capsule review

Gateway ZX4800-06: Attractive Budget All-in-One Packs No Surprises

At a Glance
  • Gateway ZX4800-06 All-in-One

    PCWorld Rating

    Gateway’s ZX4800-06 offers good performance for a budget all-in-one, but some elements feel cheap or unpolished.

The Gateway ZX4800-06 ($750 as of March 25, 2010) is one of the more powerful budget all-in-ones we've looked at. While it's an attractive system, some elements of the user experience are less polished than they could be.

Gateway ZX4800-06 all-in-one PC
Many of the budget all-in-one PCs (20 inches or smaller) we've reviewed have been based on netbook components, often packing Atom processors. Gateway instead built the ZX4800-06 around a 2.2GHz Pentium Dual Core processor. Though the processor is dated, it did help the ZX4800-06 earn a WorldBench 6 score of 84, putting this system among the fastest of the budget all-in-ones we've tested to date. By comparison, the Athlon X2-powered MSI Wind Top AE2010 produced a mark of 60, and most systems in this category that we've reviewed earned WorldBench scores from 40 to 60.

Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) runs smoothly on the ZX4800's 4GB of RAM, and has ample room to roam thanks to the spacious, 750GB hard drive. Most of the other budget all-in-ones we've looked at have hard-drive sizes around 320GB, so I was pleased to see this much storage included with the ZX4800-06.

That said, the ZX4800-06 is no gaming powerhouse. With its integrated Intel GMA X4500HD graphics chip, it achieved rates no higher than 8 frames per second in our gaming tests. That sort of frame rate is low, but it isn't out of the ordinary for such PCs, which are designed for home users who just need to get online, do some light word processing, browse photos, or watch videos. The ZX4800 does an adequate job with Flash video playback, though you may notice some slight stuttering when playing back high-definition video.

The ZX4800-06 features a 20-inch, 16:9 widescreen display. Its 1600-by-900 resolution is comparable to that of other budget all-in-ones we've evaluated; while it's an odd resolution when compared with HDTVs, it's relatively common on recent all-in-one desktops and laptops. Colors were generally vibrant without being garish, and the screen seemed to have good black levels. Its viewing angle was good, given that this is a budget PC; I noticed no color shift as long as I was seated in front of it, but I did spot some slight color shifting when I viewed it at extreme angles.

Like many all-in-one PCs currently available, the ZX4800-06 has a touchscreen that can take full advantage of Windows 7's multitouch capabilities. The screen's surface isn't very fingertip-friendly, though--dragging your finger across the surface creates plenty of friction, which makes it less pleasant to use. I'm not particularly impressed with the bundled touch software, either. The "TouchPortal" dashboard for touch-enabled apps lives in the background, represented by a dog-eared sheet of paper in the upper-right corner of the screen. To open TouchPortal, you either tap the dog-ear, "pull" it back with your fingertip, or press the TouchPortal hardware button (on the lower left of the PC's face). The apps are the standard touch fare: a photo viewer, Microsoft Visual Earth, a notepad, Webcam software, and some games. For a closer look at the TouchPortal software, check out our video review.

By and large, the Gateway ZX4800-06 is an attractive PC. The chassis is black, with some metallic accents on the front, and a transparent plastic frame. That said, I had a few complaints. For starters, you can't adjust the viewing angle, and the hardware feels cheap in areas. When I pulled out the foot in the back, it flexed, and I feared that I was going to snap it. Also, the logo on the front bezel doubles as the power button--though a power icon is visible next to the logo, it took me a second to realize that the logo, not the power icon, was the button.

The ZX4800-06 has the connectivity basics covered: It has six USB 2.0 ports (four on the rear, two on the side), a media card slot, gigabit ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks, and an audio line-out port. Missing, however, is a VGA- or DVI-out port, so you can't hook up a second monitor to the ZX4800-06 (most budget all-in-ones lack this feature).

A fairly standard wireless keyboard and mouse accompany the ZX4800-06. The keyboard has all the usual function keys for volume, play/pause, and so forth, as well as a numeric keypad. I liked the keyboard's feel for the most part. The keycaps are flat (as is often the case these days), but there's plenty of room around each key, so you can avoid typos fairly easily. The keyboard's typing action is softer than I'd like it to be, though; when you push a key, you don't feel a firm, satisfying pressing action. The included mouse is usable, but by no means exceptional. I found it a little small for even my average-size hands, and it lacks any additional functionality beyond the basic buttons and scrollwheel. The keyboard and mouse require you to use the included USB dongle, too, so you're down one USB port out of the box.

The included Webcam is about on a par with those on other budget all-in-ones and netbooks. Though it's totally functional for Skype and other video-chat apps, I found that its video was slightly pixelated and lacked detail.

The system's built-in stereo speakers handled studio-recorded music well, with little to no distortion even at full volume. Bass levels weren't as deep as I would have liked, but the performance was still rather impressive, considering what we're used to having in this category. Even so, I (not to mention my cubicle neighbors) noticed some buzzing and distortion with playback of lower-quality audio.

Gateway ships the ZX4800-06 with a setup guide, a Windows 7 setup booklet, warranty information, and a user-guide app on the system itself. The user guide had plenty of information, but most of it was not specific to the ZX4800-06. For example, one section is entitled "Mini Tower Case," except, of course, this is an all-in-one desktop.

The Gateway ZX4800-06 won't knock your socks off; it has some drawbacks, ranging from minor annoyances (hidden power button) to more-significant issues (poor documentation). That said, it's generally on a par with other all-in-one PCs at this price point, and it offers a multitouch display and stronger performance than its peers. If you're in the market for an all-in-one PC, and you aren't troubled by a sluggish touch interface, keep the ZX4800-06 on your short list.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Gateway’s ZX4800-06 offers good performance for a budget all-in-one, but some elements feel cheap or unpolished.

    Pros

    • Good overall screen quality
    • Speedy enough for basic use

    Cons

    • Lacks much in the way of user upgradability
    • Some case elements feel cheap
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