by Rob Williams on July 20, 2009 in Systems
When Gateway launched their UC series less than three months ago, the UC7807u retailed for $799. Today, the exact same model and configuration sits at $599. We’ll tackle the reasons as to why inside, but let’s just say, for $599, the UC7807u is one heck of a notebook, thanks to both being feature-packed and great-looking.
It feels a bit odd to wrap up my thoughts on a product that’s been discontinued, but at the same time, I’m stoked to talk about it just because it’s selling for a price that can be considered to be a bargain. Although Dell and others offer 13.3″ notebooks with similar specs, Gateway’s UC7807u includes a few perks worth noting.
First is the fact that it includes Vista Home Premium. Others I’ve seen, such as at Dell, include Vista Basic. Then there’s the addition of HDMI output, which I consider to be a sweet bonus given that all HDTVs being sold today, along with many modestly-priced computer monitors are including the connector. If you’ve ever hooked up a notebook to any display with a VGA connector, you’re likely going to understand the benefits of using HDMI.
Then there’s the overall design, which is leaps and bounds (in my opinion) above the competition. Though the round touchpad might not attract everyone, the UC7807u delivers a great-looking face and sweet keyboard, along with the cool touch button media controls. Even the hinge looks nice, in all its brushed aluminum glory.
There are just a few areas that I find the notebook to be lacking in, but none are major. The first complaint I have is that I find some of the connector placing choices Gateway made to be a little odd. On the left side, the USB port is at the absolute front rather than the back. Something tells me that this is going to be a matter of opinion, since at the front, you can easily plug in a thumb drive without fishing around. Either way, this isn’t at all a major issue.
In a similar vein, I don’t quite understand why the audio ports are kept up front either. This might be a problem that bugs only me, but I prefer to keep all the connectors towards the back to keep the cables out of the way.
Other issues are incredibly small, but I’ll mention them anyway. To me, we’re living in a 64-bit era, and it would be nice if companies took the adoption a little more seriously. In personal tests, I’ve found the 64-bit version of Vista to be far more reliable than the 32-bit, and for the most part, many complaints of compatibility are rather minor in today’s scheme of things.
Although this isn’t really the place to spout such an idea, what I think would be fantastic would be to allow the user to choose which version to use. It would take little effort to store both versions on the recovery partition and then ask the user on the first boot which they’d like to use. Then, if they do choose the 64-bit version and encounter a problem, they could easily restore back to the 32-bit version.
My last complaint is that the notebook gets rather warm after minor use. It’s not scorching hot, nor is it close, but if you’re huddled over it for an hour or two, you’re likely going to get a little warm yourself. This heat is primarily situated to the left side of the notebook, and the only area that you’ll actually feel the warmth is towards the bottom-left hand corner of the notebook in its opened position.
Overall though, I like the UC7807u a lot, and if I was in need of a new notebook, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick this up for $600. Its design, in my opinion, is the best around. It looks great, and I’m sure that your friends and family, even the non-techy members, will comment on its aesthetics. Then there’s the addition of an HDMI port, decent battery-life of 3 hours (~3 hours, 15 minutes in my personal use, which included web-surfing), a slot-loading DVD drive and a rather crisp LCD display. As far as I can see, there are few drawbacks, and certainly none that warrant looking elsewhere.
- Current pricing makes this notebook a great value.
- Stellar design, great aesthetics.
- LCD is bright, and crisp.
- Full-sized keyboard is fantastic… very easy to type on.
- HDMI output a nice bonus for those who require it.
- ~3 hours of battery-life depending on workload.
- Runs a little warm after even light use.
- Some of the ports are oddly placed (matter of opinion).
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