Laptops & Notebooks

Gateway CX200
  Total posts: 1
Buy It Here  $1,905.00

By Cisco Cheng

Slate tablets haven't caught on—perhaps they never will—but convertible tablets are making their way into the mainstream. And we're not talking about the small ones, with their 12-inch screens and 3.5-pound system weights. It's the larger ones, those that are substantial enough to be your primary laptop at home or in the office. The new Gateway CX200 convertible tablet ($1,905 direct) is such a machine. It has great features, fast components, and a crisp 14-inch widescreen display.

The CX200 weighs in at 6.9 pounds and is clearly a notebook that will spend more time on your desktop than on a plane. The 14-inch widescreen is nice and bright. It has a transflective display that makes the screen look even brighter and glossier than a standard screen. It's terrific for viewing photos and home movies, but it does give off some glare in certain lighting conditions. The Toshiba Satellite R15-S822 has a standard 14-inch screen, without any special LCD treatment. It's not as bright as the Gateway's but gives off less glare.
Gateway CX200

The CX200's pen is thick and more comfortable to use than the thinner ones found on the IBM ThinkPad X41 tablet and the Satellite R15-S822. The pen-eject button is at the base of the unit, so you have to lift up the laptop to eject the pen. That makes it harder to access the pen but also means it's harder to lose the pen. We found it easier to use the pen while writing on our laps or on a desk than when the system rests in our arms, mainly because of the computer's heavy weight. The screen has an orientation button and three other configurable quick launch buttons. The scroll wheel is comfortably placed.

Surfing the Web in portrait mode allowed us to see the entire page, without the need to scroll. In landscape mode, we were able to work with Windows Journal and Zinio Reader side by side. The pen-on-paper feel is evident as soon as the pen touches the screen, but there's a slight delay, which forced us to press down a little harder.

The CX200 is a workhorse: It's loaded with the fastest Pentium M (770) processor currently available, 1GB of RAM, and the ATI Mobility Radeon X600 graphics chipset. Unfortunately, the system couldn't run our SYSmark 2004 SE and MobileMark 2005 benchmark tests because of the tests' limitations, but other systems with this type of configuration perform very well on day-to-day computing tasks. Both the Doom 3 and Splinter Cell games ran smoothly. The 3DMark 2005 scores were very respectable at 996 (1,024-by-768), something rarely seen on a tablet.

The standard battery (77 Wh) has a handle, which elevates the notebook for more ergonomic typing. In tablet-writing mode, you can use the battery handle to hold the system steady. Battery life is around 5 hours, according to Gateway. A bigger, 95-Wh battery (7 hours) and a modular-bay battery (4 hours) are available for $140 and $99, respectively. All the battery options are a bit excessive, considering the tablet will likely stay on your desk most of the time.

As the CX200 tablet targets consumers, therefore it lacks certain security measures, such as TPM (Trusted Platform Module), which encrypts your passwords and files on a hardware level. TPM comes standard on Gateway's business tablet, the M280E ($2,069, which looks very similar to the CX200. You can even add Computrace's antitheft suite ($99), which is like the automotive industry's LoJack, to the M280E. (You load the software, register your laptop's serial number, and if your laptop is hijacked, the recovery team is alerted, and they can determine the system's location once the bandits go online. Of course, the software must have been installed and the person with your stolen computer must actually go online, assuming the hard drive hasn't been formatted.)

All three USB ports are located on the right side of the tablet. There is no S-Video port, but you will find a VGA port, FireWire port, and 3-in-1 card reader (SD, MS, MS Pro). Gigabit Ethernet is available as well. The modular bay holds a DVD±RW drive, and you can always swap that out for an extra battery. The CX200 includes Microsoft OneNote 2003, Nero Express 6, and 90-day trials of both McAfee and Norton Security Center.

For those itching to give tablets a try but unwilling to sacrifice power, the Gateway CX200 may be the answer. It's a powerful, sharp-looking tablet.

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    table of contents
    Convertible Tablet PCs
    Editors' Choice
    Fujitsu LifeBook P1510
    Gateway CX200
    At a Glance
    Full Review
    Test Results
    HP Compaq tc4200
    Lenovo/IBM ThinkPad X41Tablet
    Toshiba Satellite R15-S822
    Summary of Features

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