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  • HibyPrime1 - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Looking at the spec sheet, the visual layout of the laptop, and the price, I was actually quite interested in this one. Ugh.

    Back-lit trackpad but no back-lit keyboard? I want what they are smoking.

    How much would it honestly cost to turn this into a usable keyboard? 5 cents worth of plastic under the keyboard to help a little with the flex, maybe a total of 2 engineering hours (come on, I could design that on a napkin), and a short conversation in a design meeting. That might increase the cost per laptop of a whole 10 cents. I'd be willing to let them charge me a 1000% percent profit on that.

    To the authors of Anandtech, don't give up on the LCD bashing (when needed). Manufacturers need to hear it from somewhere.
  • vol7ron - Sunday, September 26, 2010 - link

    I'm one of those people that don't need a backlit keyboard if it means cheaper.

    If necessary, the lighting from the screen should be enough; but mostly, I can't remember the last time I looked at a keyboard when typing. I don't even look at the iPhone on-screen keyboard anymore. My fingers are just used to the positioning and the second-nature of typing.

    There are a few things that make the perfect laptop for me:
    1) Price
    2) CPU
    3) GPU
    4) Battery
    5) Size

    The other, still important factors include memory/hd capacity/performance and ports, but But backlit keys and glossy vsmatte aren't on my top-10 list.
  • xype - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    The more I read the reviews here, the more I think Apple's approach is smart on many levels—even though some people complain at the lack of diversity in their laptop lineup. If you have 3 models that differ in size mostly, "fixing" a keyboard means doing so once (especially since the keyboard is the same size/layout on all models). Fixing the screen on a, say, 13" means that, while some customers get screwed if they got an older model using a bad one, you're basically fixing the 13" model. No being left with a different model with a better screen, but perhaps a differently messed up keyboard.

    Sure, it doesn't please the geek in me to be able to choose the _optimal_ model, since with just 3 different ones (I'm buying MBPs) that are mostly the same, I'll have to compromise. But for Apple it's just so much more effective—and they can spend the time focusing on getting the 4 laptops they offer as "right" as they can.

    Now, before someone accusses me of Apple fanboiism—perhaps I am one, but I'll freely admit that I know little of the product palettes of other manufacturers. The biased view I have is that each of them produces a ton of different models, trying to differentiate them with color covers and what not, and often get much less things "right" than they could get if they focused on making less models.

    Also, I'd be interested to see the comparison tables include Apple laptops, where applicable, just because I'm interested in where other manufacturers do a better job so I can go compare them in the shop (I'm sometimes asked for buying advice and yapping "get a mac!" all the time is not something I want to do if there are better alternatives out for a budget/need).
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Honestly, I know Anand and Brian both use MacBook Pros and having seen them in action I can understand why: the MBP has an excellent combination of form factor and screen quality. The screens on those are among the best I've seen on notebooks, high-resolution screens with great uniformity and viewing angles that are clearly designed for work.

    I'm not an Apple fan, I don't like their politics, and the desktop Macs are a rip-off in my opinion, but credit where credit is due...they make awesome notebooks.
  • xype - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    I've been pretty happy with MacBook(Pro)s for the past 4.5 years, but without a relative comparison the comparison tables just draw a blank stare from me. So I've wondered how they compare—of all the colleagues and friends, there's not one using a PC laptop, since we're all in the same lame-hipster-web-app-and-design business... so if you say they're among the better/best screens, I'm gonna go with your experience on this. :) Reply
  • vol7ron - Sunday, September 26, 2010 - link

    Apple has historically only targeted the high-midend market, not cutting edge technology, but not the economy scale either.

    While this is good for Apple, if everyone had a business model like this, there wouldn't be anyone competing at the upper-and-lower end spectrums; the lower-lower and lower-middle end is where the majority of the market is.

    Because Apple focuses on a niche market, they charge more. More importantly, they focus more on aesthetics and emotional marketing - trying to sell you something beyond performance/options, which is generally meaningless.

    There are products that are less expensive and kick Apple's hind-side in almost everything except battery, which is partly due to the battery technology Apple uses, and the fact that Apple uses a Linux-based OS.
  • vol7ron - Sunday, September 26, 2010 - link

    In general, given the same $$, you can get better performance elsewhere when compared to Apple.

    What you can't get is that "elitist" social recognition. ... It used to be that you also bought that superior casing that Apple is known for, but many companies are now offering artsy, slim, and sleek packaging that competes nicely.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Monday, September 27, 2010 - link

    While I agree that there's a certain "my computer's better because it's a Mac" mentality that's prevalent among Mac users, in the case of the MacBook Pro line...I still don't think you're going to find a more balanced design anywhere else. The screens on those notebooks are phenomenal. Someone else brought up HP's Envy line, and those can probably compete, but I can't think of anyone else who produces mainstream notebooks with quality, high-resolution screens.

