Gateway's big laptop has desktop features

WHAT'S HOT

August 09, 1999|By Gareth Branwyn

If you've turned your nose up at "desktop replacement systems" (laptops that do double duty on the desktop), you haven't had a Gateway Solo 9300 ($2,999-$3,784) in your lap or on your desk. While most desktop replacement machines have less-than-adequate features, the Solo 9300 is a power user's PC.

We tested the top-of-the-line Solo model. It has a 400MHz Pentium II processor, a 15-inch display, a 10GB hard drive, 128MB of RAM and a 2X DVDII drive.

Nearly everything about this machine is exceptional. Performance is blazing, the active matrix screen is gorgeous and the 16-bit stereo sound is music to your ears. The machine even looks great.

There are oodles of specialty features: NTSC/PAL video in and out, IEEE 1394 (FireWire) port, two USB and PC card slots, Dolby Digital Out port. It comes with Microsoft Office 2000, Laplink and McAfee Virus Scan.

The only trade-off is its size and weight. Gateway bills it as a "lightweight" portable. I don't consider 7.8 pounds to be light. The Solo is fairly thin at 1.6 inches, but its 12.7-inch width and 10.4-inch height made it an armful. This larger size, to accommodate the big screen, is a drawback to all such desktop replacement systems.

If you need to work in planes, trains and automobiles, the jumbo size of the 9300 might cramp your style (and maybe a few other things). But if you're looking for a transportable computer that can hold its own against anything on or off the desk, the Solo will impress all but the most jaded computer jockeys.

Information: 800-GATEWAY or www.gateway.com.

For full reviews of these and other gadgets, visit www.streettech. com.

Pub Date: 08/09/99

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