Gateway MX6933b £799
20th Jan 2007 | 00:00
Usability and components beyond its price
Sold in the UK through Toys-R-Us, Gateway markets the MX6933b (£799 inc. VAT) as a high-end home entertainment laptop. While a lack of multimedia features makes this a strange decision, this is still one of the best laptops you can buy at this price.
Extra multimedia features, such as a TV tuner, will have to be added externally. While there is also no DVI-out port for connecting to digital displays, analogue connections are possible using the VGA-out and S-video ports.
An Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2048MB of memory provide strong performance. And while it's not as fast as some of its rivals, power is comprehensive enough for home and office use.
Providing enough storage space for an entire family's data is a 160GB hard drive. With a dual-format recordable DVD drive, files can be saved to CDs and DVDs. A 4-in-1 media card reader is also fitted.
Weighing 2.8kg, you can comfortably work on the move, helped by a battery life of 251 minutes. CyberLink PowerDVD software is preinstalled, so you can also watch DVDs on your travels.
Usability is impressive. The keyboard and touchpad are comfortable even for long periods of work. Improving convenience, the left mouse button is larger than the right, for easier access and control.
Built around Windows XP Media Center Edition, basic multimedia functionality is provided. All digital media files can be viewed via a dedicated software interface. However, a Media Center remote control is not included.
3D performance is limited, so anything more than mild gaming won't be possible. The 15.4-inch screen is stunning nevertheless. With a Super-TFT coating, images are bright, vibrant and sharp. However, as with all Super-TFT screens, screen reflections are increased.
Making it easy for beginners to get started, an impressive software package is included. Microsoft Works provides basic office tools; while Microsoft Digital Image Starter Edition lets you organise and edit your digital photos. For online security, McAfee Internet Security software is also included and can protect your laptop from threats such as viruses, hackers and online banking scams.
While the Gateway MX6933b is far from the high-end multimedia system it claims to be, it's an excellent home laptop. With usability and specifications far above its modest price, you'd be hard pressed to find a better laptop for les than £800.