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Big screen for light notebook

Gateway will make a fashion statement with its first new notebook computer of 1998, a 6.6-pound package with a 14.1-inch display for only $2,999.

Gateway 2000 (GTW) will make a fashion statement with its first new notebook computer of 1998, introducing a svelte, 6.6-pound package with an extra-large 14.1-inch display for only $2,999.

Features on Gateway's new Solo 5100 models begin to bridge the gap between so-called "mega-notebooks," which incorporate the largest displays and fastest processors available, and "midrange" products, which generally have 150- to 200-MHz Pentium MMX processors and 12.1-inch displays. The latter represent the largest portion of the market in terms of product shipments.

In addition to a 14.1-inch active matrix display (equivalent in screen real estate to a 15- or 16-inch desktop CRT monitor), the entry-level Solo 5100 SE will come with 166-MHz MMX Pentium processor, 16MB of memory, a 2GB hard drive, and an 20X CD-ROM in a 1.6-inch thick case. Gateway already offers a system with a 14.1-inch display, but the Solo 9100 systems are intended to be used more as a desktop replacement, weighing in at a comparatively hefty 8.6 pounds even with a smaller 13.3-inch display.

The newest Solo follows a trend toward offering thinner and lighter systems combined with ever-increasing display sizes. One of the first vendors out with the 14.1-inch notebook display was Digital Equipment, which offers the Ultra 2000.

The Ultra 2000 weighs a pound less than the 5100 and, with a 166-MHz MMX Pentium and modem, is selling for around $1400 more than the equivalent Solo. A seven-pound Dell Inspiron can be equipped with a 13.3-inch display and 233-MHz MMX Pentium for $3,099, but the larger 14.1-inch display isn't available.

Gateway will also offer other configurations in the 5100 line, including the top-of-the-line XL, which comes with 233-MHz MMX Pentium processor, 48MB of memory, a 4GB hard drive, a 20X CD-ROM drive, two lithium-ion battery packs, and cellular fax/modem for $4,199.