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New Gateway notebooks are lighter, cheaper

The PC maker launches low-end and mainstream notebook lines, offering a laptop that weighs in at less than 5 pounds and a value model that starts around $1,200.

Gateway today revamped its low-end and mainstream notebook lines, offering a standard laptop that weighs in at less than 5 pounds and a value model that eliminates older connection ports and starts around $1,200.

The Solo 5300 is a thin-and-light model that ranges from about $1,500 to $2,500 and is aimed at a wide audience, from first-time notebook buyers to high-tech workers. The 4.9-pound, 1.4-inch-thick unit comes with either a mobile Celeron or Pentium III processor, 12.1-inch or 14-inch screen, a 6 to 20GB hard drive, and anywhere from 32 to 512MB of memory.

With two bays, the 5300 can accommodate a CD-ROM, a floppy disk drive, a DVD player, an LS-120 drive, a second battery or a second hard disk. A CD-RW drive will be available in the fourth quarter, Gateway said. The 5300 line uses a single motherboard and chipset, allowing business customers to qualify the line only once.

Solo1150 The 5300, available now, will replace Gateway's current 2150 mainstream line. The company will still offer its 9300, a high-end, desktop replacement model, and the 3300, an even thinner, lighter model aimed at businesses.

Gateway's other new unit, the Solo 1150, is aimed at the low end of the market, offering a 500-MHz Intel Celeron processor, 32MB of memory, a 5GB hard drive, a CD-ROM, and a 12.1-inch LCD display for $1,199. A higher-end offering boosts the processor to 550 MHz and includes 64MB of memory, a 6GB hard drive and a TFT display for $1,399.

Both versions of the Solo 1150 are "legacy-free models" replacing serial and parallel ports with USB ports.

With the arrival of the 1150, Gateway is cutting prices on the remaining inventory of its current value notebook, the 1100. That model starts at $999, a new low for Gateway notebooks.