Coincident to the massive worldwide success of the Apple iMac (and following the unappealing, Soviet-looking Gateway ‘Profile’) Gateway recently ventured into another attempt at the all-in-one computer system. The result of Gateway’s re-invested efforts is known as the Gateway One – a high-speed, full-spec computer and monitor in a single glossy body. From looks alone, Gateway has achieved a very positive step forward – an absolute aesthetic achievement. We at Digital Trends ran the Gateway One through the paces to find out if it’s as fast, functional and fun as it appears. Read our review and watch our Gateway One video to find out what we thought.
Features and Design
Without a doubt, the main and most exciting feature of the Gateway One is the newly designed, super thin all-in-one body. The computer looks like a glossy obsidian monolith from the front. The LCD panel is inset by about 1/8”, but the clear Plexiglas face makes the screen look flush against the shiny surface. The computer is only a few inches thick, just like an LCD TV. It has no extraneous feet or risers – it just rests nicely flat against your work space. The overall dimensions of the Gateway One: 17.4” tall, 18” wide and 1.5” thick at the top and about 4” thick at the base. The body weighs about 22 lbs.
The Gateway One model GZ7220 comes with a super-speedy Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 processor up to 2.0GHz with an 800MHz bus. Our test model has the 2.0GHz processor and 3GB PC2-5300 DDR2 RAM. The Gateway One can be upgraded to 4GB RAM, which makes it absolutely scream.
While configurations may vary, the GZ7220 model comes with a 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2600XT video card with discreet video RAM. This is a great option for a compact, all-in-one system. The only downside however, is the lack of an external video port.
While the base configurations of the Gateway One include one 7200 RPM SATA II hard drive, the system can be upgraded to two hard drives, effectively doubling your storage space or allowing for software RAID configurations.
The wireless keyboard and wireless mouse (aka “River Rock Wireless Optical 2-Button Touch-Wheel”) are new and improved. The keys on the keyboard are standard matte black just like all other keys, however the frame and face of the keyboard is overlaid with a clear Plexiglas fascia. This makes the keyboard a near twin to the Gateway One body. The mouse, on the other hand, does not have any Plexiglas; but it sports a new design as well. The scroll mouse and split right/left mouse buttons are gone. In their place is a single round button that intelligently knows whether you’re right-clicking, left-clicking or scrolling up and down. Gateway did very well with this design; however it will probably get a thumbs-down from gamers, Photoshop users and others who rely on very specific mouse control.
The Gateway One has a minimal number of connections and ports on its body. The gigabit Ethernet port, for example, has been removed from the body and placed on the power brick. While the body has three USB 2.0 ports on the left side, there are four more USB 2.0 ports on the power brick. According to Gateway, this is intended to give the Gateway One computer a cleaner, refined look – fewer rogue cables sprouting forth from the computer equals a more aesthetic work space.
On the left side of the computer there are, as mentioned above, three USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a FireWire 400 port (full sized 6-pin, not the rinky-dink 4-port connections of yore), a 5-in-1 media card reader (SD, MMC, XD, MS and MS Pro), a headphone/speaker jack and an analog input. The right side of the Gateway One is very minimalist – just a slot loading DVD drive, much like the rival iMac computer. The DVD drive is an 8X SuperMulti Drive that will burn CDs, DVDs and dual-layer DVDs.
The Gateway One w/ keyboard and remote
For Skype and video chat users, the Gateway One has a removable webcam. It connects to the very top of the computer via a mini-USB. It’s easy to set up and use and it has a 1.3 megapixel resolution.
Another neat feature of the Gateway One is the high definition audio built-in. It has the ability to output 8-channel audio to equally-equipped speakers. 8-channel audio is awesome for DVDs and high-bit rate or lossless audio. Not many people have speaker systems that’ll take advantage of the full capabilities of the Gateway One’s sound card, but it’s nice to know that the option is there.
The add-on webcam
The Gateway One comes with Windows Vista Home Premium. Whether that’s a feature or flaw is up to you. As of this writing, Gateway does not offer a Windows XP Pro option, however you can buy a stand-alone XP license and perform your own reverse upgrade.
This version of Windows Vista includes Windows Media center, perfect for watching movies, and watching and/or recording television.
While not built in to the Gateway One, Gateway includes an analog/digital TV tuner with 3-D comb. The tuner connects by USB 2.0, so it can be set on a desk or table, or connected to the power brick and hidden from sight. The tuner box itself has an RF input and antenna, S-Video out.
Because the Gateway One comes with Vista home Premium edition with Windows Media Center built in, Gateway includes a sleek remote control. The remote is designed similarly to the keyboard, with an over-extended Plexiglas face. The buttons control all necessary media functions. Thankfully, the buttons are sized very comfortably – not too big, not too small.
The included remote control
In a seemingly kooky move, Gateway makes three models of the Gateway One computer, but only sells one directly from their website. The other two models are available exclusively at Best Buy.
Vista and the “Windows Experience Index”
Microsoft’s Windows Experience Index is a numeric grading system that rates how computer hardware holds up against the rigors of Windows Vista. It’s based on a scale of 1 to 5.9, 1 being absolute worst and 5.9 being a hardcore gamers’ dream.
