capsule review

Gateway T-6815 All-Purpose Laptop

At a Glance
  • Gateway T6815

    PCWorld Rating

    This low-cost portable has a convenient volume swipe; less desirable are the slow performance and dim screen.

At just $900 (as of 10/24/07), the Gateway T-6815 is one of the least-expensive laptops we've tested in some time. With its glossy black finish and light and compact design, it should be catnip for students and small-office professionals. Unfortunately, it's slow and the screen is gray.

This 5.5-pound (not including the power adapter) Windows Vista Home Premium unit has many features that you might expect on more expensive laptops. It comes with a DVD burner, a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, a big 160GB hard drive, and Microsoft Works 8.5 preloaded. Topping the rock-steady keyboard is a row of CD and DVD control buttons, along with a quick-responding, fun-to-use volume gauge that lets you adjust the sound with the swipe of a finger. The only missing item is a FireWire port--important if you're a heavy camcorder user. Another drawback: This laptop's 14.1-inch, 1280-by-800-pixel Ultrabright screen is anything but. Though reasonably sharp, the screen has a dark cast to it.

The performance of the T-6815 was less than impressive, too. Equipped with a 1.5-GHz Core 2 Duo T5250 processor and only 1GB of RAM, the T-6815 earned a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 56, the lowest among 14 currently tested mainstream laptops. The battery lasted 3 hours, 3 minutes, which some people will find quite acceptable (in fact, four other laptops in this same group pooped out faster). That result is almost an hour shorter than the 3.9-hour average, however.

The T-6815 is among the lightest all-purpose laptops we've tested. If you can live with its screen and its modest performance, it might be the perfect budget-saving portable for you. But if you need to juggle demanding applications on a nice, bright screen, you may be happier with something else.

--Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This low-cost portable has a convenient volume swipe; less desirable are the slow performance and dim screen.

    Pros

    • Very inexpensive
    • Cool swipe volume control

    Cons

    • Lacks FireWire port for fast downloads
    • Raspy speakers
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