What's hot: Very sharp display, good multimedia and gaming performance.
What's not: Keyboard is a bit slippery and has no backlight.
Reviewed December 21, 2010 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
Gateway has been working on new designs for their laptops, and the ID49 and ID59 series have a slim form that looks sleek yet not radically different from their other notebook models. The ID49C is the 14” model that has the latest in hardware options including the Intel Core i5-460M and NVIDIA graphics as well as a built-in DVD drive. The ID49C has all the essentials of a road warrior’s laptop plus excellent gaming and multimedia performance. The Gateway ID59C has comparable specs to the ID49C, and the only difference is the ID59C has a 15.6” display with a larger and heavier body.
We looked at the Gateway ID49C13u model for this review, and this model currently has top of the line specs in the series: the Intel Core i5-460M CPU running at 2.53GHz with Turbo Boost technology up to 2.8GHz and 3MB L3 cache, 4GB DDR3 dual channel RAM at 1066MHz, a 500GB, 5400rpm SATA drive and an 8x multi-super dual layer DVD drive. The Gateway ID49C13u has plenty of graphics power with built-in NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics with NVIDIA Optimus technology offering up to 4GB (1GB dedicated VRAM and 3GB shared system memory) memory. All this translates into playing Crysis at 30 fps as you will see in our gaming demo video below. Gateway offers a lower configuration including the Intel Core i3 models and minus the dedicated graphics for less money ($100-$170 less).
The Gateway ID49C has Windows 7 Home Premium and Microsoft Office Starter 2010 that includes Word Starter and Excel Starter 2010, but doesn’t include PowerPoint 2010 or Outlook 2010. Cyberlink PowerDVD and Nero 9 Essentials are included for multimedia playback and a Norton Internet Security 2010 60-trial is pre-loaded.
Design and Ergonomics
The Gateway ID49C is a nice looking laptop in silver and black. The cover design is similar to the Gateway EC series that has a flat silver cover with a small wave line at the end. The wrist rest and keyboard are also silver; with touch controls above the keyboard for multimedia playback and DVD drive control. A slim speaker grille line lives above the touch controls and LED lights, and the speaker sounds loud and full thanks to Dolby Home Theater enhancement and Hi-Def audio support. The standard keyboard has Chiclet style keys that are large with decent travel. The keyboard surface however is a bit slippery and it takes some getting used to in order to type on it comfortably. But overall, the typing experience is quite good.
While the keyboard has a standard layout, the touchpad is the star in this new design. The touchpad actually lights up, making it very easy to use in the dark. The glowing touchpad supports multi-gesture and the two mouse buttons are built into the touchpad in a rocker style. Interestingly the keyboard doesn’t have backlighting, though in the dark, the light from the display and the touchpad help you see the keyboard better. The 14” display on the Gateway ID49 looks very sharp with balanced colors, and you will love watching movies and playing games thanks to the super-wide viewing angles and sharp images. The backlit LED display has native 1366 x 768 resolution with 16:9 aspect ratio. The Gateway comes with a 1.3 megapixel webcam that lives above the display.
Deals and Shopping:
Horsepower and Performance
The Gateway ID49C13u has the fastest CPU in the series with a very reasonable price. The ID49C series also includes Intel Core i3 models without the NVIDIA graphics though not for that much less. So if you can fit the ID49C13u/ID48C08u (same specs, different sales channels) in your budget, you will get more for your money. Gateway also updated its NV79 series adding the NV79C series to include the Intel Core i5-460M. So if you are looking for a 17-incher you can get a higher configuration than the NV79.
We put the Gateway NV49C13u through PCMark Vantage X64 benchmark tests and provide a score comparison with the Gateway NV79 that also runs on the Intel Core i5 but with a slower 430M CPU clocked at 2.26GHz. We also ran 3Dmark 06 on the Gateway ID49C13u and provide a score comparison with the Gateway NV79 which has the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 graphics. The second set of scores is the Windows 7 Experience Index.
PCMarkk Vantage Benchmark Results:
PCMark Suite: 5811
Memory Suite: 3422
TV and Movie Suite: 3800
Gaming Suite: 3375
Music Suite: 5305
Communication Suite: 4686
Productivity Suite: 5228
HDD Test Suite: 3334
The Gateway ID49C runs most productivity software smoothly including Microsoft Office Starter apps, IE, Adobe Reader and more. Windows Media Player also runs smoothly for music and video playback. Video streaming over WiFi performs well. Both Netflix and Hulu streamed at a solid 30 fps. DVDs play at 25 fps and the screen looks very sharp for DVD playback.
