Gateway E-155-C Features and Options

Gateway offers customers the ability to customize quite a few aspects of this particular notebook. Here's a quick overview of the major configuration options available on the E-155-C, not counting any external accessories or peripherals.

Gateway E-155-C System Configuration Options
Processor Core 2 Duo U7500/U7600
Chipset Intel 945GM + ICH7-M DH
FSB Speeds 533 MHz
Memory Speeds DDR2-533
Memory Slots 2 x SO-DIMM, 512MB up to 4GB, DDR2, Dual Channel supported
Graphics Intel GMA 950
Display 12.1" WXGA (1280x800) Touch-Sensitive
Expansion Slots 1 x PC Card type II
2 x mini-PCI (internal) - one occupied by WiFi
Hard Drive 60/80/120GB 5400RPM, 80/100GB 7200RPM
Optical Drive 24X Combo CD-RW/DVD-ROM, 8X DVD+/-RW DVD-RAM
Networking/Communications Integrated 10/100/1000 Ethernet and V.90 56K Modem
Intel 3945ABG (802.11A/B/G) Mini PCI Wireless
Audio 24-bit High Definition Audio with 2.0 Speakers
Left Ports Flash reader (SD, MS/Pro, MMC)
1 x VGA
1 x Gigabit Ethernet
1 x PC Card Type II
Docking Station Connection
Right Ports 2 x USB2.0
Optical Drive<.br>1 x 4-pin FireWire
Microphone/Headphones
Front Ports None
Back Ports Modem jack (RJ-11)
Power Connector
Keyboard 83 Key QWERTY (US)
Extras Fingerprint Reader
Touch-sensitive display with tablet interface
Stylus with five replacement tips
Six configurable quick-launch buttons (below LCD)
Battery Options 4-Cell 38.5WHr
6-Cell 57.7WHr
8-Cell (TBD)
Dimensions 11.9"x9.9"x1.17" (LxWxH)
4.85 lbs. (4-cell battery)
5.07 lbs (6-cell battery)
Power Adapter 65W
Operating System Windows XP Tablet Edition
Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
Windows Vista Business 32-bit

Given its compact size, it's not too surprising that there are many components which can't be upgraded. Your only choices for the processor are a Core 2 Duo U7500, an ultra low voltage 1.06 GHz 2MB shared cache chip, or the slightly faster U7600 (1.20GHz 2MB). Likewise on the graphics, your only choice is to use the integrated Intel GMA 950 that comes with the 945GM chipset. If you're looking for the ultimate in high-performance computing, the E-155-C definitely isn't going to satisfy. On the other hand, having a dual core processor that runs at 0.900V (or 0.875V at the lowest 800 MHz speed the CPU enters during idle periods) means you get at least decent performance for typical business tasks while potentially improving battery life. If you couldn't tell, this notebook does not use the new Santa Rosa platform - not that it really matters in this case.

In other areas, you still get a reasonable amount of choice. Like the majority of modern laptops, the E-155-C comes with two DDR2 SO-DIMM slots. You can even install 4GB (at the cost of battery life); just remember to purchase a 64-bit operating system if you want to properly utilize more than 2GB of RAM. It appears that for power saving reasons, memory bandwidth is also limited to DDR2-533. Our test system came equipped with Samsung DDR2-667 memory, but it was running at 533 with 4-4-4-12 timings instead of 667 at 5-5-5-15 timings. Considering the relatively slow speed processor, there's likely very little difference in performance between the two memory speeds, so limiting the memory to DDR2-533 in order to improve battery life makes sense.

Did we just mention 64-bit operating systems? Well, unless you want to do it on your own, Gateway is not currently allowing the selection of a 64-bit OS, Vista or otherwise. The cost of a 4GB upgrade is also exorbitantly expensive right now (roughly $800 per SO-DIMM), and again considering the intended use we feel that a 2GB memory configuration makes the most sense. The OS choices at present consist of Windows XP Tablet Edition, Vista Home Premium, or Vista Business - again, all 32-bit versions.

Storage choices are pretty typical, and somewhat surprisingly Gateway offers relatively high performance models. Hard drive sizes range from 60GB up to 160GB, with either 5400 or 7200 RPM spindle speeds. Optical drive options consist of either a DVD-ROM/CD-RW combo drive or a typical 8X multifunction DVD burner (with DVD-RAM support). HD-DVD and Blu-ray drives are not supported as potential upgrades.

Connectivity options include Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g WiFi, and a 56K modem. Wireless networking is provided courtesy of an Intel 3945ABG adapter.

The display is a 12.1" 1280x800 touch-sensitive LCD panel which we will cover in more detail later. A stylus is included, naturally, and the display can pivot into tablet mode or you can use the system as a normal laptop. The LCD panel is a 6-bit model capable of displaying a maximum of 262,144 simultaneous colors, which is something of a disappointment as we'd prefer an 8-bit panel. In use we didn't really notice any problems with the "missing" colors, though imaging professionals might feel differently.

