Introducing the Gateway ID49C

We've seen a trend as of late towards sleeker, lighter mainstream notebooks. The days of cheap, bulky machines are slowly fading behind us as Intel's Core 2010 processors are being engineered into slimmer, lighter chassis. Gateway's entry (in some ways on behalf of its parent company, Acer) is the ID49C, a unit designed to be portable and at least a little flashy without being gaudy. Does it deserve to be shortlisted for your next purchase, or is the bling wrong-headed? That's what we're here to find out.

Gateway ID49C08u Specifications
Processor Intel Core i5-450M
(2x2.4GHz + HTT, 2.66GHz Turbo, 32nm, 3MB L3, 35W)
Chipset Intel HM55
Memory 2x2GB DDR3-1066 (Max 2x4GB)
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GT330M 1GB DDR3 Optimus Technology
Intel HD Graphics IGP
Display 14" LED Glossy 16:9 768p (1366x768)
LG Philips LP140WH2-TLA2
Hard Drive(s) 500GB 5400 RPM Hitachi Travelstar Hard Disk
Optical Drive 8x DVD+/-RW SuperMulti
Networking Atheros AR8131 Gigabit Ethernet
Realtek RTL8192SE Wireless 802.11n (150Mb capable)
Audio Conexant Cx20585 HD Audio
Stereo speakers, headphone (combination digital out) and microphone jacks
Battery 6-Cell, 11.1V, 4400mAh, 48Wh battery
Front Side 4-in-1 Flash reader
Left Side Ethernet jack
Exhaust vent
Kensington lock
USB 2.0
Microphone jack
Headphone/SPDIF jack
Right Side 3x USB 2.0
Optical drive
AC adapter
Back Side Nothing
Operating System Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dimensions 13.46" x 9.64" x 0.87-0.99" (WxDxH)
Weight ~5.0 lbs
Extras 1.3MP Webcam
86-key keyboard
Flash reader (MMC, SD/Mini SD, MS/Duo/Pro/Pro Duo, xD)
Backlit touchpad
Aluminum lid and inside surface
Warranty 1-year standard warranty
Pricing MSRP $849

Gateway seems to be betting on the form factor and style of the ID49C to sell the machine, but they at least didn't skimp on the configuration. The usual mainstream contenders make themselves known: married to the Intel HM55 chipset and two 2GB sticks of DDR3-1066 running in dual-channel mode is the Intel Core i5-450M processor. It's a dual-core affair sporting a 2.4GHz nominal clock, able to turbo up to a reasonably fast 2.66GHz. Intel's "Core 2010" series of mobile processors hasn't been very wanting for performance, and the 450M should allow the ID49C to handle most tasks with aplomb.

A welcome inclusion is the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M, which brings NVIDIA's Optimus technology with it. Getting a decent mobile GPU in a 14" form factor from any vendor other than ASUS is actually fairly uncommon, so we're happy to see it here. The GT 330M isn't that exciting on paper: 48 "CUDA cores" and a 128-bit memory bus recalls the milquetoast desktop GeForce GT 220, but we're not looking to have our minds blown here, we just need enough juice to game comfortably at the unit's 1366x768 resolution. It does bring Optimus to the table, though, allowing the notebook to completely and typically seamlessly shut down the GT 330M and just use the Intel HD graphics built into the i5 processor when running on the battery.

Spec-wise, the rest of the ID49C is a bit of a head-scratcher, a mish-mash of poorly chosen cuts aimed at hitting a price point. There's a healthy amount of storage in the 500GB hard disk, but that drive runs at a meager 5400 RPM when prices on 7200 RPM notebook drives are going through the floor. In fairness you'll need the capacity, since there isn't an eSATA port or really any expansion connectivity other than the four USB 2.0 ports. There's also your bog standard DVD rewriter, but it doesn't have a physical eject button on it: you have to use the touch-based eject button above the keyboard. That makes sense for the kinds of in-built slot-loading drives you'll find on Dell's Studio series, but on a regular tray-based drive it's unusual. The standard multi-card reader and webcam are included, and the HDMI and VGA ports on the left side are welcome. Wireless networking is handled by a Realtek 802.11bgn controller, and the Ethernet jack is good for Gigabit wired networking.

