by Link, USA
I purchased the Gateway 7422GX after looking for a full six months for a laptop to replace my desktop computer (AMD Athlon 2200+, 1GB RAM, dual 120 GB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti4800) so that I could turn my the desktop machine into a dedicated webserver. I wanted a laptop with a reasonable battery life, a nice graphics processor for playing games (Halo, Doom III, World of Warcraft), a DVD drive, and the ability to multitask with web-designing programs such as Dreamweaver, Flash, Photoshop, and Illustrator simultaneously. I didn’t care about screen size, only needed a 60 GB HDD, and weight was not a factor. My price range was anything under $1500.
And what did I think my chances were of finding a notebook that fit exactly what I wanted? “Yeah right” sums up about what I thought. But in late December, I found the Gateway 7405GX at Best Buy for $1249.99. It had everything I needed: 512MB RAM, 60 GB HDD, ATI RADEON 9600 graphics card…I was set to buy. Sadly, it was out of stock at the store. I searched six other Best Buy stores within a fifty mile radius, and still, no luck. I was beyond angry that I had missed out on this deal, and I continuously checked BestBuy.com to see if I could find a refurbished or display model available to buy instead.
Then, on January 9th, Best Buy listed the 7422GX on their website. It had everything the original had +1, with the exception being in the graphics card. I called up my local store, and sure enough, they had it in stock. I bought it for $1399.99.
Gateway 7422GX Specs:
- Mobile AMD Athlon 64 3400 (2.2 GHZ)
- 15.4″ Ultrabright Screen (WXGA TFT 1280×800)
- System Bus @ 1600MHz
- 1.0GB DDR RAM (expandable to 1.5 GB)
- 80.0GB HDD
- 8x4x8 DVD+RW; 8x4x8 DVD-RW; 24x10x24 CD-RW combo
- 64MB (Dedicated) ATI Mobility RADEON 9550 Graphics
- 56 Kbps Dial-up modem
- Built-in wireless LAN (802.11b/g); 10/100Base-T Ethernet LAN (RJ-45 connector)
- Built-in stereo speakers
- 1 PCMCIA Slot
- 4 USB 2.0 Ports
- 1 Firewire Port
- Lithium-ion Battery
- Touchpad with vertical scroll zone
- Windows XP Home Edition SP2
- Included Software: Microsoft Works 8.0, Money 2004, Picture It! 9.0, Media Player; Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0; Nero 6 Suite; CyberLink PowerDVD; Gateway BigFix
After three weeks with the system I’m ready to give it a proper review.
The 15.4″ widescreen is beautiful. I ignored all the complaints about TruBrite’s glare (see image above) and went for it, and I love it. I’ve had very little problem with glare at all, but I can understand why some people might. However, for the small disadvatage that comes with the reflectivity, I still have to highly recommend the TruBrite screens. Mine had no dead pixels and I’ve found it very easy to clean the screen in comparison to my old Toshiba.
I’ve only heard the fan turn on about 10 times since I’ve owned this notebook, and that’s with using it daily. The system only gets hot when I put high demands on the graphics card, and that’s also when the fan kicks in. I’ve played Halo PC on the highest graphics settings for four hours straight without any noticible system lag and a steady heat. The heat dropped when I quit playing, and there was no damage done to the laptop whatsoever. Sitting in your lap, the notebook feels warm, but at a comfortable temperature rather than the burn-your-skin-off feel of most of the Dell notebooks I’ve used.
The keyboard is probably my biggest beef with the whole notebook. Which is a good thing, because it’s not that big of a beef at all. The Fn key is located in the farthest left corner where the Control key should be, and the control key is one key to the right of it (see image above). I accidentally hit Fn + C instead of Ctrl + C when attempting to copy text or images to the
clipboard on occasion, but it’s not that difficult to get used to. Other than that, the keyboard works great. The keys depress to a comfortable level and are very responsive.
Before I even bought the laptop I purchased a small wireless optical mouse to prepare for the touchpad. I dislike touchpads, I always have. But I have found myself using the Touchpad over the wireless mouse. The touchpad is very responsive and highly customizable in the system settings menu. The vertical scroll can get choppy sometimes, going at out of control speeds and causing you to go too quick or slow for comfort, so I usually just use the arrow keys. As far as touchpads go, though, this touchpad is nothing new at all.
After 12 tests, the battery life lasts for an average of 3 hours. In most of the tests, in which I connected to wireless networks and played online high-graphics demanding games, the battery lasted for about 2:40-2:50. However, in tests in which I multitasked with Dreamweaver and Photoshop while connected to wireless FTP servers updating websites, the battery lasted as long as 3:20.
This notebook weighs in at about 7.5 lbs. Not too heavy, though, as the weight feels very distributed. It’s never bothered me at all, really, but I was prepared to buy anything up to 9 lbs., so you might want to take it into consideration.
The speakers are awesome. Gateway included a sound manipulation program that allows you to customize the virtual surround sound options to get a perfect tone. I was shocked by the speaker quality and actually prefer them over my headphones.
Out of the 10 wireless networks I’ve connected to, the notebook successfully connected to three on the first attempt. The other seven required me to disable the wired LAN connection for some reason…It’s not a big problem, but it is an inconvience. The networks I successfully connected to were all 802.11b. The 802.11g’s had no trouble once I had changed settings around, though, and the notebook keeps a good connection for as long as I’ve used it (up to 10 hours).
Great. Absolutely great. Incredibly beyond my expectations. This machine operates better than my desktop-now-server in every aspect – even over the 128 MB Graphics card. However, that’s only when it’s plugged in. You see, when you unplug the notebook, the processing speed falls sharply to 798 MHZ. That’s unacceptable for an AMD 64, and I’m sure it’s either a power-saving technique or a bug. Supposedly, though, there are ways to override this feature, and Gateway is supposed to release a patch sometime next month to fix it. To clear up confusion on the graphics card, the 9550 is actually better than the 9600, they just renamed it to make it seem like more of a budget pick…the ATI control panel is identical to that of the 9600/9700 series, even listing it in the hardware profile AS a 9600.
I’ve done everything there is to do with a notebook in these past three weeks. I’ve traveled with it, I’ve given presentations with projecters with it, I’ve played online games with it, I’ve multitasked, and I’ve even dropped it a couple times. This is the BEST deal I have ever gotten in a computer, period. It’s the first time I’ve bought a name-brand system – I’ve always made my own PCs in the past, but this will make me consider buying my next desktop with Gateway. Highly, highly, highly recommended, especially for the price. If you have any doubts, please clear them, I can’t stress it enough.
Final Score: 96 / 100
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