The Gateway One GZ7220, when configured like our test system, rates a 4.5 on the WEI scale. The Core 2 Duo processor gets a 4.9. The 3GB of RAM rates 4.5 and the SATA drive rates 5.9 (excellent). The 256MB ATI video card gets a relatively impressive 4.5.
The folks at Gateway should be pretty happy with the WEI rating and so should consumers.
Setup and Use
Setting up the Gateway One is about as easy as it gets for a PC – perhaps not as easy as setting up an iMac, but it’s darn close. There are no video cables to connect to a monitor, no cable for the keyboard and no cable for the mouse.
Remove the Gateway One from the product packaging and you’ll see that there are only a few pieces that you’ll have to deal with. First and foremost, place the body of the Gateway One on a desk or table. It’s important to note that there’s a sliding foot on the rear side of the Gateway One. It acts as a stabilizer so the computer doesn’t tip over. When setting the Gateway One on a flat surface, gently press down and back on the top of the computer and you’ll see the stabilizing foot slide into place. If you don’t set the stabilizing foot into place, the Gateway One could tip over unexpectedly.
Next, remove the keyboard and mouse from the box and set them in front of the Gateway One computer. Note the slick look of the clear plastic keyboard overlay. Check out the mouse – there’s no scroll wheel! The mouse has a sensor built in that recognizes your finger movements for scrolling up and down. Pretty cool, huh?
The last major step of setup involves the power brick AC Adapter. Connect the power brick to a surge-protected wall outlet. (If you don’t have a surge protector, get yourself one right away. The Gateway One isn’t a cheap computer, so it should be properly protected from dangerous power surges.) Then connect the special all-in-one cable from the back of the Gateway One computer to the power brick. The all-in-one cable carries power, Ethernet (Internet or network traffic), USB and digital audio.
If you have a DSL or cable modem, or if you use a router, connect the Ethernet cable from the modem/router to the Ethernet jack in the Gateway One power brick. The Gateway One also has built-in wireless Internet, so if you have a wireless router and want to skip cables, you can.
Turn the Gateway One on by pressing the power button located just behind the bottom right side of the computer. Proceed through the Windows Vista setup steps as displayed on the screen.
As mentioned earlier, the Gateway One has a mini-USB webcam that can be removed if desired. Setting up the webcam is as easy as plugging it in. As for using it to record videos or engage in video chat, the webcam is about average quality. The colors of recorded video are somewhat washed out and not-so-special. They’re low-contrast, too. Motion is clean, however, and that’s probably the most critical aspect.
Sadly, the webcam picks up all kinds of ambient noise, including the internal hard drive(s). When playing back recorded video, the sound of drives spinning and accessing data can be clearly heard.
On a positive note, the 802.11n wireless radio works like a charm. Unlike other PCs that have somewhat sloppy control of 802.11n, the Gateway One connects and holds onto 802.11n networks like a Doberman holds on to a meaty steak bone.
An unfortunate fact for dual-monitor enthusiasts, the Gateway One computer does not have a video port allowing for a second monitor. Unless you have a USB-based external monitor, the Gateway One is a single-screen system.
The LCD Screen
The LCD screen on the Gateway One has a resolution of 1440×900, typical for 19” LCDs. For typical computing, 1440×900 is a very satisfactory resolution – good for Microsoft Office, web browsing, picture viewing, etc. It’s also fine for most video games and for watching DVDs and TV. It begins to get cramped when using programs like Photoshop where a lot of screen real estate is essential.
As for screen quality, the Gateway One gets a big thumbs up. The screen is very nice, clean and crisp. The glossy front of the computer helps bring out vibrant colors and enhances color contrast. Photos and video images look rich and lifelike.
Video quality is very good – minimal pixilation and artifacting was experienced when playing DVDs full-screen. The Bourne Identity, chock full of very dark and high contrast sequences, looked very, very nice, however there was one notable downside. Deep blacks rendered as very dark grays. The backlighting just doesn’t go dark enough. It’s a little disappointing, but luckily it’s only obvious to the very attentive.
The Gateway One is a super sleek all-in-one computer that will appeal to a wide audience. It’s incredibly easy to set up and use, which makes it perfect for folks who are new to computers or who want simplicity. It’s fast and efficient – great for Photoshop, games and all kinds of productivity applications. It’s sexy and thin, excellent for use in studio apartments, hip dorms, high-class businesses, etc.
The Gateway One is an all-around great computer, but it certainly isn’t flawless. It won’t appeal to professional photographers or those who want dual monitor setups. Pros will want a more hardcore machine with dual DVI out. For everyone else, the Gateway One is a very worthy system.
• Super sexy design with no ugly cables
• Very fast hardware
• Rare dual-hard-drive upgrade option
• Easy to set up and use
• 802.11b/g/n wireless built in
• Affordable and cool
• Fans can sometimes be noisy
• Super reflective screen & bezel
• Video shows deep blacks as dark grays
• Only one screen size available
• No external monitor output
• Webcam picks up loud hard drive noises