by James William Hegg
The Gateway MT6705 is a 15.4" screen budget notebook from Gateway that's offered in several retail stores in the U.S. The MT6705 has a Pentium dual core processor, 1GB of memory and runs Windows Vista. It's not exactly a top performer, but for around $700 it can be considered a good deal.
My desktop is a Micron Millennia running Windows XP Professional. While it is a reliable system that suits my needs, I desired Vista and mobility. On May 22, 2007, I purchased the Gateway MT6705 from Best Buy.
Reasons for Buying:
I purchased the MT6705 as a budget notebook mainly for word processing and web browsing. Originally, I contemplated a Dell Inspiron e1505 featuring the Intel Core 2 Duo processor T7200 (2.0GHz | 667MHz | 4MB). It cost $1954.48 after a $300.00-off coupon, tax, and free shipping. Powerful, but considering my needs I could not justify the purchase. I wanted to spend as little as possible without sacrificing a quality experience.
In the past I avoided Gateway. Bad high school experiences tainted our relationship. That changed on "Black Friday" 2005 when my mom purchased one of their notebooks for $599.99. Its aesthetics, durability, and price impressed me. When Best Buy cut the MT6705's price by $100.00 on May 20th, 2007 I decided to buy.
Most people have experience with Best Buy so I will only note the following. Their notebook return policy is 14 days and may include a 15% restocking fee if opened. For $30.00 they make a recovery DVD. Do not waste your money. Spend five minutes burning it at home. The final price was $692.24 with tax. I also enrolled in the "Rewards Zone" program; Best Buy mails a $5.00 gift card for every $250.00 spent at the store, including my MT6705 purchase.
Gateway packed the MT6705 in their standard box. They wrapped it in an industrial-strength plastic bag. Two styrofoam pads flanked the ends. A separate box with three compartments sat adjacent. They housed the battery, charger, and documentation. A thin pad lay between the keyboard and display to prevent scratches.
The notebook's dimensions are 1.4'' (H) x 14.1'' (W) x 10.4'' (D). It weighs 6.24 pounds. The instructions recommended I charge at least three hours prior to use. While charging I explored the documentation which included Windows Vista Home Premium and Anytime Upgrade DVDs, a setup guide, a flier offering a Microsoft Office 2007 60-day trial, and numerous advertisements.
After three hours I turned on the MT6705 and completed Vista's setup. Unfortunately, I found one dead pixel near the taskbar. The next day I returned the notebook to Best Buy. After confirming the flaw they issued a replacement. The entire process took 15 minutes. Returning home, I charged my new system for 24 hours, set it up, and this time found no dead pixels.
The following software is included with the MT6705: Microsoft Works 8.5, Microsoft Money 2006, Microsoft Office Home and Student (complimentary 60-day trial period), Adobe Reader 8, Cyberlink DVD solutions with 2-channel audio, Cyberlink PowerDVD, Cyberlink Power2Go, Microsoft Windows Media Player 11, Microsoft Digital Image Starter Edition 2006 (includes 60-day Digital Image Standard 2006 trial), Napster Music Service (30-day trial), Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, AOL 9.0 (90-day risk free trial included), Google Toolbar and Google Desktop Search, McAffee Internet Security Suite (90-day complimentary subscription), Gateway BigFix, Kensington Lock Slot, LoJack for Laptops BIOS Persistence Agent Enabled, and Gateway Games powered by WildTangent (pre-installed with 10 demo games with 60 minutes of game play).
Build and Design:
One reason I purchased the MT6705 is because of its build. Gateway uses black, dark gray, silver, and blue to create a very attractive notebook. My favorite part is the aircraft-grade aluminum. One piece plates the palm rests and touchpad area. It's both agreeable to the eye and durable. I also like the blue LED encircling the power button.
The MT6705 feels rugged and durable. The lid is made of textured black plastic. It feels solid and shows no fingerprints or scratches. I must press extremely hard to see ripples on the LCD, leading me to believe the lid aptly protects the display. The hinges seem strong. Opening and closing the lid requires a lot of force.
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The latches used to shut and lock the display in place, despite being plastic, seem durable and perform their job well. Gateway places their logo at the bottom of the display and in the middle of the lid. They use shiny silvery lettering. This adds to the notebook's overall attractiveness. At the front, two blue and purple LEDs light up when the MT6705 is powered on or charging.
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While my desktop's Dell UltraSharp 2007WFP 20'' Widescreen Fat Panel LCD (1680x1050) is almost unbeatable in terms of brightness, color, and sharpness, I am impressed with the MT6705's display. It is bright with a glossy finish. Glare is hardly a problem even in rooms with many windows. However, the display is not bright enough for outdoor use in the sun. Colors are sharp, but appear washed out compared to my Dell monitor. This is most noticeable on Excel spreadsheets when I change cell background colors. I do not notice light leakage.
