April 30, 2012
- Inexpensive price
- Comfortable keyboard
- Solid performance
- Long battery life
- No USB 3.0
- Slightly dim display
- Mouse touchpad design issues
The Gateway NV57H54u is a 15.6-inch powerhouse laptop that offers great performance, a comfortable keyboard and long battery life all without a high price. It does suffer from a mildly dim display and some touchpad issues, but other than that, it's a solid buy.
We certainly see our fair share of laptops coming onto the review desk of TechReviewSource, so sometimes they all seem the same. It's important for laptop manufacturers to make models that are unique and stand out from the crowd because they can all tend to look the same to customers too. This Gateway laptop looks to create some uniqueness through both power and price, both resonate with consumers. An example of a similar laptop to this is a Toshiba Satellite C655-S5542 that we also reviewed. It has an inexpensive price tag but doesn't set itself apart because it lacks in performance and extras, like HDMI-out.
The design of the Gateway NV57H54u is relatively straightforward with a glossy black plastic chassis with a modest geometric design on it. The lid of the laptop does pickup fingerprints quite easily, so be aware of that if that isn't something you like. In size it measures 15.0 x 1.3 x 10.0-inches (whd) and weighs 5.7-pounds. That makes it a little thicker than some other 15-inch models, but it certainly isn't anything non-portable by any means.
Gateway's 15.6-inch display has a native resolution of 1366 x 768-pixels, which is on-par with other similar laptops. We found the display to have a slightly dimmer backlight than some of the other laptops we've seen, but nothing major. The display also has a glossy finish, so as a result a lot of reflections can be seen.
The Gateway NV57H54u's keyboard is an island-style layout that includes a full numeric keypad. The keys offered good feedback and felt springy with no flex. The touchpad, however, was a slightly different story. The pad's surface had too much friction for our liking, so finer cursor movements were slightly more trickier. Also, the single bar button beneath the keyboard was stiff and had a fairly large "dead zone" in the middle. We are definitely fans of two, discrete mouse buttons for right and left clicking.
In terms of ports, this laptop has three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI-out, VGA-out, gigabit Ethernet, the usual audio jacks and a 5-in-1 memory card reader. There is also a tray-loading DVD+/-RW optical disc drive and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi wireless. The obvious lack of USB 3.0 disappointed us because it's almost silly to sell new computers without support for the upcoming USB standard.
The internal specifications of the Gateway NV57H54u include an Intel Core i3-2350M (2.3GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics. In benchmark testing with PCMark7, we obtained a score of 2,044, which is right around the category average. In our use, we had no issues multitasking or watching HD streaming media from the Internet. For the price of about $500, this laptop definitely has good bang for the buck as they say.
Gaming performance is so-so and allows you to play some of today's 3D games on dialed down graphics settings. We didn't count that against this laptop since it isn't really designed (or priced) for that use. If you want a quality 15-inch notebook for gaming that also has an affordable price tag, check out the Toshiba Satellite P755D-S5172 that we reviewed in earlier this month.
Battery life is another one of this laptop's selling points. In our testing, we obtained about 5:45-hours of battery life, which is nearly an hour more than the category average.