The ID49C is a Land of Confusion
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  • Dustin Sklavos - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure I have such a low opinion of the average consumer that I would assume they'd have to buy this thing just because it has a glowing touchpad. While I do like some of the styling (it's nice to see aluminum on a notebook at this price point), I take issue with the fact that rather than choosing to invest in putting together a more well-rounded machine, Gateway whiffed and just gave us a crappy screen and a touchpad that lights up.

    There was potential here. Dedicated volume controls are common from most manufacturers, they didn't need to replace useful document navigation keys with them. Instead, they somehow managed to make a bad keyboard worse (and a regular consumer checking out units on the shelf may very well test the keyboard), and again, burned their budget making the touchpad light up instead of improving something...ANYTHING else.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    $849 for this POS? Negativity was not overzealous. Your 1st paragraph isn't supported by the rest. In the rapist rapper's voice, Welllll, obviously, most people won't notice the shitty screeeen, and the crappy keyboard. He's climbin in your windows...

    I would never pay $800 for 1366x768 and a crappy keyboard, even if there's a quantum CPU with data crystals inside.
  • Minion4Hire - Monday, September 27, 2010 - link

    I wouldn't expect you to buy this. As I said, this model of laptop is not designed to target Anandtech readers in the least. But its target audience is known to lower their resolution (while remaining entirely ignorant of aspect ratio) in order to get larger text. As such 1366x768 isn't a problem in the least. As for the "crappy" keyboard, while it does flex when under pressure I think the key layout is acceptable, and unless you pound your keyboard while typing you'll never notice said flexing; it takes a decent amount of force (more than any typist would use) in order to cause the keyboard to bow.

    Even Dustin admitted that its "pricetag is justifiable". It's not a great laptop, but the flaws that we see often do not exist in the eyes of the consumer, either because they don't care (don't know better) or view said flaws as positives (ie. 1366x768 resolution) so it's all very relative.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Monday, September 27, 2010 - link

    There's no question that this laptop, like any crappy product, is acceptable to the average consumer. When it comes to average/bad products, I'm sure you'd agree that AnandTech should lean zealously negative. When poor design choices are made that affect things that AnandTech readers care about, it should be a big deal.
  • andrepang - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Not too sure if you guys have noticed, this particular gateway notebook have very similar physical design compared to Acer's timelineX 4820TG....

    Looking at the side ports, DVD tray and even the back cover plus and the battery's shape looked the same.. And of course not forgetting the keyboard.......

    I wondered if its a design copy or are they sourcing the design from the same OEM...

    Just my thoughts...
  • infodan - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Acer owns gateway, so thats not a surprise, but in the US the gateway brand is more popular, unlike in europe (and especially the UK) where the gateway brand is all but dead.
  • Roland00 - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    The big differences between the two (besides looks)

    Is the Acer TimelineX either uses intel i3/i5 integrated graphics or has an ATI HD5650. The Gateway ID series either uses intel i3/i5 integrated graphics on their cheaper models, on their more expensive models they use nvidia Optimus with the GT330m (this is what Dustin reviewed).

    Also the TimelineX comes with a Six-cell, 6000mAh (up to 8 hours in mobile mark with intetgrated graphics ) or a Nine-cell, 9000mAh (up to 11.5 hours in mobile mark with integrated graphics). The Gateway ID series comes with a Six-cell 4400mAH battery (up to 6 hours in mobile mark with integrated graphics).

    So Timeline X gives you bigger battery with ATI (and the faster video card) whilethe Gateway gives you a smaller batter with Nvidia Optimus.
  • Roland00 - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    I have seen and operated one and it is a good laptop for the money.

    I just hate they keyboard, hate, hate, hate...

    One thing that wasn't mention by Dustin is that when you click the touchpad (which is one large button), the button actually lowers, it actually deepens. For a person who loathes touchpads and always carries a mouse, I found this option to be intuitive and better than most touchpads I have operated.
  • zoxo - Thursday, September 23, 2010 - link

    Seriously, how much extra would it cost to have a decent screen?
  • Pirks - Saturday, September 25, 2010 - link

    judging by MacBook Pro prices - about a grand extra

    forget about it, PC user

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