Gateway's sturdy, powerful widescreen Core Duo notebook is ready for work and play. Find out how much you can pack into an eight-pound portable (well, sort of portable) desktop replacement.
As many of you might know by now, HardOCP doesn’t "review" systems; we evaluate the experiences they facilitate. We order the system the same as you would and evaluate every aspect of the end-user experience. Not only does this give us a better idea of what hardware an end user actually receives, it also allows us to obtain a more accurate picture of just how each company functions and treats its customers. As fast as PC hardware has become over the years, we think giving a personal computer "5 stars" based on a synthetic benchmark is simply irresponsible. We think service, support, and reliability are much more important factors in today's climate than speed. Fast is easily bought, but purchasing and ownership satisfaction can be elusive.
This process allows us to not only evaluate the system, but the OEM that builds it. Our goal is to give you the wide-angle lens view of the computer and the company so that you can make informed and educated decisions as to what you purchase or recommend to clients, friends, and family.
[H] Consumer has frequently evaluated systems from Gateway, including the gaming-oriented home BTX-based 9310XL desktop PC in July 2005, the dual core FX400XL desktop in September 2005, and the CX200X Tablet PC in March 2006. We've also evaluated a system released under Gateway's budget brand, the eMachines T6528.
All these machines scored well, but none performed spectacularly. All were rock-solid stable and solidly built. None had excellent tech support, but otherwise there was little consistency in their failings. The 9310XL was plagued by bloatware, outdated drivers, and a poor disaster recovery system. The CX200X Tablet was too heavy and had a number of problems related to its Tablet functionality. The FX400XL had multiple conflicting security programs, bloatware issues, and, of all things, a weirdly difficult mouse.
The tone in these articles has been, "So close...." Gateway does so much right that you hate to see them fall on knucklehead stuff like non-ergonomic peripherals and installing extra software that noticeably degrades performance. However, Gateway is still in there punching away. For example, this widescreen laptop, the NX860X desktop replacement that we look at today, represents another new direction for a company that has too often headed off in all directions.
Given the NX860X's somewhat hefty weight of 7.7 pounds, we're definitely not looking for road-warrior mobility in this desktop replacement. Battery life is, of course, a concern, but when you’re dealing with desktop replacements, you’re not talking about a machine that you would throw over your shoulder while jogging through an airport terminal.
We’ll be looking at the power of our Core Duo (especially when running on batteries), graphics, ease of use, and, of course, support. How much of a current desktop PC can you cram into an inch-thick clamshell? Can you make the NX860X do double duty at home and at work - and maybe even triple duty at a LAN gaming party? How much does the 1440x900 "cinematic" display improve the movie-watching experience?
Gateway has listened to us in the past, for which we give them a lot of respect. They’ve fixed their bloatware, anti-virus, and recovery issues (wow, by the way), but they’ve still had misses. Can they take this one to the bank, or will they fall short?
Take a look at what we got:
* Gateway now ships the NX860X with an 80GB Fujitsu drive.