If you’re not familiar with the name Gateway then a quick history lesson may be in order. The famous large American brand rivalled Time Computers in the number of stores they had on the high street at the turn of the century.

Then the computer slump hit and the company retreated to the US to lick its wounds. Now the company is back in the UK, albeit with a new approach, selling set models through key partners.

So, we find the MX6933b being sold only in Toys-R-Us stores. Gateway bills this machine as a home entertainment notebook but they’re over-egging it a little, as you won’t really find anything other than the inclusion of Windows XP Media Centre Edition installed to back this claim up. No TV tuner, no remote control and there is also no DVI-out port for connecting to digital displays, but analogue connections are possible via VGA-out and S-Video ports.

The graphics are integrated so you can’t even use it for games on the 15.4-inch Super-TFT screen. However, what you will find for your money is a great notebook that handles everything else with ease and style.

For less than £800 (inc. VAT), what you’ll get is an Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 processor and 2048MB of DDR2 memory, which is more than enough to keep things flying at a good pace.

With two cores, you can do more things at the same time without seeing any slow down in performance. To test this out, we were copying a CD, while checking our email online and editing a document or two. Did anything slow down? Not at all and could have quite easily done more.

Weighing 2.8kg, you can comfortably work on the move. What’s more, we managed to get well over 4 hours from the baterry, which is impressive to say the least.

Providing enough storage space for an entire family’s data is a 160GB hard drive. With a dual-format recordable DVD drive, files can be saved to CDs and DVDs with ease. For sharing data with peripherals such as digital cameras, a 4-in-1 media card reader is fitted.

However, what clinched it for us was the build quality of the machine. Gateway hasn’t put together a cheap notebook, as the case is solid and robust and well up to taking the occasional knock. It’s the keyboard though that gets our winning vote, as it’s just so comfortable to use. The keys are of a good size, have a decent weight to them as you type and generally feels great value for money.

Verdict

If you ignore the wild claims that this is a high-end multimedia machine and look at the level of specification you get for your money, this is one of the most impressive notebooks we’ve come across in a long while.

Gateway may not be the major brand it once was but if it keeps up this level of performance, it’ll soon be back on top of the game.