It’s the biggest screen possible that impresses when comparing home theater setups, but it’s the 13.3-inch display size that seems a favorite of manufacturers building ultra-slim, status-symbol notebooks. There are the Apple MacBook Air and HP Voodoo Envy 133 at $1,799 apiece; the Lenovo ThinkPad X301 at $2,029; the new Dell Adamo (technically a 13.4-inch diagonal due to its 16:9 aspect ratio) at $1,999. And now there’s the Gateway UC7807, a sleekly styled 13.3-incher priced at … $800. That can’t be right, you say? OK. It’s $690 at Amazon.com and J&R.
As you can guess, Gateway positions its first 13.3-inch notebook as a good-looking compact for travelers who can’t afford to pay the luxury tax. The “good-looking” part is certainly true: While what Gateway calls its “glossy moonstone” lid collects plenty of fingerprints, opening the notebook reveals a handsome brushed-metal body with an eye-catching circular touchpad, red-backlit multimedia controls (play/pause, stop, next/previous, and a volume slider), and shiny cylindrical hinge, the left end of which serves as the on/off button.
What keeps the Gateway from membership in the Envy and Adamo club is that it isn’t slim — while the above-mentioned machines tip the scales at just three or at most four pounds each, the UC7807 weighs more like a 14.1- if not 15.4-inch laptop at 5.3 pounds (the AC adapter brings its travel weight just past the six-pound mark).
At 9.4 by 12.6 by 1.5 inches, it won’t hog your entire briefcase, and it’s not too unwieldy to pass the pick-it-up-with-one-hand-while-open test. But it’s more of a competitor to mainstream machines like the Dell XPS 1330 — and even that 13.3-inch portable is more than a pound lighter — than it is Gateway’s answer to the MacBook Air.