The 1280x800 resolution is adequate but feels cramped at times. I prefer working with a lot of real estate. On my desktop I often run two windows side-by-side. This is nearly impossible on the MT6705. Despite these shortcomings, the MT6705's LCD meets my needs and runs Aero beautifully.
The MT6705 features High-Definition Audio--2 Channel Built-in Speakers. There is no bass, but clarity is excellent. I do not hear the popping noises plaguing other systems I use. With notebooks few expect much when it comes to sound. And for my work audio is unimportant--enough said.
I gauged the MT6705's performance after a clean install. The notebook features an Intel Pentium Dual-Core Mobile Processor T2060 (1.6GHz | 533MHz FSB | 1MB L2 Cache), 1024MB PC4200 DDR2 memory (533 MHz | 2 x 512MB | expandable to 2GB), and a 5400 RPM SATA hard drive. Startup to login takes 35 seconds. Opening "Start," "Computer," or an Internet Explorer window is instantaneous. Opening Microsoft Word 2003 takes 3 seconds. Opening iTunes 7.2 takes 10 seconds. Determined by the lowest subscore, the MT6705's "Windows Experience Index" base score is 3.0. Details are below.
My MT6705's Windows Experience Index:
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Using the Super Pi benchmark I calculated Pi to two million places. The T2060 processor took 1 minute and 35 seconds. Curious as to whether Aero affected performance I ran the benchmark with transparency disabled. The result was identical. For reference I tested the speed of my desktop's Intel Pentium III processor (733MHz | 133MHz FSB | 256K Flip Chip). The comparison is below.
My MT6705's T2060:
|My desktop's Pentium III:|
Super Pi Comparison Results:
|Notebook:||Time to Calculate Pi to 2M Places:|
|Gateway MT6705 (1.60GHz Dual-Core T2060)||1m 35s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T61 (2.00GHz Core 2 Duo T7300)||0m 59s|
|HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Core Duo T2400)||0m 59s|
|Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.00GHz Core 2 Duo T7200)||1m 3s|
|Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo T2500)||1m 16s|
|Dell Inspiron 6000D (1.6GHz Pentium M)||1m 52s|
|Micron Millenia (733MHz Pentium III)||7m 11s|
The HD Tune benchmark compared the MT6705's 5400 RPM SATA hard drive to my desktop's Seagate 7200 RPM SATA hard drive. Both are 120GB. Results are below.
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|Gateway MT6705 5400RPM Drive||Desktop 7200RPM hard drive|
Heat and Noise:
One complaint I have with the MT6705 is the heat produced on its underside. After an hour of use the palm rests and keyboard become slightly warm. The display remains at room temperature. The underside, however, becomes uncomfortably hot. Measured by the HD Tune benchmark, the notebook's hard drive hovers around 49 degrees Celsius (120.2 degrees Fahrenheit). My desktop's hard drive, on the other hand, reaches only 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
This being my first notebook, I don't know what to expect. Maybe it's normal. Regardless, it's not fun breaking a sweat whenever the MT6705 sits on my lap. Surfing the Internet while in bed is only bearable for about 45 minutes. For extended use, I am confined to tables--still mobile, but not as comfortable as a couch or bed.
The MT6705 is quiet. My house's air conditioner drowns out the little sound the fan produces. The fan runs for only a few seconds. The keyboard, mouse, and optical drive produce minimal noise. The hard drive is virtually silent. I would not be embarrassed to use the MT6705 in a silent study room.
Keyboard and Touchpad:
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I do not like highly sensitive mouse buttons. The buttons on the Dell Inspiron e1505 require almost no pressure to depress. The mouse buttons on the MT6705, however, are extremely firm, durable, and of high quality. They are made of a shiny, black plastic that is pleasing to the eye but prone to scratches.
The touchpad is very responsive. You tap twice to double-click. You use an area on the right side of the touchpad, distinguished by a thin raised line, to scroll. Below the touchpad are blue lights indicating wireless networking, caps lock, number lock, optical use, and hard drive activity.
The keyboard is comfortable and responsive. I notice some flex, but it does not hinder my typing. The power button, located at the top, right corner of the notebook is the only other button. Identical in nature to the shift key, the MT6705 uses a function key to control brightness, sound, and multimedia. I prefer this over separate buttons--one less thing that can break.
