Gateway S-7200N Review (pics, specs)

by Reads (19,899)

by Andrew Johnson, Alaska USA

Gateway S-7200N

The Gateway S-7200N is a blend of a  business productivity and entertainment notebook.  It offers business features such as a port replicator and long standard warranty in a widescreen package.

Gateway S-7200N Configuration as reviewed

  • Processor: Intel Celeron M Processor 360 (1.40GHz, 400MHz FSB, 1MB L2 cache)
  • Memory: 256MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • Hard Drive: 40GB 5400rpm Ultra ATA hard drive
  • Optical Drive:   Integrated 24x CD-ROM Drive
  • Screen:   14″ Widescreen XGA TFT Active Matrix (1280 x 768 max. resolution)
  • Video:   Integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900
  • External Ports:   (3) USB 2.0, VGA, IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
  • Operating System:   Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition (SP2)

Build & Design

The S-7200N is a fairly thin and light midsized notebook weighing in at about 5 pounds.  It has a simple and professional looking silver and black color scheme.  The plastic case and the screen have a bit of flex, and the screen will ripple when pushed from behind.  The hinges are sturdy and well damped though.  The 14″ widescreen form factor allows for a comfortably small note book with room for a nice full size keyboard with an extra column for the Home/pg up/pg dn/end keys.

Ports on the replicator with the S-7200N in the background (view larger image)

My laptop stayed pleasantly cool, although the fan came on frequently.  The fan is not loud or annoying, but it is louder than some and definitely noticeable in a quiet room.

Screen

My screen is a regular matte finish, although glossy screens are available.  It is bright and colorful and has comparable viewing angle performance to other notebooks.

The illumination is especially even, with no light leakage, an excellent trait I’ve noticed with many Gateway notebooks.

The 14″ widescreen has a resolution of 1280×768, which is actually slightly wider than “regular” wide screens.  Other screens with 1280×800, 1920×1200, etc, are a 16:10 ratio.  This is 16.7:10.  What this means is widescreen movies have slightly smaller black letterboxing bars.

Speakers

The speakers, which are on the bottom of the notebook and point down, sound pretty tinny but put out an impressive level of volume.

Processor and Performance

The S-7200N comes standard with a 1.4GHz Celeron M, one of the slowest notebook cpu’s currently available.  But by the beard of Zeus, It turns out this is still more than enough power for most tasks.  Even with this budget processor, which keeps the price down, normal tasks are responsive and speedy.  Where the Celeron seems to suffer somewhat, however, is with battery life.  Graphics-wise, the integrated Intel graphics are only powerful enough to play some new games and most older games.  It’s not a gaming notebook.

Benchmarks

Super PI (a tool created by the University of Tokyo that is freely distributed) is a good tool to test the speed of a CPU. Sure, it is simple but it gives a pretty clear picture of CPU performance.  Below are the results of the the Gateway S-7200N and how it stacks up:

Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Gateway S-7200N (1.4GHz Celeron M) 2m 22s
IBM ThinkPad T43 (1.86GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 45s
IBM ThinkPad T41 (1.6GHz Banias Pentium M) 2m 23s
Toshiba Satellite M60 (1.86GHz Alviso Pentium M) 1m 38s
Dell Inspiron 600m (1.6 GHz Dothan Pentium M) 2m 10s
Dell Inspiron 8600 (1.7GHz Banias Pentium M) 2m 28s

Using the progra HD Tune to perform benchmarks on the 5400 rpm hard drive, we got around 30 MB/sec of transfer, which puts it between 4200 rpm and fast 7200 rpm drives.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard is nice and full sized with a good feel.  Key mashers might notice a little more than average flex.  The touchpad works well.

Above view of keyboard and touchpad, port replicator attached (view larger image)

Input and Output Ports

The Gateway S-7200N has the standard array of ports, including 3 USB 2.0, mini firewire, VGA, modem and network.  Also included, on the left side, is a special connection for the port replicator.

Port replicator port (view larger image)

The port replicator is a very handy device.  It duplicated an additional 3 USB ports, VGA, firewire, speaker minijack, network, and an old style printer parallel port and a serial port.  This lets you plug in all your office devices with a single connection when you return.  It comes with its own power cord, so your laptop charges when plugged into this as well.  Very convenient.

Gateway S-7200N with port replicator plugged in (view larger image)

Wireless

The integrated 802.11b/g wireless works well and connected to a variety of wireless networks in my area.

Battery

The Intel Celeron M does not has the advanced power management of the higher priced Pentium M.  However, as it is based on the same platform, battery life is decent. 

Under high processor loads, the Celeron M uses a similar amount of power compared to the Pentium M.  At idle, which what a computer is doing most of the time for simple word processing and web browsing, the Celeron M doesn’t lower it’s clock speed, so it uses more power.

This is why the most battery life I could get under normal light with low screen brightness use was about two and a half hours.  This could possibly be raised by using minimum brightness, which is exceptionally dim, though possible good for use on a dark airplane. 

For DVD playback, with high volume and maximum brightness, the battery lasted a fairly competitive, if a bit short, 1:45.

To its credit, the S-7200N is also available with a higher capacity battery, as well as a Pentium M which would improve things.

Operating System and Software

My notebook came with both Windows XP pro and MS office small business addition, as well as DVD playback software and virus protection software.

Customer Support

The S-7200N comes standard with a long 3 year extended warranty.  My experience with Gateway customer support has been good, and I expect it to be equal or better on the business side of things.

Conclusion

The S-7200N is a fairly conservative notebook, with nothing that stands out as new or remarkable, and at the same time no real faults.  This is perfect for a business notebook that is expected to have a long life and minimal problems.  It is comfortable to use, and perfect if your work requires long periods in front of the computer.  Standard battery life leaves something to be desired, but this can be improved with the high capacity battery and the Pentium M option.

Pros

  • Very good screen: easy on the eyes, bright and colorful
  • Nice keyboard
  • Port replicator very handy device

Cons

  • Battery life not very good
  • Case and screen could be more rigid.

Gateway S-7200N Pricing and Availability:

Please visit Gateway.com to see the current pricing and availability of the S-7200N: Gateway.com S-7200N Product Page


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