Though the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M scored just a bit lower than the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650, gaming on the Gateway ID49C13u is a killer experience. The notebook handled FPS and action adventure games like Battlefield Bad Company 2, Red Dead Redemption and Crysis with ease. The ID49C13u handled Crysis surprisingly well, even in some missions that gave the Gateway NV7901u trouble, we got a solid 25-30 fps on the ID49C. Awesome! We have included a demo video showing the Gateway playing Crysis and Bad Company 2 with frame rates turned on. You will see that Crysis played at 25 fps to over 40 fps, while Bad Company 2 played at 30 fps on average for gameplay and 25 fps for the cinematic.
Battlefield Bad Company 2 settings:
Resolution: 1360 x 768
Overall Quality: Medium
Resolution: 1024 x 768
Anti-aliasing quality: Off
Objects Quality: Medium
Shadows Quality: Medium
Physics Quality: Medium
Shaders Quality: Medium
Volumetric Effects Quality: Medium
Game Effects Quality: Medium
Postprocessing Quality: Medium
Particles Quality: Medium
Water Quality: Medium
Sound Quality: Medium
For all the CPU and graphics power, the Gateway ID49C13u runs at cool temperatures. The core temp hardly went above 39 degrees Celsius after running productivity software for a couple of hours. Playing a DVD for an hour got the core temps up to 44-45 degrees and streaming movies over WiFi raised the CPU temp to 40-45 degrees Celsius. Playing Bad Company 2 for an hour raised the CPU temperature to 60 degrees.
Ports and Slots
For a 14” laptop, the Gateway ID49C has an amazing number of ports. You get 4 USB 2.0 ports, yes four, three on the right and one on the left side of the notebook. The HDMI port, Ethernet and VGA port live on the left along with a large heat vent. Both speaker/headphone out (S/PDIF support) and mic-in jacks also live on the left. The three USB ports on the right share the space with the super multi dual layer DVD drive. The only awkward design on this notebook is the power jack lives right above the DVD drive. So if you are using the laptop with power plugged in, you will need to fiddle with the power cord a bit when accessing the DVD drive. The Gateway ID49C also has a built-in card reader on the front side and works with Memory Stick, SD, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMedia Card and xD-Picture card. There is a security lock on the left side as well but no fingerprint scanner. The built-in WiFi by Atheros has strong reception and good range.
The Gateway ID49C comes with a 6-cell Lithium Ion rechargeable battery that’s 4400 mAh in capacity. The notebook lasts over 4 hours for web surfing, and working on documents and pictures. When playing a DVD, the Gateway lasted 2:30 hours; and streaming movies from Netflix via WiFi lasted 2:15 hours. The Gateway ID49C comes with a 90W auto sensing AC charger that’s 100-240V 50-60Hz. The notebook takes about 1:30 to 2 hours to fully charge.
Measuring 13.46 x 9.64 x 0.87/0.99 inches and weighing just a little over 5 pounds, the Gateway ID49C13u is absolutely portable for road warriors yet makes few compromises in terms of CPU and graphics power. It’s certainly a heavy hitter in the multimedia department with good movie and music playback and streaming performance, an outstanding screen and good built-in audio. With the NVIDIA GT 330M the Gateway can handle most gaming smoothly. The system has ample ports including an HDMI port, and runs quite cool. So if you have $850 to spend on a work or school computer that can double as your weekend entertainment system, the Gateway ID49C13u is a good bet that also has a modern look. What you won’t get for the price are Blu-ray Disc and fingerprint scanner.
Pro: Nice new design, sharp screen, good multimedia and gaming performance.
Con: Keyboard is a bit slippery without backlight.
Display: 14.0" HD Ultrabright™ LED-backlit Display (1366 x 768 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio). VGA port onboard. Chassis with NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M with NVIDIA Optimus technology. 1GB dedicated VRAM and up to 3GB shared system memory.
Battery: 6-cell 4400 mAh Lithium Ion battery. Power supply: 90W Auto-sensing, 100-240V.
Performance: Intel Core i5-M460 at 2.53 GHz (2.8GHz with Turbo Boost Technology), 3MB L3 cache, 1066 MHz FSB. 4GB DDR3 1066MHz memory, 8 gigs max. Two main memory slots, both may be occupied. 500GB Serial-ATA drive, 5400rpm.
Size: 0.87-0.99 x 13.46 x 9.64 inches. Weight: starts at 5.07 pounds.
Ports and Slots: 4 USB, VGA, Ethernet RJ45, mic input port, headphone and S/P DIF combo jack, HDMI port, multimedia reader and Security Lock. Multi-media card reader works with Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Multi Media Card, Secure Digital and xD-Picture Cards.
Audio: Stereo speakers, Dolby Home Theater.
Software: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Microsoft Office Starter 2010 included, also Windows Media Player, IE8 and Microsoft Silverlight preinstalled. Gateway Recovery Management software and Gateway MyBackup solution included. 3rd party software includes Adobe Reader, CyberLink PowerDVD and Nero 9 Essentials. Norton Internet Security 2010 60-day trial included.