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The chassis is fairly solid, with a predominantly silver finish. The keyboard and surrounding area uses a darker grey which offset each other nicely. I’d go as far as saying it’s stylish! It’s certainly not going to impress your iPod loving fashion victims, but it should at least stop strange looks from family members.
The back of the notebook is rather bare, with only the D-SUB and power connector. Most of the connectivity is on the right hand side of the notebook. This includes four USB 2.0 ports, a mini FireWire connection, RJ11/RJ45 connections and a card reader supporting SD, MMC and Memory Stick. If you are using an external mouse, connections here can get in the way. On the front, we have microphone input and headphone output. The sound card is a fairly limited affair, so we don’t have any digital outputs for more than two channels.
There is a single PC Card slot, should you want to add anything extra such as a better sound card.
The trackpad was quite satisfactory, which is more than I can say for some. As you can see, there is a section specifically for scrolling, which is fairly standard on all notebooks. The LED indicators below it are subtle but functional.
Included with the notebook are Windows XP Home and Microsoft Works 8. Also installed is a 90 day trial of McAfee Internet Security, Cyberlink PowerDVD, Nero 6 and BigFix. A nice touch is how Gateway has renamed the Nero start menu item to “Burn a CD or Data DVD” as to a novice it isn’t instantly obvious what Nero does.
Should you have any problems with the machine, there is excellent PDF documentation. For more severe situations, Gateway has included a suite of recovery options, including the ability to restore the machine to its factory defaults. This is all stored on a partition on the hard drive that is available during boot time. Should you accidentally delete this partition, it is also provided on a DVD. Recovery took 43 minutes from pressing the boot option to a finished desktop. Not bad at all Gateway.