Hands On: The Gateway NV55S02u Ultimate Notebook Review
Written by Alan Monday, 17 October 2011 07:00
Gateway was once one of the top names in the home computer industry, right up there with Dell as THE PC’s to get. Then, around the time that the Gateway stores failed, the quality of their products also began to fail. Fast-Forward several years and Gateway is again on the rise. They haven’t regained their earlier prominence, but they are once again making quality computers, with an especially solid collection of notebooks and netbooks.
Recently I have had the opportunity to use the Gateway NV55S02u notebook. This is a full-sized laptop with a 15.6 inch screen and a lot of power. It’s one of Gateway’s top-of-the-line models with some of the best components packed into it.
- Processor: AMD Quad-core A6-3400M
- Memory: 4 GB DDR3 (maximum of 8 GB)
- Storage: 500 GB SATA
- Optical: DVD-Super Multi DL Drive
- Screen: 15.6 inch 16:9 HD LED LCD
- Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6520G
- Network: 802.11 b/g/n and Gigabit Ethernet
- Built-in Webcam
- Built-in Microphone
- 3 USB Ports (2.0 only)
- Ethernet (RJ-45)
- Headphone Jack
- Microphone Jack
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium
As you can see from the above-listed specs, this notebook has plenty of power with it’s Quad-core processor and 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, plus plenty of storage with a generous 500 GB hard drive. The 802.11 n and gigabit ethernet ensure you will not have any connection issues, at least on your end of the pipe.
Two words here – speed and power. This is perhaps the fastest notebook computer I have used. It boots fast, connects to WiFi fast, and launches programs fast. The screen plays beautiful video with little or no buffering thanks to the high-speed WiFi card. The computer comes with surprisingly little of the typical manufacturer bloatware that we have become used to. Sure, there’s some, like the usual suspects such as Norton (60 Day Trial), Nero, Gateway Games, and a few others. On the other hand, Windows Live Essentials comes pre-installed, which saves a step for the typical user. The webcam and microphone that come built-in work surprisingly well, allowing you to video-chat using only ear-buds, while sending out a nice clear picture. I would never have purchased a white notebook. I just never thought I would like that color for a PC, but I have to say, this color scheme is beautiful. The two-toned white and silver hardware really stands out. Finally, the F keys at the top of the keyboard also double as other functions, such as media control, which is a nice touch.
As mentioned in the “Pros” section, there is some pre-installed junkware, but it can easily be cleaned up with something like PC Decrapifier. Since it’s less than what some other systems (HP I’m looking at you) come with, I don’t really think this is a fair “con”, but I wanted to mention it. The Touch-Pad is highly-sensitive, to the point that the cursor will jump almost constantly when trying to type. You can, however, disable it with quick press of the F6 button. Press it again when you want your pointer back. All 3 USB ports are 2.0, which is fine, but with 3.0 now finding it’s way into hardware, it would have been a nice inclusion here.
Gateway has made a good comeback. They are once again producing quality hardware, and are on their way to regaining their previous reputation. It remains to be seen where they will go from here, but I have hopes. You have read the Pros and Cons of this particular notebook and can draw your own conclusions, but if you want my opinion, it’s that the Pros outweigh the Cons. I have been using it for a month and am writing this review on it. I have not had a single hardware or software problem. In fact, I have two children who want netbooks for Christmas and I am considering getting Gateways for them. I was a Gateway customer long ago, and have since moved on to Dell, but Gateway may just win me back.