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(Pocket-lint) - If you owned a PC 10 years ago then it’s likely you’ll have come across the name Gateway, as they were a major player on the high street. The high street strategy didn’t work and the company retreated to its native America but has been back in the UK for the last 18 months selling through retail chains. The Gateway MT6839b, for instance, can only be found in Tesco and in limited numbers, so if you like what you see, you’d better hurry.

There is a lot to like with this notebook, as it comes with a great specification and, more importantly for a notebook, a stunning build quality for the price. The chassis is made from tough plastic but it has a brushed aluminium finish on the palm rests to give it a hint of style. Weighing in at 2.9kg, it’s fairly portable and we managed to get a little over 3 hours from it, which isn’t too bad considering it comes with Windows Vista Home Premium Edition, which isn’t exactly designed for portables.

The screen is a 15.4-inch Super-TFT panel so images look amazing. We spent some time editing photos on this notebook and the colour reproduction was highly impressive, making the task a lot easier. Graphics are integrated, so you won’t be able to sit down and play any games, but it’s the only sacrifice you’ll make choosing a budget machine. The screen allows plenty of room for a good near-full sized keyboard. We found this a pleasure to use, the keys having being well-spaced and with plenty of travel.

When it comes to specification, we were more than impressed with what’s on offer for the price. The Intel Core 2 Duo chip runs at 1.73GHz, which is fast enough to handle most tasks easily. What’s more, with 2GB of memory things load and run smoothly, even with more than one application running. When editing photos, while browsing the Internet and playing MP3's, the system ran quickly and reliably.

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For connecting to wireless networks at home or to hotpots when out and about, you’ll find 802.11a/g Wi-Fi had been included. There is also a standard Ethernet adapter for connecting to wired networks.

Sadly, there is no Bluetooth for linking up your phone but there are four USB2 ports, so you can easily add a plug-in adapter if this is important to you.

Getting users up and running is a generous software package. Included is Microsoft Works for basic home office tools, McAfee Internet Security to protect against online threats, and CyberLink Power2Go for creating your own CD's and DVD's.

To recap

At the price, this is a genuine bargain and feels as though you are getting more for your money than with most budget notebooks

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Writing by Mike Browne.