Gateway – MX6923b review

Intel Core Duo 2GHz widescreen laptop with 2GB of memory
Photo of Gateway – MX6923b
£799

Right, stop sniggering at the back. Yes, I know you’ve scanned down the review and seen who’s selling this laptop, and you well may find it in between the furry re-creations of the characters from Over The Hedge and the latest Barbie accessories. But once you’ve seen the price and spec you’ll be laughing all the way home.

That well-known blast from the past, Gateway, is gradually making its presence felt once again this side of the pond, and its latest notebook, the MX6923b, is being pushed through outlets like Toys ‘R’ Us – yes, you read that right, the well-known toy emporium.

Powering the MX6923b is one of Intel’s Core Duo T2500 processors, which is clocked at 2GHz and backed by 2GB of DDR2 memory. That’s twice the amount of memory you normally find in a notebook today, all of which gives rise to a very respectable SYSmark04SE score of 205.

By having this much memory on board, the integrated Intel GMA950 graphics, which can swallow up to 128MB of system memory, isn’t going to make much of a dent on the overall performance. But you won’t get much game-playing out of it either, as witnessed by a 3DMark05 score of 547 and a paltry FarCry score of just 8fps.

The output from the graphics controller powers a 15.4-inch screen which comes with an ultrabright coating and a native widescreen resolution of 1,280 pixels by 800.

Gateway hasn’t skimped on the storage offered by the MX6923b. You get a fast Western Digital 5,400rpm, 120GB, SATA hard drive which has an 8MB cache (so quickly transferring large files around should pose few problems) and a Flash Card reader that supports Secure Digital (SD), Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro and Multimedia Card (MMC). To off-load files or to back-up data there is a Dual Layer, dual format DVD burner.

All the usual suspects are included to connect the MX6923b to the outside world; wireless LAN 802.11g, 10/100Mbps Ethernet and a 56Kbps modem.

Most of the ports are housed in the right-hand side of the chassis; four USB 2.0, modem, LAN ports, card reader, 4-pin Firewire and PC Card slot. The left-hand side houses just the optical drive and an S-Video port, while the rear panel is bare except for a VGA-out port.

The MX6923b’s battery life is pretty good, with the 4,800mAh unit giving a MobileMark05 score of just over three hours, while the DVD playback test lasted for just under three hours.

As you might expect, the MX6923b comes bundled with a fair bit of software to use up some of that hard drive space. Aside from the Windows XP Home Edition OS you also get Microsoft Works 8, Adobe Reader 7, PowerDVD, Power2Go, Big Fix V2.0 and trial editions of Microsoft Office Student & Teacher Edition (60 days) and McAfee Antivirus Internet Security Suite (90 days). The MX6923b comes with a one-year return-to-manufacturer warranty.

Company: Gateway


Verdict
Aside from the poor 3D graphics, Gateway's MX6923b offers a good blend of overall performance, features (especially the large hard drive) and price. It's ideal for the home user who may not be bothered about playing games, and also for smaller business with tight budgets. So if you're willing to buy your next laptop from a toy shop, you'll get a pretty good deal.