Gateway P-170L QS Review: Stylin’ Mammoth Media Laptop

Gateway P-170L QS
In the epic struggle to come out on top of the media center heap, design and price can really set a laptop apart. Enter the Gateway P-170L QS, a stylish hulk of a desktop-replacement notebook. Unfortunately, this 17-inch widescreen wonder is hobbled by a lack of features, weak graphics, and no HD drive.

Measuring 11.4 by 15.7 by 1.5 inches (HWD) and weighing 8.5 pounds, the P-170L QS lives up to its pre-launch code name, Godzilla. The sleek chassis was designed using in-mold decoration, a process in which decorative art is imprinted beneath the glossy finish. The high-definition widescreen is delightful to look at and fine for multitasking. At 720p screen resolution, it falls a bit short of the 1080p boasted by some of its competitors, but that’s still enough to make HD content look good. Still, the absences of an HD DVD-ROM drive stings.

The system’s feature set is, at best, satisfactory. The three USB ports fall short of the competition. The FireWire port, which Gateway claims its customers aren’t using anymore, has been replaced by an eSATA port. Though eSATA peripherals are in their infancy, they offer significant performance improvements over FireWire and USB. The P170L QS also adds an HDMI-out port, convenient for displaying photo slide shows and presentations on a bigger screen. The 1.3-megapixel camera is handy for video chats, despite the weak included speakers.

The laptop’s 320GB worth of storage space (two 160GB hard drives) is enough to keep you downloading video and photo content for a long time. The P-170L QS performed well despite some mediocre aspects, particularly the graphics, which are integrated—
an unusual choice on such a big laptop. What the notebook lacks in 3D performance it makes up for in battery life, generating more than 3 hours on MobileMark 2007 using its 58-Wh battery.

Although the P-170L QS is a decent bargain when you factor in the price tag and new design, you’re getting only passable features and mediocre performance parts for your money.

Gateway P-170L QS Review
Price Range: $1,299 direct
Specs: 2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM; two 160GB, 5,400-rpm hard drives; 358MB Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 graphics; 17-inch, 1,440-by-900 display; 8.5-pound system weight (9.7-pound travel weight); 58-Wh, 5.2-Ah lithium ion battery; Windows Vista Home Premium.

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