Review of the Gateway NX200S

The new Gateway NX200S has shown itself, not only as a thin, lightweight notebook, but a quality product starting only at $599. The battery life is impressive and the notebook sports an impressive wide screen for its light, portable build. The screen in its brightness is a little lackluster, but the computer performs well for a low price.

Since the dawn of the computer era, notebooks and desktops alike have gotten smaller and cheaper. The problem is that quality has not always increased along with the affordability and convenience. More than often, manufacturers sacrifice the features of the computer in order to sell a hundred dollars below the marked price of a competitors computer. Thankfully Gateway has understood that smaller does not always mean better and have ensured that the NX200S is what consumers are looking for in a notebook.

The NX200S is the lowest priced notebook from Gateway, only $599 after a $150 rebate. My experience of low-end notebooks led me to believe that there was a point when too many features were sacrificed for price. Thankfully, the NX200S disproved many of my negative assumptions about a low-priced notebook.

The NX200S has 1.4 Ghz Intel Celeron Processor with 256 MB of memory and a 40 GB hard drive. An impressive feature is the media capability of the notebook and its ability to have a four in one media slot supporting four types of flash memory cards. It can support SD, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, and different multimedia cards. This has multiple advantages, including the ease of transferring digital photos without a cable. A simple insert of a flash card into the computer can transfer the digital photos.

The battery power on the NX200S is what really put this notebook over the top for me. I can web surf, watch movies, word process, and play games for nearly three hours on just the battery. This has been outright the best battery that has come with the low-end notebooks. This rivals many of the higher-end notebooks as well, but at that price people will throw on a 6-ion cell or 12-ion cell battery. The NX-200S is excellent for the fact that people dont get cheated out of battery life by not adding additional features onto their laptop.

The Gateway notebook weighs in at 5.29 pounds, but a decent amount comes in from the 14 in screen that gives a great effect for watching videos. It still can not make up for the lack of brightness, but while it may not be the ultimate movie experience, one can still enjoy a movie on the laptop. There is a nice external volume control wheel which often makes sound adjustment a lot simpler. Rather than shifting through the volume controls electronically, the wheel is an added convenience one would not appreciate until used. The NX200S has a good look, sporting a sleek gray metallic finish. It is nice thin, just over an inch in thickness; the laptop has a nice feel and stays cool after hours of use.

The NX200S is a great performer, but the screen brightness and the maximum volume on external speakers are a bit disappointing. In comparison to the middle and high range notebooks, there is a distinct difference between the sound and video quality, but it outclasses most of the notebooks in its class. I would also upgrade the memory from 256MB to 512MB. Personally, I always want to have that option of laying back and popping in that Battlefield 2. A 512 MB RAM is almost mandatory for those high end games to be enjoyable. The hard drive is a good size unless there is a craving of music and games for the user. A college student who enjoys music and games could easily use over 15GB of space for just tunes and given that the 40GB will only be 30 after the basic program installations, there will only be 10 to 15GB of space to use. Yet, for most people the 40GB should be ample to play around with.

One of the only overall complaints I have with this notebook: decent gaming can not take place on it. The chip is inadequate for any of the new games and has problems with the old games as it is. Games such as Need for Speed: Most Wanted will not get the respect it deserves on a NX200S, but Warcraft III can still function without much lag. The speakers are too quiet to get even close to the effect of the super-powered XPS notebooks. The screen quality takes away both from gaming experiences and watching movies, but the $599 laptop was not designed for multimedia but as a performer in the basics. If one were looking for gaming experience one would not start with the cheapest notebook Gateway offers. Being neither the companys strong point or having the specifics of a gaming computer, I never had any high hopes for the NX200S. It does what a low-priced notebook should do, perform the basic tasks such as wireless internet, offer an array of Office tools, and transfer data seamlessly.

This notebook is the ideal buy for the college bound student. Most students in high school require only a desktop because they will always end up coming home. There is no required portability. Yet, when students go to college, they will want to travel across campus, might wish to work in coffee shops, on the lawn, or wish to bring their work home. The transition to college is when the notebook will serve a useful purpose and should enter the students life. The notebook does not need to be a multimedia giant, with strong points in playing games and movies. Not only will this make the notebook pricier, but will not be helpful to the student. The NX200S offers a college student a cheap notebook that can perform well, but not look embarrassing.

The note book is great for its low range price and the battery life is a great bonus.

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