Gateway Solo 9500
The 7.5-pound gateway solo 9500 features a massive, 15.7-inch display and is a true desktop replacement. Mated to a fast Pentium III Mobile Processor running at a swift 1GHz with 128MB of RAM and a DVD-ROM player, the Solo 9500 is a multimedia tour de force, ranking with the top desktop systems of just a year ago, in terms of performance and features.
At a display resolution of 1280 by 1024, there's enough room to keep a few windows open at once without being cramped.
Thanks to the speedy processor, generous amount of RAM, and 16MB of video memory, DVDs play as smoothly as if they were being played on a stand-alone player. Plus, the included player software allows simple, slider-control adjustments of volume, color control, and brightness right on the screen.
Overall, images were sharp, although sitting too close to the screen (as you would on an airplane) will reveal some slight scan lines and blurriness on lower-quality DVD transfers. Audio performance from the two front-mounted speakers was somewhat small and tinny-sounding, but it improved slightly when we were sitting a bit further back from the notebook.
Beyond the DVD player, the Solo 9500 features a variety of amenities designed to help you stay productive: An internal 10/100Mbps, internal Ethernet card, two USB ports, a NTSC/PAL-video out port, and an optical connector.
All told, the Solo 9500 is a large notebook that mimics the functionality of a desktop, while still being portable enough for travelers.
Starting at $1,800
PROS: Large display
CONS: Heavier than most portables