Gateway NO20 laptop review

The reborn Gateway now has its first products available. Is this 12in notebook good enough to make an impact?

Price
£1,042

Gateway was once a bastion of the UK retail computer market, but changing fortunes saw it retire from these shores some years ago. Since Acer picked up the company, it has returned reborn as a business focussed concern and now has a number of new laptops that it offers exclusively through its resellers and the Gateway Outlook section of the Acer web site.

The NO20 is a thin-and-light notebook, a form factor that has never found itself in such a precarious position. Threatened by the huge swell of netbooks from beneath, it finds itself costing hundreds of pounds more but without offering a compelling reason to shell out the cash. Surely no-one particularly needs desktop-class performance in a machine so tiny, after all?

The NO20 suffers from being just such a system. It weighs just 2.1kg and measures 30cm from side to side, which makes it just a little chunkier than a large netbook. But, with its Core 2 Duo processor and hefty complement of RAM, it offers far more.

The screen is 12.1 inches diagonally, although because of the relatively large bezel - almost an inch thick at the top and bottom - it looks a little smaller.

It's a reasonable example. Our DisplayMate tests revealed no small amount of stepping in supposedly-subtle gradients, but it's unlikely any of your users will be doing much colour-critical work on this display.

Likewise, the resolution of 1,280 x 800 is hardly the last word, but it suffices for most normal web browsing and word processing tasks. We like, however, the webcam, which has plenty of space in the large top edge of the screen.

Build quality is good. The NO20 is reasonably compact, and because of that there are no flexible-feeling edges on the main chassis. The screen is a different matter: although the lid is fairly thick, it pivots a fair amount when twisted.

A note of aesthetic displeasure goes to the chunky rubber feet along the top of the bezel.

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