    For what it's worth, I reviewed here the two laptops I use, and my desktop is a custom. I won't spend a dime on Apple technology. But I can see why some people would go for a MBP.
  • Ivan Karkour - Monday, September 27, 2010 - link

    Dell competes perfectly with the XPS 16, and the Adamo, but Adamo is kinda pricey.
    The Studio XPS 16 has the exact same screen as the mac book pros have. --and guess what, it's a little less expensive :)
  • seanleeforever - 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".
    go check out any lenovo tablet, any HP dreamcolor 2, or fujitsu T5013 tablet for that matter.. (they are all pretty expensive (1.6k~4k) and are never on display in BestBuy, so i won't be surprised that none of you guys actual saw it in your life, especially if you are student that are not targeted audience).

    just because you are in "lame-hipster-web-app-and-design business" doesn't mean you need a good screen. apples' screen is 6 bit TN for god sake, the same part that used in NUMEROUS windows PCs (Dell M4500, Lenovo T/W510, W701/ds, Dell Studio XPS 16)... your argument is akin to say the Core 2 Duo used in Mac Book Pro must be faster than i7-960 because it was in a apple package.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure I have such a low opinion of the average consumer that I would assume they'd have to buy this thing just because it has a glowing touchpad. While I do like some of the styling (it's nice to see aluminum on a notebook at this price point), I take issue with the fact that rather than choosing to invest in putting together a more well-rounded machine, Gateway whiffed and just gave us a crappy screen and a touchpad that lights up.

    There was potential here. Dedicated volume controls are common from most manufacturers, they didn't need to replace useful document navigation keys with them. Instead, they somehow managed to make a bad keyboard worse (and a regular consumer checking out units on the shelf may very well test the keyboard), and again, burned their budget making the touchpad light up instead of improving something...ANYTHING else.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    $849 for this POS? Negativity was not overzealous. Your 1st paragraph isn't supported by the rest. In the rapist rapper's voice, Welllll, obviously, most people won't notice the shitty screeeen, and the crappy keyboard. He's climbin in your windows...

    I would never pay $800 for 1366x768 and a crappy keyboard, even if there's a quantum CPU with data crystals inside.
  • Minion4Hire - Monday, September 27, 2010 - link

    I wouldn't expect you to buy this. As I said, this model of laptop is not designed to target Anandtech readers in the least. But its target audience is known to lower their resolution (while remaining entirely ignorant of aspect ratio) in order to get larger text. As such 1366x768 isn't a problem in the least. As for the "crappy" keyboard, while it does flex when under pressure I think the key layout is acceptable, and unless you pound your keyboard while typing you'll never notice said flexing; it takes a decent amount of force (more than any typist would use) in order to cause the keyboard to bow.

    Even Dustin admitted that its "pricetag is justifiable". It's not a great laptop, but the flaws that we see often do not exist in the eyes of the consumer, either because they don't care (don't know better) or view said flaws as positives (ie. 1366x768 resolution) so it's all very relative.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, September 27, 2010 - link

    There's no question that this laptop, like any crappy product, is acceptable to the average consumer. When it comes to average/bad products, I'm sure you'd agree that AnandTech should lean zealously negative. When poor design choices are made that affect things that AnandTech readers care about, it should be a big deal. Reply
  • andrepang - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Not too sure if you guys have noticed, this particular gateway notebook have very similar physical design compared to Acer's timelineX 4820TG....

    Looking at the side ports, DVD tray and even the back cover plus and the battery's shape looked the same.. And of course not forgetting the keyboard.......

    I wondered if its a design copy or are they sourcing the design from the same OEM...

    Just my thoughts...
  • infodan - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Acer owns gateway, so thats not a surprise, but in the US the gateway brand is more popular, unlike in europe (and especially the UK) where the gateway brand is all but dead. Reply
  • Roland00 - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    The big differences between the two (besides looks)

    Is the Acer TimelineX either uses intel i3/i5 integrated graphics or has an ATI HD5650. The Gateway ID series either uses intel i3/i5 integrated graphics on their cheaper models, on their more expensive models they use nvidia Optimus with the GT330m (this is what Dustin reviewed).

    Also the TimelineX comes with a Six-cell, 6000mAh (up to 8 hours in mobile mark with intetgrated graphics ) or a Nine-cell, 9000mAh (up to 11.5 hours in mobile mark with integrated graphics). The Gateway ID series comes with a Six-cell 4400mAH battery (up to 6 hours in mobile mark with integrated graphics).

    So Timeline X gives you bigger battery with ATI (and the faster video card) whilethe Gateway gives you a smaller batter with Nvidia Optimus.
  • Roland00 - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    I have seen and operated one and it is a good laptop for the money.

    I just hate they keyboard, hate, hate, hate...

