Gateway ID47H02: Good Looks and Feel
At a Glance
Though not the fastest or most full-featured laptop, Gateway has hit the nail on the head in terms of design and overall appeal.
Why any company would take a sleek, good-looking, decent-performing laptop and name it the ID47H02 is a mystery. But Gateway has, and it doesn't do its subject justice--by all-purpose laptop standards, the ID47H02 is a definite cut above in appearance. It also has "good enough" performance and squeezes just over 7 hours of running time out of its battery. Still, aesthetics and ergonomics are the real reasons you should consider buying this laptop.
Some of the ID47H02's visual appeal stems from its low profile--it's only 1.13 inches thick, which isn't bad for a 14-inch budget laptop (the model sells for about $700, as of September 1, 2011). However, the minimalist design ethic scores points as well. The unit has no bling, its lines are neat, its silver and gray is a classy color scheme, and even the touchpad is a clean-looking one-piece rocker type that you press on the front corners to initiate button clicks. Said touchpad is nicely responsive to both finger swipes and clicks.
The keyboard uses Chiclet-style keys that are the same color as the keyboard deck. It has a nice feel, but the flat, unsculpted keys make for a little less secure finger placement when typing. Overall, though, the input ergonomics are first-rate. The 14-inch, 1366 by 768 display yields a sharp picture, is evenly backlit, and delivers rich colors. However, its covering is highly reflective and suffers more than a modest amount of glare under the wrong lighting conditions.
The ID47H02 has at its heart an Intel Core i5-2410M CPU, 4GB of DDR3 memory, and a 500GB, 5400-rpm hard drive. With these components, it scored a competent 116 on PCWorld's WorldBench 6 test suite. Gaming frame rates are poor, reaching playable frame rates only at resolutions up to 1024 by 768 at low detail. Budget laptops without discrete graphics chips can't expect to do better. High-resolution, high-bit-rate video plays smoothly; even the sound coming through the speakers, using Dolby Home Theater, is better than average.
Ports include three USB (two USB 2.0, one USB 3.0), VGA, HDMI, microphone and headphone jacks, and gigabit ethernet, plus a Kensington lock port. Even a DVD-RW drive is on board--the ID47H02 achieves its low profile with a thin screen bezel. You'll also find a 1280 by 1024 webcam and b/g/n 2.4GHz wireless.
The ID47H02 runs 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium, and bundled software includes several of the usual suspects: Microsoft Office 2010 Starter, Norton Online Security and Backup, and a webcam utility. Nero Multimedia Suite 10 Essentials is also in the mix to support burning discs with the optical drive.
Gateway still has a habit of cluttering up the desktop. In this case, you have links for eBay, Netflix, Gateway games, the Times Reader, Nook, Norton, and a few others. How you feel about this will depend on how useful you find those apps; however, they do tend to spoil the minimalist good looks of the machine itself.
In the end, the ID47H02, by virtue of its good looks and feel, exceeds the sum of its parts. The numbers, while good, don't tell the whole story--you must see it and use it to appreciate it.