Gateway LT23

When reviewing netbooks there are four Ps I look for: portability, performance, a practical keyboard, and prettiness.

NameNetbook: Gateway LT23
At a glance:1.6GHz processor, 1GB RAM,Good performance for a netbook,Compact and sleek,Keyboard too sensitive
Summary:A great little netbook for everything you could need a netbook for, but it still can’t compete with a laptop, performance-wise.

When reviewing netbooks there are four Ps I look for: portability, performance, a practical keyboard, and prettiness.

One thing is for sure about the Gateway LT23 netbook – it’s an attractive young thing. It’s shiny, with a pattern on it that looks like it’s made out of oversized pixels. It’s a little bit geeky, but in a sleek way that a non-geek would still like. The touchpad and surrounding areas have a matte finish, so the part you touch the most won’t get fingerprinty. The plastic border around the screen is glossy, which means it got fingerprints on it whenever I adjusted the screen, but it still looks good.

I do have one major gripe with the LT23, and that’s the keyboard. It’s a netbook, so the keyboard is small. That’s a given, but the keys are also very shallow, which makes them ultra-sensitive. I constantly made typos while trying to do small tasks like update social networking sites, or shoot off a quick email. I couldn’t type more than a couple of sentences at a time without getting frustrated. The layout is weird, too – it took me forever to find the volume keys. However, if you actually owned the LT23 and regularly used it, you’d get used to these quirks fairly quickly.

Under the hood, the LT23 has an Intel Atom 1.66GHz processor, and 1GB of RAM. It comes with Windows 7 Starter installed, which is essentially the watered down version of Windows 7. Because Starter doesn’t use as much RAM, 1GB isn’t all that bad.

To test out the LT23’s performance, the first thing I did after booting up the netbook for the first time was open as many programs as possible. I ended up running seven programs, including Internet Explorer, Skype, Windows Media Player, and a trial of the game Diner Dash, before the eighth one – Microsoft Word – showed even a hint of slowing down the little beast. Even then, it just said “Not Responding” for about 20 seconds after opening the program, and then calmed down and got back to work. In the end, I opened almost every program I could find on the computer and it didn’t slow down in any significant way, let alone crash.

Determined to make the netbook show some sign of slowing, I powered on and pressed play on some high definition video. At first it looked perfect, but it couldn’t sustain the playback at full high definition and started to skip slightly. Lower definitions were fine, including 720p, but you won’t be able to happily watch your pirated HDTV shows on this computer – especially since the viewing angles aren’t all that good. Gaming was also difficult. When I tried to play AssaultCube, which has okay-but-not-great graphics, it got laggy. Even then, it was only when there was a lot of AI running.

Of course, netbooks aren’t really designed for gaming, so I can’t hold its integrated graphics card against it. Not being able to play full HD video was a little annoying considering a lot of people don’t watch TV on actual TV sets anymore, but everything else the LT23 was designed to do, it does flawlessly. It’s ultra-portable – right down to the charger, which is significantly smaller than your average notebook charger – and will handle all of your email, web browsing and YouTube. Well worth the extra $100 or so you’ll pay.

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Siobhan Keogh

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