So, a laptop that you can buy at Tesco’s, eh? Yes, we know what you’re thinking – can’t be much cop can it?
Well, in the case of Gateway’s MT6724b, you would be wrong, as this sub-five-hundred-pound notebook comes with a rather nice feature list including a dual core processor, 15.4-inch widescreen, large hard drive, built in multi-format DVD burner and Windows Vista Home Premium.
Although it’s meant for home use it does look very corporate in its gunmetal and black finish, which is set off by a matt black lid that has a curiously rough finish to it. But while the build quality is very good, it’s just a shame it isn’t a bit more colourful.
Helping to keep down the cost of the MT6724b is the choice of processor and chipset, both of which come from Intel’s Value range. The processor is a Pentium Dual Core T2310 which has a clock speed of 1.46GHz with a 533MHz FSB and just 1MB of L2 cache, while the chipset is one we very rarely see, the GL960 Express, which has Intel’s GMA X3100 graphics core integrated into it.
The MT6724b comes with 2GB of PC2-5300, 667MHz, DDR2 memory which is the most the motherboard will support and enough to keep Windows Vista Home Premium happy. All of which gives the MT6724b only moderate performance figures: a PCMark05 score of 3,224 and an overall score of 3.1 with Vista’s own benchmark. But if you just want a laptop to do the everyday home office bits and pieces, it’s enough.
With the MT6724b using Intel’s integrated graphics, the graphics performance isn’t really worth commenting on, and in any case you won’t be buying a notebook like this to play games on. The screen is a 15.4-inch WXGA widescreen unit with ‘Ultrabright technology’ (wasn’t that a toothpaste?) and a native resolution of 1,280 by 800 pixels, which gives a fair degree of desktop real-estate. The screen has a 1.3-megapixel web-cam built into the surround.
The keyboard is well built with nice and responsive keys, while the trackpad has a good feel to it but unfortunately only has vertical scrolling. The two mouse buttons in front of the trackpad are larger than average so you don’t have to fumble about for them. Ahead of these is a black panel that suddenly lights up with all the usual system activity icons when you boot up the MT6724b; a very unusual place to find them. Above the keyboard sit the multimedia controls for the optical drive.
For storage Gateway has equipped the MT6724b with an impressive 160GB, 5,400rpm SATA hard drive and you also get an 8x, multi-format, dual layer DVD burner, which will make light work of any backups. Despite the price tag the MT6724b is well served when you want to connect to the outside world, with 10/100Mbps wired Ethernet, 802.11g Wireless LAN, Bluetooth 2.0 and, should all else fail, a 56Kbps modem.
Most of the ports are built into the right-hand side of the chassis; four USB 2.0 ports stacked in pairs, LAN and modem ports, an Express card slot and a 5-in-1 card reader. All there in the right-hand side is the optical drive and a large exhaust grille.
Gateway supplies the MT6724b with a year’s parts and labour limited warranty.
Contact: 020 7365 0970