While expensive ultraportables may get the bulk of online attention, the real battle is going on at the budget end of the market, where netbooks, CULV ultra-thins and cheap notebooks are fighting it out for a slice of the lucrative back-to-school audience. Into the fray steps Gateway, no stranger to the segment, and they’ve brought along their NV5214u, very much the desktop-replacing notebook rather than a slick but underpowered netbook. With an MRSP of $499.99 it certainly ticks the budget box; check out the full SlashGear review after the cut to see if it can tick any others.
First impressions are fair. To judge solely by appearance, Gateway have thrown some decent design at the NV5214u: the chassis and trim is obviously plastic, given the price, but they’re nicely patterned and cleanly molded. Hands on and most of the common touch-points are solid, with the lid showing some flex but the keyboard being generally firm and the trackpad mildly textured. The single mouse button bar hides two keys, with a Gateway logo in the middle, and the pad itself recognizes various multitouch gestures including chiral-scroll and pinch-zoom. Since the 15.6-inch 16:9 aspect LCD display is pretty broad, Gateway have squeezed a separate numeric keypad to the right of the keyboard, which means you end up with a slightly smaller ‘board overall compared to a normal desktop unit. It’s still usable, though, even with the flat rather than dished key-caps.
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