Gateway MD2614u review: Gateway MD2614u

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CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.6
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 6.0
  • Battery life: 6.0
  • Service and support: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Nice-looking design; HDMI out; touch-sensitive media controls; 802.11n Wi-Fi.

The Bad Relatively short battery life; fingerprint-prone; weak speakers; lacks FireWire.

The Bottom Line For an AMD-based laptop, the entry-level Gateway MD2614u provides adequate everyday performance with a handful of extras we'd expect from more expensive systems.

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Editors' note: This review is part of our

Gateway's MD-series of laptops is aimed at consumers of digital media who also enjoy a good Web-surfing session, and possibly some productivity tasks. With the entry-level MD2614u, Gateway keeps the same case design, touch-sensitive media controls, and LCD as the excellent MD7801u, but popped in a less expensive and considerably less powerful 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 RM-72, cut the hard drive storage in half, and ditched 1GB of memory. However, even with all these reductions, the MD2514u is nevertheless a fine laptop for basic computer needs.

Price as reviewed $549.99
Processor 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 RM-72
Memory 3GB, 667MHz DDR2
Hard drive 250GB 5,400rpm
Chipset AMD M780G
Graphics 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200 (integrated)
Operating System Windows Vista Premium SP1 64-bit
Dimensions (WD) 15.2 inches wide by 10.4 inches deep
Height 1.3-1.7 inches high
Screen size (diagonal) 15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 6.5/7.3 pounds
Category Mainstream

The design of the MD2614u is fairly low-key, without looking boring. The lid is a shiny black, with the exception of a vertical, brushed-metal strip topped by a tastefully small "Gateway" logo. Its dimensions are not ideal for even infrequent trips away from the home or office (we like to stay below 14 inches for that).

Underneath the fingerprint magnet of a lid is a 15.6-inch LCD with a 1,366x768 resolution that was bright, with good color and contrast. It's a nice display especially for the laptop's entry-level price. Atop the screen is a run-of-the-mill 1.3-megapixel Webcam.

The notebook has a comfortable, matte-black keyboard with white markings, which makes them visible in low light (but not as much as backlit keys would be). However, we wish the Function keys were marked in another color, especially since there is no hard switch for the Wi-Fi radio. Typing is pleasant enough, though, with agreeable key travel and enjoyable clacking feedback.

The right side of the glossy keyboard tray has a set of touch-sensitive media controls (play/pause, stop, forward, rewind, volume, and mute). Their orange glow looks great against the black background and they work fine, but the whole setup is so glossy that it doesn't take much use before it looks like a mess of fingerprints. On the upside, all the lights can be shut off, so they're not a distraction or if you simply don't like them. It's rare to find controls like this in a laptop under $600.

Ports and connections

  Gateway MD7818u Average for category [mainstream]
Video VGA-out, HDMI VGA-out, HDMI
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone (2) and microphone jacks, built-in mic Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 4 USB 2.0, multiformat media-card reader, 4 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, SD card reader
Expansion ExpressCard/54 ExpressCard/54
Networking modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

The front-firing stereo speakers are probably the weakest part of the "multimedia" package; it's not even that they sound bad, just that they're not all that powerful (not that we'd expect much from a budget laptop's speakers). The inclusion of 802.11n Wi-Fi, an HDMI port, and an ExpressCard slot are welcome in this price range.

Internal components are, on the whole, in line with what other vendors are offering at the MD2614u's sub-$550 price: an AMD dual-core processor, 3GB of DDR2 memory, and a respectable 250GB hard drive. Nothing stellar, but still decent performance for your buck.

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Where to Buy

Gateway MD2614u

Part Number: LX.W790X.004 Released: Jan 15, 2009

As Reviewed: $549.99

Check manufacturer's site for availability

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jan 15, 2009
  • Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Installed Size 3 GB
  • Color jet black
  • Weight 7.1 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM
  • Graphics Processor ATI Radeon HD 3200
  • CPU AMD Turion X2 mobile processor RM-72 / 2.1 GHz