Input and Output Ports:
My desktop, purchased in June of 2000, features USB 1.0 ports. Transferring 700MB of personal files from my desktop to a SanDisk 2GB Cruzer Micro USB drive took about 25 minutes. In contrast, transferring these files via the MT6705's USB 2.0 port took less than 10 minutes. I'm sure these results are old hat to most people, but I was ecstatic. Nice to finally meet you, USB 2.0!
Four USB 2.0 ports are located on the right side of the MT6705, along with a modem, Ethernet, Firewire, and 4-in-1 Digital Media Manager™ port. A Type 1 or Type II PCMCIA expansion slot is also located on the right side. The S-Video port, Kensington Lock slot, and optical drive are located on the left side. A VGA output is located on the back, left side of the notebook. The power connector is located on the back, right side. Headphone and microphone jacks are located on the front.
I've noticed Apple's new MacBook Pros feature DVI output. As an accessory, they include a DVI-to-VGA adapter. I like Apple's strategy. They hone in on the latest trends and make them standard on their products. Gateway should follow suit. Replace the VGA output on the MT6705 with a DVI output. Throw in an adapter. I use DVI to link my desktop and Dell monitor. The image produced is nothing less than stunning. This is my only complaint with the ports.
Back view (view large image)
Left side view (view large image)
Right side view (view large image)
Front view (view large image)
I use the Netgear RangeMax wireless router (WPN824). The MT6705's integrated 802.11g wireless LAN card has no problem acquiring a signal anywhere within my house, including the basement. Outdoors, I get 4 out of 5 bars within 100 feet of my house. I did not test further distances. The Internet speed at all locations is lightning fast. While in the future I may upgrade to an 802.11n card, at the moment I am pleased with my notebook's wireless capabilities.
The MT6705 uses a 6-cell 2400 mAh lithium ion battery. On a full charge the battery lasts about three hours using the "High Performance" power plan. I did not test the other plans. As you know, many variables change depending on which power option you choose. Examine the facets of each by clicking the battery icon in the notification area. Then select "More power options."
When 10% of the battery remains, charging to 90% capacity takes 90 minutes when the notebook is on. Charging to 100% capacity requires 30 more minutes when on. I observe similar charge times when the notebook is off.
Operating System and Software:
The Apple commercials are true. The MT6705 comes bundled with programs galore. I use one, Adobe Reader 8. Thankfully, removing the others is as easy as letting the air out of "PC's" suit. One clean install and the bloatware is gone.
Gateway designed the MT6705 to run Windows Vista Home Premium. I briefly considered installing XP Professional, the operating system currently on my desktop. I prefer speed and efficiency to flash. Vista seems heavier than XP. However, one reason I purchased the MT6705 in the first place was to experience the new OS.
I installed Vista on my MT6705. With fewer stopping points, Vista requires less time to install than XP. The notebook runs it well. I'm impressed with the speed and performance especially after removing Gateway and Best Buy's bloatware. I'm even starting to prefer Vista over XP. I wouldn't pay money to upgrade an older computer. But forced to choose between the two, I choose Vista.
Along with the new interface, one feature I really like is SuperFetch. According to Microsoft, "SuperFetch monitors which applications you use the most and preloads these into your system memory so they'll be ready when you need them." It works. The programs I use most like IE, Word, and AIM load quicker. Of course I'm talking fractions of a second, but still quicker.
To raise performance on the fly Vista introduces Windows ReadyBoost. You use USB flash drives or secure digital (SD) memory cards to increase system memory without adding more RAM. The result is boosted performance. I've tried it--cool!
Customer Support and Warranty:
The MT6705 includes a 1 year parts and labor warranty. I've read others reviews that say Gateway's customer service is excellent.
I'm very happy I purchased the MT6705. My goal was to spend as little as possible to meet my needs without sacrificing a quality experience. This notebook fits the bill and then some. When you combine price, design, and performance, it's simply hard to beat. In addition, if my mom's Gateway is any indication, the MT6705 will hold up over time.
With a Dual-Core processor and 1GB of memory it runs Vista Home Premium effectively. It performs office tasks and surfs the Internet admirably. I would feel confident using this notebook for college or work.
At $692.24 I will not feel as bad if the MT6705 became obsolete in a few years. I did not buy extra warranties and protection. Figured I'd take my chances and save the money. Probably would not be able to get away with that had I purchased a more expensive model. I'd be too worried about protecting the increased investment. I shudder to think I almost dropped $1954.48 on a maxed out Dell Inspiron E1505. Keep your needs in mind when purchasing a new notebook. I did and saved $1262.24 in the process.
The MT6705 is my first notebook. I love it. I'm confident this won't change in the near future.
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