Gateway P-7811FX: King of the desktop replacements

The Gateway P-7811FX is our pick among desktop replacement laptops.

The Gateway P-7811FX is a deal of a desktop replacement.

Students can certainly find a suitable laptop for general campus use for less than $1,000. Of the retail models we've reviewed this summer , we'd point you to the $979 Dell Studio 1535, the $799 Gateway T-6836, or the $679 Sony Vaio NR430 . Of course, with Apple's education discount, the entry-level MacBook costs only $999--a campus favorite and one we endorse (we reviewed the higher-end black MacBook after the last update). The higher-priced laptops you'll see on retail shelves are a specialized lot, by and large. You'll see big, feature-packed 16- and 17-inch models that are better bets for consuming media at your desk than tossing in your backpack as you head to class, while the addition of a Blu-ray drive turns the otherwise mainstream 15-inch Pavilion dv5-1015nr into a tony $1,249 system.

Therefore, choosing an overall favorite among this high-end group isn't has clear cut as it was with the budget and mainstream back-to-school laptop groups. Yet, the Gateway P-7811FX stands out. You simply won't find a better deal on a desktop replacement. For a very reasonable $1,449, this 17-inch laptop serves up a very fine 1920x1200-pixel resolution and combines Intel's latest Centrino 2 mobile platform with high-end Nvidia GeForce graphics. It offers all-around excellent performance, including very playable 3D framerates. Our only gripes are minor: it lacks Bluetooth, and, well, given its native resolution, a Blu-ray drive would be nice.

Runner-up: the HP Pavilion dv7-1025nr, another fully loaded Centrino 2 desktop replacement. It trades some graphics horsepower for a slightly better look than the Gateway P-7811FX, while knocking $150 off the price.

See more laptops in CNET's back-to-school gift guide.


Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET


Love heavy and clunky tablets?

Said no one ever. CNET brings you the lightest and thinnest tablets on the market.