Gateway EC39C 13in laptop
Gateway EC39C review: A thin and light 13in laptop with a Core i5 CPU and an Intel SSD
- Thin and light design, Intel Core i5 CPU, solid-state drive
- Screen too glossy, poor touchpad, keyboard could be better
Gateway's EC39C is thin and light, yet it packs plenty of speed under its hood thanks to its Intel Core i5 CPU and Intel solid-state drive. It's a decent laptop that's let down by a poor touchpad and an overly glossy screen, and we think its keyboard could be better, too.
Price$ 1,899.00 (AUD)
The Gateway EC39C is a thin and light ultraportable notebook with an Intel Core i5 CPU and a solid-state drive (SSD) within its chassis. And it's a pretty thin chassis, too. It's only 16mm at its thickest point and only around 30mm with the lid closed. This slim profile is the Gateway's biggest selling point and lots of people in our office commented on how attractive it looks. However, there are some bad aspects to this notebook, too: Its touchpad is essentially a huge, awful button, its screen can sometimes double as a mirror, and its dual graphics cards didn't auto-switch properly in our tests.
Specifications and performance
The EC39C isn't MacBook Air–style thin, but the inclusion of an Intel Core i5-470UM CPU a 160GB Intel X25-M SSD give the laptop a good combination of mobility and speed. Furthermore, because of the ultra-low-voltage CPU and the solid-state drive, the notebook doesn't get too warm, so it can comfortably be used on your lap for a prolonged period of time. There is a fan on its side though that is audible when the CPU is under full load.
Around the Intel CPU and SSD, there are 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM and two graphics adapters: Intel HD graphics and an NVIDIA GeForce 310M graphics adapter. In our benchmarks, this configuration produced good all-round results. It recorded times of 1min 34sec and 1min 35sec in our Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tests, respectively; the MacBook Air took 1min 48sec, while other 13in Intel-based notebooks we've seen, such as the Dell Vostro V130, took 1min 40sec. The Gateway even managed to transcode a DVD file to an Xvid file in under two hours. However, the EC39C shouldn't be thought of as a machine with which to perform taxing tasks; it's built to be swift when dealing with typical office applications and Web and communication tasks.
In the graphics department, the Gateway can use either the integrated Intel HD adapter or the discrete 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 310M adapter. There isn't a physical switch for the adapters: The notebook is meant to do this automatically, or you can set manually choose which applications use a certain adapter in the NVIDIA adapter's driver program. But in our tests, the notebook didn't switch between them properly, nor did it register our adapter assignments until we updated the NVIDIA driver. When it came to performance, the Intel adapter recorded 1287 marks in 3DMark06, while the NVIDIA adapter recorded 3686 marks. The extra speed doesn't make the Gateway a candidate for gaming — it just gives it better capabilities when it comes to processing video and images.
The solid-state drive not only allows the notebook to run cooler than it would using a conventional, spinning drive, it also gives it plenty of speed when it comes to file transfers, and this was shown in our tests: The EC39C averaged a transfer speed of 64.24 megabytes per second.
As for battery life, the EC93C produced a reasonable time of 2hr 55min in our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video. It's a decent time for a 13in laptop with a first-generation Intel Core CPU.
The Gateway EC93C feels sturdy enough and it has hinges that allow the screen to tilt all the way back. The keyboard has isolated-style keys and they feel a little too shallow to press. We're not fans of the notebook's touchpad, which illuminates for no apparent reason, and which is also a button for no apparent reason. The whole touchpad is a button and it feels terrible to use when you have to right click — the entire pad moves. We're not sure why gateway has adopted such an awkward design. The status lights for the power button and Wi-Fi toggle are also too bright and colourful. A couple of nice white lights would suit it better.
Around the edges you'll find three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, headphone and microphone ports and an SD card slot. You also get a built-in webcam, Bluetooth and 802.11n Wi-Fi. There is an option to get built-in 3G as well.
Overall, the Gateway EC39C is a good machine, with a nice configuration that provides plenty of speed for everyday office applications and Web tasks. We like its thin and light design. You should consider it if you want a thin and light, yet well-performing laptop, but test out its keyboard and touchpad before you buy to see if they are up to your liking. They weren't to ours.
Become a fan of PC World Australia on Facebook
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Stay up to date with the latest news, reviews and features. Sign up to PC World’s newsletters
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Everything we think we know about Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3
- Lenovo's ThinkPad P71 will work with HTC, Oculus VR headsets
- Lenovo's Yoga A12 Android 2-in-1 has futuristic touch panel keyboard
- In PC comeback, ARM will battle Intel in Chromebooks and Windows 10
- Dell: Mainstream laptops with wireless charging are still years away
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)WA
- CCUser ResearcherNSW
- CCProject Support SpecialistVIC
- CCCommercial Contract AdministratorACT
- CCSalesforce - Functional Analyst (BA)NSW
- FTBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Life 400 DeveloperNSW
- TPSOE AdministratorQLD
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- TPAgile Project Manager. Sharepoint / PeoplesoftNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectNSW
- CCNetIQ Development & SupportNSW
- TPProject ManagerOther
- TPLead Change Manager - ERPVIC
- FTSalesforce Technical Consultant/Architect Global IT Company - SydneyNSW
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - NetApp SpecialistNSW
- TPNodeJS DeveloperNSW
- CCProject Manager (Event Management)NSW
- CCIT Infrastructure ArchitectNSW
- FTFull stack Developer - Senior (Java or C# and AngularJS) x 3QLD
- FTDynamics AX Functional Consultant (Sales & Marketing Modules)ACT
- FTLead PMONSW
- TPFront End DeveloperWA
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- FTSenior Project Manager - PERMANENTACT