Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gateway LT31 NetBook Review

Gateway LT3103u Review.

Gateway has hit some great points on the LT31 Series NetBook, but in my opinion has all so missed on some items with this NetBook.

If you want see how to remove or upgrade the Hard Drive in the LT31 Series NetBook click here

LT3103u Spec's:

AMD Athalon Processor L110 running at 1.20 GHZ (64 single-core processor)
2 GB of Ram standard.
250 GB hard drive standard.
ATI Radeon X1270 GPU with 256MB dedicated memory with the capability of sharing system memory
Atheros AR5B95 Wireless Network adapter
11.6" inch HD screen with a resolution of 1366X768
Integrated 0.3 megapixel webcam (standard on most netbooks)
Media card reader supporting:
* Secure Digital™ (SD) Card
* MultiMediaCard (MMC)
* Memory Stick® (MS)
* Memory Stick PRO™ (MS PRO)
* xD-Picture Card™ (xD)
Built-in microphone
Three USB 2.0 ports
External display (VGA) port
Headphone/speaker/line-out jack
Microphone-in jack
Ethernet (RJ-45) port

NO BLUETOOTH ..... sorry with all of the toys they could put in for cheap ... why miss on this one all cell phones come with Bluetooth. Stick it in ... all manufacturers should not even think twice about this communication device.

As with most NetBooks out in the wild Gateway has decided that the LT31 series NetBook should have the glossy cover with the classic chrome band with the Gateway logo. As you can see from the picture this glossy finish will accumulate finger prints and smudges very easily. As well the finish on the LT31 series will not hold up very well to sliding in and out of a bag. Scratches are very apparent and will show up very quickly even with careful use.

Gateway hit the mark with the 1366X768 11.6 inch screen size it is a wonderful relief after using the HP2140 and the HP Mini 1000 series with only the 1024X576 screen resolution. But Gateway did miss the boat on the display not using an edge to edge glass to finish out the fit and finish of the NetBook. I really like the resolution and the screen clarity every thing is crisp and clear. Web browsing is fantastic on the LT31 series with out having to constantly scroll down. Watching videos and even Hulu is much better due to the fact that the pages and videos fit with in this resolution.

The keyboard is a good size and the shift keys are all the right size and in the right place. This is a relief due to the EEE Pc NetBooks decided to make the right shift key very small on the 1000 series making it impossible to type on. Even though the keyboard is much better than most, it still feels cheap and gives in the center. The keys travel like they should but (My opinion only) it is still difficult to type on. I guess I am just spoiled and very use to typing on the HP 2140 keyboard which feels like the Cadillac of NetBooks.

The track pad is almost the perfect size Gateway could have make it just a bit taller and a bit wider there is plenty of space in the top case for a bit more. But the mulit-function touch pad more than makes up for this. It is almost like using a Mac track pad . Two finger scrolling is just the bomb.

The Track Pad Button leaves a bit to be desired as its a solid toggle not two separate buttons you need to be sure of exactly where you are pushing.. they could have easily separated the bar and placed two buttons.

On the left side you have the Network adapter port

Power Port right next to the heat exhaust vents.
My opinion here this is a very bad placement of these two items. The netbook runs very hot and when plugged in if you have the power cable running across the vent it will get very hot as well.. Maybe not hot enough to melt but its a pretty extream temp.

and 1 USB port.

On the right side you have
VGA port
Security port
The remaining 2 USB ports
Head Phone and mic jacks
and the memory card reader

all placed very well.

The Gateway LT31 series shipped with Vista Basic ... (bad choice) but runs Windows 7 very well see the post here for the Drivers.

Gateway needs to push ATI for better drivers for Windows Vista and 7 due to the fact that ATI conciders the X1200 series Radeon as an obsolete chip.. It will run HD content of 720P with out a hitch but still as with any NetBook I have tested .. 1080p is still a problem. Flash is still an issue with the LT31 as well Flash 10.1 and the Drivers from ATI are just not up to the task of Hi-Def.

Over all the Gateway LT31 is a pleasure to use it is very snappy, programs load very quickly as well as web pages. Reading email is much easier on the larger screen you don't have to squint as much ... BTW I do have bi-focal's ... and this screen makes things much easier to read.

If you are looking for a power house .. this is not it, but if you are looking for a road warrior light NetBook with a good battery life and the multi-media capabilities. This could be your NetBook


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