    One thing that wasn't mention by Dustin is that when you click the touchpad (which is one large button), the button actually lowers, it actually deepens. For a person who loathes touchpads and always carries a mouse, I found this option to be intuitive and better than most touchpads I have operated.
  • zoxo - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Seriously, how much extra would it cost to have a decent screen? Reply
  • Pirks - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    judging by MacBook Pro prices - about a grand extra

    forget about it, PC user
  • Akv - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Thank you for adding the page about noise and heat. Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    $800 dollars is not a bad price for the hardware but not if is going to pain you to use it. Keep letting those manufactures know we care about the screen and keyboard layouts. Thanks again. Reply
  • HHCosmin - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    i use a acer 3820tg, featuring i5 430m, 4gb ram, 640gb of hdd, bluetooth etc. this is the little brother having a 13,3" screen. it lacks the optical drive... and this a good thing. the keyboard is aceptable for me as i'm not too picky, the runtime is ok. i care very little about the ati graphics... they lappie would be at least 200grams lighter without it. the screen is ok and it does not really mater how precise it is since i mostly code and surf on it. it has performance, it's light enough (1,8kilos), has enough runtime (up to 6,5hours).

    i'd like to have the install disk, more control to undervolt the cpu (but this is not possible with nehalem), maybe an integrated sim slot, windows 7 pro instead of home premium, less crapware installed.

    i really boils down to want you from a laptop. some could be really ok with some configs, others would not. i apreciate your review... but you could be less radical as some don't care too much about some things even if they know what makes their pc tick.
  • rwei - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Something about the seething, over-the-top anger towards helpless gadgets that permeates this review tells me that you must be a Penny-Arcade reader.

    Also second the point on HP Envys. Given your penchant for quality/backlit keyboards, nice high resolution screens with good colors and black levels, solid build quality, non-glossy aluminum materials and USB 3.0/eSATA, a 14/17 review would be a rare and blessed opportunity for you to write a happy review full of rainbows and unicorns.

    Is the 14 STILL on its way?
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    Honestly, who knows? It was supposed to be coming about six weeks back, so I'm not counting on anything now. Maybe they're doing a Fall revision and we'll get that. Here's hoping! Reply
  • blackrook - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    LOL...silly HP. Reply
  • fabarati - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    I would like to point out that the first generation of 500 GB 7200 RPM (ST9500420AS) drives from Seagate weren't all that good. The WD 500 GB 5400 RPM (WD5000BEVT) that came out at the same time was often as fast or faster. Which Is why I bought one of those. Granted, this was about a year ago, so the market has changed. Knowing Seagate, they probably have had 2 or 3 new generations of HDDs released. Just because. Reply
  • tspin46 - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    We get it you hate the keyboard. You could have said that in four words, why use four fairly long paragraphs? You then make fun of anyone who may actually like the keyboard. What possible reason to insult an interested participant in anandtech who bothered to read your review.

    I must be that idiot since I actually like the keyboard considerably more than I like several other laptop keyboards. I also learned to touch type and find no need to pound the keyboard so no flex problems, if in fact there is a problem.

    The entire tone of your review reminds me of a movie criticism found in a school newspaper. You have a bully pulpit and by god you are going to pound your personal opinion into every reader.

    Chill, say what you like and don't like but don't pound the pulpit with four paragraphs of keyboard hate with very little data other than YOU HATE IT.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, September 24, 2010 - link

    It's not that we're making fun of the people that like the keyboard, it's that we're curious if anyone actually does like it. Maybe you like the glowing touchpad as well, which we feel is a complete waste. But even if you're okay with the keyboard, you can't tell me there aren't better designs out there. The reason I let Dustin go off on this one is because this has been a problem with Acer/Gateway laptops for so long, and they just don't seem to care. Well, fine, if you're selling a $500-$600 budget system I get that. But when you upgrade the chassis to aluminum, add in a decent mobile GPU, and have enough budget left over for a glowing touchpad... yeah, the keyboard absolutely needs to be fixed. Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    I for one enjoyed reading the bit about combusting keyboards due to hating it that badly. The keyboard is one of the most important aspects of a laptop, and 4 paragraphs of informal writing is absolutely deserved. If you want 4 words on the keyboard, go read a Cnet review.

    You would think, here in 2010, good keyboards would have been mastered long ago. Just looking at the picture of it I can tell it probably sucks; the keys lack depth and it looks like there's not enough spacing.
  • Pirks - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    hahaha, I immediately pictured the Mototroll frothing and spitting at his screen after reading this, LOLOL :)))) Reply
  • synaesthetic - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    I use a Gateway laptop with Gateway's more-squared-off variant of Acer's FineTip keyboard. I don't find it that horrible. My typing speed on it is actually faster and more accurate than your standard desktop keyboard.

    I mean, it's no Thinkpad keyboard, but it's a hell of a lot less shitty than some keyboards I've used.

    And the keyboard on my NV5925u is rock-solid everywhere except for a very SLIGHT amount of flex above the optical drive bay (where the numeric keypad resides).
  • Classic Rock - Sunday, November 07, 2010 - link

    I just made an account because of this review. It is just that good, I laughed my arse off. I love the honesty, the brutal honesty : )

    Too many reviewers gloss over the small / minor bad things about a system. I like how you bring the bad out into the open here. It's brilliant.

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