Gateway laptops are funny products. Of the two mainstream lines available, the "budget" NV series and the "higher-end" ID series, neither one currently has a single model that tops $699. So, in that sense, both are budget lines. The Gateway ID is the slicker, more polished-looking product, and a significantly thinner laptop with a 14-inch display, more closely matching what most people consider to be easily portable.
The $699 Gateway ID47H02u has a surprisingly good set of specs for its price. An Intel Core i5-2410M processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive are considered mainstream specs nowadays. A sleek--for Gateway--design, comfortable keyboard and touch pad, and a long-lasting battery complete the package. It's definitely a more attractive and slimmer notebook overall than you see in the Gateway NV line, which we recently reviewed in the form of the Gateway NV55S05u.
Still, $699 isn't necessarily "budget" to everyone, which is why we wish Gateway had shaved an extra $100 off the ID47H02u's MSRP. That being said, there's a strong chance you'll see this laptop offered for less online. There's a lot of competition in the $700 range of the 13- and 14-inch laptop market--more than you'd think--but Gateway's ID47H02u is a very good entry.
|Price as reviewed||$699|
|Processor||2.3GHz Intel Core i5 2410M|
|Memory||4GB, 1,333 MHz DDR3|
|Hard drive||500GB HDD, 5,400rpm|
|Graphics||Intel HD 3000 (integrated)|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
|Dimensions (WD)||13x9 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||14 inches|
|System weight / weight with AC adapter||4.5 pounds / 5.2 pounds|
The last time we reviewed a Gateway ID series laptop, it was a thin but frustrating mess. A weird glowing touch pad and not-so-wonderful keyboard marred the design. The new ID series isn't revolutionary, but the 14-incher has a clean-cut, compact design that's hard not to like. The thin aluminum lid features what looks like an edge-to-edge glass display; in fact, the actual screen has a matte bezel, which immediately becomes obvious when the laptop is turned on. It's a better use of upper-lid real estate than you see in other budget laptops.
The overall look of the Gateway ID47H02u isn't far off from slightly generic silver-and-black slim laptops such as the Asus U31SD-A1, but where the U31SD-A1 had only a 13.3-inch screen, Gateway manages to fit a 14-inch screen into nearly the same body size. Now, about that screen: its 1,366x768-pixel maximum resolution is standard for a 14-incher, and the screen brightness cranks up reasonably high, but the colors looked a little washed-out compared with what we've seen on other, more-vibrant laptops. Also, the viewing angles are limited: we tilted the screen down and found that blacks began to wash out quickly. Added glare from the glossy glass didn't help. It's still a suitable display for everyday use, and the extra bit of screen size, though it doesn't add pixels, does help.
The silvered bottom half of the ID47H02u feels like a 13-inch notebook in terms of keyboard placement and palm-rest room: sufficient. The island-style raised keyboard feels even better than the Gateway NV's. A right-hand column of added keys offers useful dedicated volume controls, but at the expense of insetting the Enter and Shift keys. A "social button" above the volume keys launches a Gateway social media toolbar, but it's only set up to work with Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr. Most people will opt for other software or Web-based alternatives to do the same thing.
A wide, dark plastic clickpad-style touch pad looks ominous at first. Large it is, but we had doubts as to how it would handle multitouch and other challenges. To our surprise, the Synaptics clickpad is one of the best we've ever used. The straight-to-the-bottom-edge design of the pad is like the infinity pool of touch pads; resting your fingers on the bottom doesn't interfere with top scrolling, and we found that multitouch gestures were easy and quick to pull off.
A large speaker bar above the keyboard offered louder-than-usual volume for music and video playback, enhanced with Dolby Home Theater tuning. To our ears it wasn't stellar, but it was certainly loud enough for enjoying movies and videos with friends.
The Webcam mounted above the display has a maximum resolution of 1,280x1,024 pixels for still pictures and 1,280x720 pixels for videos. It's better than the average VGA Webcam, in terms of pixels and picture quality.
|Gateway ID47H02u||Average for category [mainstream]|
|Video||HDMI, VGA||VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks||Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||1 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, SD card reader||4 USB 2.0, SD card reader, eSATA|
|Networking||Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi||Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband|
|Optical drive||DVD burner||DVD burner|
As befits a laptop priced right on the borderline between budget and midrange, the Gateway ID47H02u's feature set leans toward the latter. USB 3.0 and a tray-loading DVD drive are included, although Bluetooth isn't.
The ID47H02u is a fixed-configuration laptop, one of three ID series configurations on Gateway's Web site. None is above $699, though none dips below $679, either. The specs are mainstream-standard: a 500GB, 5,400rpm hard drive and 4GB of DDR3 RAM.
The 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M CPU is one we've been seeing on most $700-range laptops with second-gen Intel processors this year. We're fond of this particular Core i5 processor, as speeds are fast and multitasking is smooth. It's a great choice for an everyday computer. Not surprisingly, the Gateway ID47H02u performed about as well as other Core i5-2410M-bearing alternatives we've recently reviewed, including the Toshiba Satellite E305-S1990X and HP Envy 14.