In the battery department, there are three different capacities listed: 4-cell, 6-cell, or 8-cell. We asked for and received both the 4-cell and 6-cell for testing, and Gateway tells us that the 8-cell battery will be available in August. Battery size translates pretty much directly into battery life, so the 8-cell battery should last twice as long as the 4-cell model, though it will also increase the weight of the laptop by around 8 ounces.

A fingerprint scanner rounds out the features list, allowing you to login/lock/unlock the notebook at the swipe of your finger. The fingerprint scanner is located underneath the display, so it can still be accessed when the system is in tablet PC mode. With the scanner orientation, we found that setting the software to recognize your thumbprint made it a bit easier to swipe.

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  • elom - Wednesday, April 02, 2008 - link

    This deal has been horrible for the companies that had existing warrenties with Gateway. MPC has still yet to get there act together and it is now April. My company has had 28 of these machines down since the begining of the year and only half have been fixed. I have NBD on-site service and I am not seeing anywhere close to that. I am moving to another PC manufacturer ASAP. Reply
  • tacoburrito - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    With the 6 cell battery, this thing will weight over 5 lbs. Not really an ultra-portable in the classical sense, is it? But it seems this is what we have to put up with if one wants the Tablet features. Lenovo, Toshiba, and HP already have sub-3lbs notebooks in their catalouge running similar specs to the Gateway. Can you review those instead, if you want to do an ultra-portable review? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    As always, we review what we get sent. Needless to say, I'm not about to go out and spend $2000 on a notebook just to provide free press for a company. I've tried to get in touch with Lenovo, without much success. I'm working to get some stuff from Toshiba and HP that falls in the ultraportable range, so we'll see.

    Honestly, I'm not quite sure why the notebook is so heavy relative to others. The case does feel pretty durable, however, so that's probably a large part of the weight question. The display doesn't really feel much heavier than a normal laptop LCD - certainly not more than a few ounces. Anyway, lightweight and flimsy may not be the right way to go either - I'd probably take the extra pound if it means the display hinges and other parts don't break after a year or two.
    Reply
  • bldckstark - Friday, July 06, 2007 - link

    I'm disappointed to see that Lenovo hasn't responded to your requests. I would really like to see their V and X series ultraportables up against the competition.

    I bought my wife the Lenovo V series laptop that is almost an exact twin of the Gateway reviewed here, with the exception of the convertible screen. It is quicker than my desktop 3800+, weighs 4.4lbs with the 6 cell battery, and gets 255 mins runtime on, all for $1,250. It really puts the Gateway to shame. At least this time I didn't buy an expensive piece of electronics just to go online a month later to see a review of a cheaper, faster, better device that makes me want to throw up.

    What I can't compare at home though is the LCD screen quality versus the Gateway. I would like to see if the Lenovo screens are better, worse, same. Especially on the V series versus the X/T series.

    This makes me really want to see the Lenovo T60 reviewed to see how much dust the Gateway would be eating.
    Reply
  • jonp - Friday, July 20, 2007 - link

    I'd vote to add a Lenovo T61, p/n 7662 with the T7500 CPU, 2GB RAM, 7200rpm hard drive, XP Pro to a future review. Reply
  • Athlex - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    Any chance of getting a photo of the keyboard and touchpad/trackpoint?

    Baffling that laptop manufacturers are putting "docking" ports on the sides of notebooks instead of the bottom. HPQ seems to be doing the same thing on their consumer stuff.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    Sorry about that - I actually had the image on our server but forgot to update the first page before the article went live.

    I'm also a bit baffled about the docking port on the side... but then I don't see much reason for docking stations these days. All I really need is mouse, keyboard, and display - if I want more than that from a laptop, I'd probably get a nicer laptop rather than worrying about spending the money for a docking station.
    Reply
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    If you connect keyboard/mouse/monitor every day (or multiple times a day) it is probably convenient to only have to make one connection instead of 3. also, some docking stations offer ports the laptop does not - for example, most (if not all) thinkpad docking stations have DVI ports even though the laptop itself does not.

    One reason this might be heavier than other tablets is the included optical drive - lots of the ~3lb ones ditch that, and the whole case can shrink as a result.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, July 05, 2007 - link

    Gateway does list the laptop as weighing .3 lbs less with a "weight saver" - I'm guessing a plastic piece that fills the ODD slot. I do have to say that ditching the DVD - except you would have an external unit - isn't a good move IMO. That's just marketing trying to cut weight at all costs. I suppose I could live without a DVD in a pinch, but I really wouldn't want to.

    People that will spend $200+ to save themselves two connections are a bit out there, I'd say. The DVI port could be useful, but plenty of laptops have those anyway. Heck, ditch the docking port connector and give us DVI and we'd be set. Heh.
    Reply
  • Verdant - Wednesday, July 04, 2007 - link

    a lot of people seem to refer to the screens as "touch screens" i thought they used some sort of circuit that involved the stylus. Do tablets have a "touch" or "digitizer stylus" screen? Or do both exist?

    Personally i would prefer non-touch screen as writing on those can be difficult with my left-handedness.
    Reply

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