Gateway Ultra Slim Notebook Laptop GWTN141-4 Review

Gateway Ultra Slim Notebook Laptop GWTN141-4 Review

Buy it at Amazon: Gateway Ultra Slim Notebook Laptop GWTN141-4 [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Lightweight, bright colorful display, fast boot up.

A big thank you to Gateway for sending me this gorgeous laptop to review. It comes with a small power brick and a quick start card that basically tells you to plug the laptop in and press the power button. On the right side of the card is the list of all the features and ports on the laptop which we’ll take a look at next. But first, let’s talk about the brushed aluminum upper shell. It has a smooth matte finish that comes in four colors, blue, black, green, or rose gold. The edges are rounded and if we turn it around here, the logo opens away from you. On the left hand side are a Kensington lock slot, charging port, USB 3.0 port, HDMI output, a data-only USB-C port, and status LED. On the right hand side you’ll find a second USB 3.0 port, headphone jack, and microSD card with its status LED. On the bottom of the laptop there are four rubber feet in the corners to keep it from sliding on your desk, and you’ll notice the back ones are slightly thicker so that the laptop pitches forward ever so slightly. On the left side there’s an access panel for installing an M.2 SSD for additional storage space and there are two fan vents on the bottom for heat dissipation. Note that the bottom of the case is made from a lightweight plastic and not metal. The weight of the laptop is just over 3.5 pounds. The dimensions of the laptop are 13” x 8.75” and this ultra thin series is just about 5/8” thick.

The charger for the laptop is this plastic 2.25” square by 1 inch thick power brick. It has a flip out plug for easier transport in a bag and a 6.5’ integrated cable that is not removable. It plugs into the barrel port at the left hand side of the laptop towards the back and the status LED will be red when charging and turns green when the laptop is fully charged. The first time you power on the laptop, you’ll have to go through the typical Windows 10 setup. So while we’re waiting, let’s dive a little bit into the specs. This model is the GWTN141-4 and inside is a 10th Generation Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU at 1 GHz, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The integrated GPU is an Intel UHD Graphics card at 100 MHz, so you’ll be able to watch movies or play casual games at 1080p 60 fps on without a problem. The same is true if you hook up a second monitor via the HDMI port.

The Windows setup is audio guided by Microsoft’s voice assistant, Cortana, and you can use voice commands for some of the prompts, but you can also mute the audio and follow the captions on the screen instead. Here’s an example of a voice prompt. You’ll notice that the integrated speakers located at the left and right side above the keyboard aren’t that great sounding, despite being tuned by THX, but they’re at least serviceable. You’ll find much better performance out of externally plugged in headphones or speakers, especially if they feature 7.1 surround sound or virtual surround sound. While we’re here, let me point of the power, caps lock, and num lock LED indicators next to the left speaker which illuminate white when on.

Thankfully, Windows setup only takes about 10 minutes to complete. During setup, you can choose to secure your computer with fingerprint sign-in, utilizing the fingerprint reader built into the upper left-hand corner of the mouse trackpad. All you have to do is scan your finger about 10 times until the progress bar is filled. Then you should be able to unlock your computer by scanning your finger instead of entering a password which in general was reliable and quick. You’ll notice that the IPS display has a high-gloss hard-plastic surface and while it looks super clear and glasslike, it also tends to show reflections and pick up fingerprints readily, so it’s a good thing it’s not a touchscreen. Also the bezels around the screen are pretty thick so you do lose a bit of screen real estate to that for the size.

The keyboard spans the full width of the laptop, with full-sized low-profile keys, but note that they are not backlit, which may make them difficult to see at night or in dark conditions. Nevertheless, the keys are responsive, have a slight but firm spring to them, and aren’t very loud when typing. The lower blue icons are the special function keys which you can access by holding down the Fn key and pressing the key. Like trackpad toggle, function keys which are secondary to volume, brightness, and playback controls, and since there is no ten-key number pad, those keys are secondary to the keys on the right hand side. You can also activate them by turning on the numlock function on the Delete key.

The trackpad is  about 4 inches wide by 2 3/4 inches long and as I mentioned earlier has the fingerprint reader embedded in this corner, so that’s actually a dead spot in terms of cursor movement. It has the standard left and right mouse click in the lower corners of their respective corners, but also a weird click action in the middle of the trackpad which also performs a left mouse click.

The battery is rated up to 10 hours of use, depending on your brightness level and level of use during that time, though as you can see, at about 55% remaining at my current settings, I’ll only get a little under 3.5 hours, so 6 hours on a full charge might be a more conservatively accurate estimate.

Now you can see here that despite being rated as a 1 GHZ processor, you’re going to see the speed jump up above that periodically. This is because the CPU can actually go up to 3.6 GHz and is clocked lower for better battery life performance. You can of course change this in the BIOS by setting the ‘Intel Turbo Boost’ option from Battery to Performance to get more power out of it. Note that this may impact the life of your components in the long run, but doesn’t seem to push the processor hard enough to make the fan run constantly either.

I should note that there’s a built-in 1 MP webcam at the top center of the screen which I’m recording on now, but at 1 MP the quality of the video from it will be pretty basic and while usable for video chats like Zoom or Skype is not a great option for content creators.

There’s also built-in Bluetooth 5.1 for stable, low-energy, and low-latency connections, so when you watch movies on wireless headphones there’s no delay between the audio and the video; and the Wi-Fi card is an 802.11 ac, so supports gigabit speeds but it’ll only work on a 5 GHz network and not 2.4 GHz networks. Also there’s not Ethernet port option, so if you get this laptop, make sure you’ve got a wireless router that it can connect to or else you won’t be able to get on the internet.

As for upgrade options, you can add a second M.2 SSD up to 1 TB to the unit using the access panel on the bottom of the laptop, or you can remove the bottom shell and replace the pre-installed 256 GB one with a larger capacity, again capped to 1 TB. Opening up the laptop is relatively easy. Just remove the 11 screws on the bottom of the laptop and the SSD access panel, run a pry tool around the entire perimeter, and the bottom of the case should pop right off. Inside we see that the 16 GB of RAM is soldered to the motherboard, so that can’t be modified or upgraded. The pre-installed stock SSD can be found on the right hand side and that’s removable. Interestingly enough it’s marked PCIE x4 NVME or PCIE M.2 drives.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with this laptop. It’s a really nice mid-tier consumer grade laptop with a beautiful aesthetic that can handle a variety of daily computing needs for the average user, has decent power and battery life, and features quick boot up and load times. The new Gateway laptops are exclusives to Walmart and the ultra slim 14.1” model comes in a variety of configurations, with this one being the top of the line, but you can save some of the cost by going with more economical CPUs like the Intel Core i3, Ryzen 3, or Celeron chipset and less hard drive capacity and RAM.

Buy it at Amazon: Gateway Ultra Slim Notebook Laptop GWTN141-4 [Affiliate Link]

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