor other than ASUS is actually fairly uncommon, so we're happy to see it here. The GT 330M isn't that exciting on paper: 48 "CUDA cores" and a 128-bit memory bus recalls the milquetoast desktop GeForce GT 220, but we're not looking to have our minds blown here, we just need enough juice to game comfortably at the unit's 1366x768 resolution. It does bring Optimus to the table, though, allowing the notebook to completely and typically seamlessly shut down the GT 330M and just use the Intel HD graphics built into the i5 processor when running on the battery.

Spec-wise, the rest of the ID49C is a bit of a head-scratcher, a mish-mash of poorly chosen cuts aimed at hitting a price point. There's a healthy amount of storage in the 500GB hard disk, but that drive runs at a meager 5400 RPM when prices on 7200 RPM notebook drives are going through the floor. In fairness you'll need the capacity, since there isn't an eSATA port or really any expansion connectivity other than the four USB 2.0 ports. There's also your bog standard DVD rewriter, but it doesn't have a physical eject button on it: you have to use the touch-based eject button above the keyboard. That makes sense for the kinds of in-built slot-loading drives you'll find on Dell's Studio series, but on a regular tray-based drive it's unusual. The standard multi-card reader and webcam are included, and the HDMI and VGA ports on the left side are welcome. Wireless networking is handled by a Realtek 802.11bgn controller, and the Ethernet jack is good for Gigabit wired networking.

The ID49C is a Land of Confusion
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  • xype - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    "MBP's screen are decent, but no where near the best in term of "high-res" and "uniformity" and "view angel"."

    Erm, ever heared of "context"? We're talking consumer laptops here, not $4k tablets or whatever. Obviously you could get a better panel if you spent $20k on a laptop...

    "just because you are in "lame-hipster-web-app-and-design business" doesn't mean you need a good screen."

    Actually it does mean that, at least if you're dealing with the design side of things (which I do).

    But, yeah, tablets are a different story—the iPad has an IPS screen, too. Doesn't mean anything in the context of consumer 13-17" laptops, though—which is what I am interested in.
    Reply
  • seanleeforever - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    i did not take it out of context. review your own post and think before posting.

    most would agree that MBP is not a cheap consumer laptop. it is their pro line and cost 1.8k to 4.1k. so exactly how did i take it out of context? (i did not consider the 13 inch because their screen is just as average as any panel in Dell/HP, their 15/17 are the only ones using 6-bit TN with 3 color LED backlit, as an apple PRO owner that does web design, you should at least know that, right?)

    out of the three examples i pointed out, the HP dreamcolor is NOT a tablet. it is on their elitebook and it is 10 bit IPS screen. it is on their 15 and 17 inch elitebooks, and that is exactly within the context of 13~17" laptop, which is what YOU interested in.

    allow me to say this: LCD screen, even regular TN screens look pretty damn nice under ideal condition. but what separately pro/business from consumer is 1: price tag 2: performance under all conditions.

    lastly, i did say Apple screens are noticeably better than average screen, but to say it is the BEST is simply a display of your ignorance. it is the same part used in other laptops and perform the same. i fail to see how screen is the reason for you to justify your choice.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    For the record, the 13.3" MBP has a good screen as well (just no matte option). The regular MacBook on the other hand has a crappy ~200:1 contrast ratio. We'll have something of a comparative review in the near future for some fun.... :-) Reply
  • xype - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    "most would agree that MBP is not a cheap consumer laptop. it is their pro line and cost 1.8k to 4.1k"

    Yeah, except that the standard configurations (which is what most people buy) are 1.2 to 2.3K. If a "pro line" starts at 1.2 then that means that the people's expectations of laptops and computers in general got pretty weird lately. And I guess the 3k HP EliteBook is, what, space technology?

    "lastly, i did say Apple screens are noticeably better than average screen, but to say it is the BEST is simply a display of your ignorance"

    Can you point me to where I claimed they were the best?

    " i fail to see how screen is the reason for you to justify your choice."

    It's not the sole reason, but a very important one none the less. If you fail to see how it might be a reason to justify a laptop, feel free to get the Gateway and enjoy the shitty screen.
    Reply
  • Ivan Karkour - Monday, September 27, 2010 - link

    What happened to reading what the person comments? Seanleefore mentions laptops too, and he mentions a good selection. Talk about disregarding what the person says..

    Seanleefore, although quite biased, mentioned the Dell Studio XPS line, along with the M4500. They all have the resembling screen as the mac book pros have. It's true.

