Hands on Use
With the benchmarks over, I can get into the hands on portion of the review, which is where I like to see how the real world meets up with the benchmark world. I really like the looks of the Gateway NV59C09u; the satin silver finish with the print is a nice change from the Gateway notebooks I have been seeing with glossy lids that attract lots of fingerprints.
Flip that attractive lid up and you get your first glimpse of the keyboard with the chicklet design that is very popular in the market. The keys are sized well and all the keys are where they are supposed to be. The Gateway NV59C09u is large enough that you get a full number pad along with multimedia keys accessed via the FN button. Typing feel is good and the keys have a nice click when pressed.
The track pad has only a couple thin raised ridges to set it apart from the rest of the wrist rest. The texture of the track pad is just as the wrist rest is as well, offering little definition from the surrounding material. However, the satin finish material is comfortable to use and the track pad is accurate. The single large button is placed well and is comfortable to use. The track pad also supports gestures for navigation online, zooming in on photos and lots more.
The machine has a decent sound system that suffers from the same lack of bass and overall character in audio quality that plagues the notebook and netbook industry. The sound system Gateway has chosen is average for the market with enough volume for listening without headphones.
The screen of the Gateway NV59C09u is glossy and suffers from glare in bright rooms, as is expected with 99.9% of notebooks today. The screen has decent color reproduction and only slight pixilation was noted in some fast action scenes. The Intel HD graphics could use more muscle. Streaming video from Hulu was smooth in windowed mode, but full screen viewing introduced a bit of lag and chop to the video. You could still watch, but my eyes craved the smooth playback machines with more graphics muscle offer.
You might be wondering how it is that the Gateway NV59C09u can pack in a Blu-ray player and 4GB of RAM while keeping the price down. The storage is one place that Gateway cut back; 320GB is more like a netbook storage capacity today rather than what you expect from a multimedia machine. I would have liked to see at least 500GB and that much storage couldn't have added much to the price. The lackluster GPU is another place money was saved; this machine would be on a completely different level with a discrete GPU inside.