- Really affordable
- Great performance for the price
- Onboard Blu-ray player
- Poor viewing angles
- Preloaded with too much software
- Disappointing battery life
Look and feel
The NV falls into the average size and weight class of a 15.6-inch laptop – the 1.46-incher is just as thick as the Dell Inspiron 15 and HP Pavilion dv5, and at 5.8 pounds it's not too unwieldy to carry from the couch to a desk. If you do plan to fly the friendly skies with this sucker we'd recommend a backpack – we had a hard time cramming it into a shoulder bag, but when we did, and lugged it around the city for the day, our shoulders were longing for a masseuse. Like most multimedia laptops it's got four USBs, Ethernet, a modem, VGA, HDMI, a mic and headphone jack, and a 5-in-1 memory card reader. A Blu-ray drive lives on the right edge.
Keyboard, touchpad and screen
The touchpad is also plenty wide, and the multitouch functionality didn't get in the way of our normal navigation. However, while the pinch-to-zoom function was quite responsive, two finger scrolling was on the flakier side. Our biggest qualm about the navigation experience (and perhaps, even about the laptop itself) comes with the mirrored single mouse bar – not only is it rather stiff, but it's far too narrow to use comfortably. That's not to say it doesn't serve a purpose -- it was handy when we wanted to see if we had anything in our teeth after eating lunch. Uh, thanks Gateway.
The 1366 x 768 resolution, 15.6-inch display was plenty bright and crisp when watching Monsters vs. Aliens on Blu-ray. While it would have been nice to have a 1920 x 1080 screen coupled with the Blu-ray drive we understand that a move like that would have jacked up the dollar signs. Luckily we were prepared to be disappointed with the LCD's viewing angles, so it wasn't too much of a let down when we tilted the screen back and found that darker colors were quick to fade, and images were hard to discern. Horizontal viewing angles weren't much better – watching a YouTube clip with three others huddled around the screen required a fair amount of repositioning. The speakers above the keyboard are plenty loud and filled a small apartment, but they don't have the same fullness as HP Pavilion Altec Lansings.
Performance and battery life
While its integrated GMA HD graphics won't handle popular 3D games – it was rather painful to try and get through the first level of Batman: Arkham Asylum at 11 fps – the NV5933u is just fine for playing onboard or streaming 1080p content. When we output a 1080p YouTube video to a 40-inch HDTV there was zero stuttering or lag.
|Gateway NV5933u (2.13GHz Core i3, GMA HD)||4784||1725||2:35|
|Toshiba Satellite E205 (2.2GHz Core i5, GMA HD)||5187
|Acer Aspire 5738PG (2.55GHz Core 2 Duo, Radeon 4570)||4049
|ASUS UL50Vf (1.3GHz Core 2 Duo SU7300, GeForce G210M)||3724||3438||6:10|
To be honest we expected the NV5933u's six-cell, 48Wh battery to last longer than 2 hours and 35 minute on our video rundown test with brightness set at 65 percent, especially since the Core i5-powered Toshiba E205 lasted an hour longer. We're inclined to blame the smaller capacity battery, but pointing fingers won't change the fact that you'll want to keep the decently sized AC adapter no more than an arm's length away.
There happens to be a lot of preloaded software on the NV5933u, but not all of it is destined for the Recycle Bin. Beyond the trial version of MacAfee and Norton Internet Security, it comes with CyberLink PowerDVD 8 and Gateway's proprietary backup software that actually looks simple enough to use. However, the webcam software that's set to automatically pop up on the side of the screen should be disabled upon the very first boot-up.