    Look for yourself. You can grab the Studio XPS 16 for about 1,200 dollars, and recieve the Core i5 450, an ATI HD 5730, (which whoops the hell out of a MBP 13" graphics card), and all the rest of same specs with HD audio, and 2 year service---with the SAME screen.
    The only downfall---not as light as the 13" MBP, and not as battery efficient. Oh, and of course the sturdiness of that mac book is pretty much kick ass. --but there. Seanleefore called you out, and he was correct. Sorry.

    You speak of apple as if they are affordable. Maybe to you, but 1,300 dollar laptops, ( excluding tax), that rise all the way to 2,000 dollars isn't technically consumer friendly for the majority of people either. Although, you are right about 4,000 dollars being a bit steep. ha ha
    Reply
  • Aircraft123 - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    The notebooks that come the closest to competing with the MBPs would have to be the HP ENVY series. I have the Envy 15 and it has the best LCD panel I have ever seen on a notebook. 1920x1080 AND an anti glare coating.

    They get much flak for running hot, however, the MBPs do too.

    I also get a Mobility Radeon 5830 graphics card, a Core i5, 4GB RAM and a very well designed and built magnesium/aluminum chassis for much less than the MBP.

    Don't get me wrong, Apple makes some very impressive hardware and the Envys are not without their faults.

    If you are looking for a PC that has a chance of competing with Apple for less money, they are worth taking a look at.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    I had a look at the Envy 15. Seems nice, except that there is no internal optical drive, which is kind of odd for a 15" laptop.

    You can get a slot load DVD with the Dell Studio 15, along with a 1080P true-life display, 6 GB of RAM, back-lit keyboard for $1025, which is less than the ENVY, although the video card is not as good. So I'd recommend the Dell studio line also as a good overall laptop.
    Reply
  • Roland00 - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    while you can still order these products from the HP website, the HP envy 15 and 13 inch are winding down. Pretty much from suppliers that aren't HP you will only find clearance models or refurbished options.

    The HP envy 14 and 17 inch have replaced the 13 and 15 inch. The HP envy 14 and 17 inch have dvd/blu ray options.

    The HP envy uses a metal case and has a much better video card.
    Reply
  • Ivan Karkour - Monday, September 27, 2010 - link

    Your definitely right about the Envy, but no slot loading drive :( Kinda lame for a 15", huh? Although I think there are the newer lines that came out. I believe they have slot loading.
    Hey, don't forget about the Dell Studio XPS 16. That's a kick ass piece of machinery. --and hey, a slot loading drive. ha ha
    Although, it doesn't compare to the Envy with the 5830. The XPS has the 5730. You can get a higher grade one, but more money is needed of course.
    Reply
  • Minion4Hire - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Okay. I'm not going to come in here and sing Gateway's praises or pretend that this is a fantastic laptop, but I think your negativity is a little overzealous Dustin. I have used both the ID49 and ID59 series and did not view it nearly as negatively as yourself (certainly not so emphatically anyhow)

    This is a mainstream laptop. You yourself make note of this fact. This is a laptop being produced for the masses. MOST people want a computer that performs well (even if they don't quite know where said performance comes from or what they're paying for) but at the same time a lot of people want something stylish. Gateway is clearly trying to meet the consumer halfway; they're offering an above-entry-level product with a higher-end STYLE at a reasonable price. Their product page reeks of this: "Metal-like keys match the slender and stylish profile of the arctic silver cover and make typing an experience of ultimate smoothness. A cool-blue illuminated touchpad creates an inviting effect that draws your fingers". Sorry, but the average consumer will eat that up.

    Speaking of the average consumer, most are not very picky about their keyboard, they haven't the slightest clue about screen quality, and do not use navigation keys of any kind. The AVERAGE consumer deletes highlighted text before typing, are confused and/or are barely aware of Fn keys, and wildly whirl their mouse cursor around the screen in an attempt to click "Google Search" instead of just pressing enter. So for these people dedicated volume keys are a good thing, and anorexic arrow keys which double as navigation aren't a detriment. The keyboard flex could and should definitely be improved, but at least it doesn't have a more annoying layout; small backspace key, the left Fn key on the outside of the Ctrl key, etc...

    I'm not saying that the average consumer doesn't deserve a better product, but at the higher pricepoint required to offer those consumers that better product they will invariably end up looking at a different, cheaper model of laptop. I think it's hard to offer an "inbetween" laptop when the lower and higher ends of the market seem to be alienating each other more and more, so in some ways I think Gateway has hit their target audience beautifully; it's just not the Anandtech audience. If I want a well built laptop I'll buy Lenovo. If I want an inexpensive not-complete-piece-of-crap for my parents, or their parents, then I would look at mainstream offerings like this Gateway.
    Reply

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