Gateway NV5214u Multimedia Notebook Review

Posted: Oct 2 2009, 12:00am CDT | by , Updated: Aug 10 2010, 9:28am CDT


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Features & Specifications
The Gateway NV5214u is a Best Buy exclusive notebook. The machine runs an AMD Athlon 64 X2 QL-64 dual core processor at 2.1GHz. The operating system is Windows Vista home premium and it has 4GB of RAM. Storage is to a 320GB HDD and the machine has 802.11n Wi-Fi. Power for the system comes from a 6-cell 4400mAh lithium-ion battery. Graphics are via ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics with up to 1919MB of HyperMemory. The screen is 15.6-inches and the keyboard is full-size with a number pad. Other features include VGA output and HDMI out.

We are going to get into the benchmarks for the Gateway NV5214u now and I will be using my iTunes encoding test, my movie encoding test, and Battery Eater Pro to test the battery life of the notebook. The first test up is Battery Eater Pro.

I mention my disclaimer each time I use Battery Eater Pro, and here it is again. This benchmark is very hard on the battery and you will likely see more life in the real world. With the LCD set at 100% brightness and no power saving features turned on the Gateway NV5214u battery lasted 61 minutes. That is not bad for a full size notebook with impressive performance, as you will see in a bit.

The next test up was my iTunes Encoding test where I take the Stone Temple Pilots Core CD in MP3 format and use iTunes to encode it to AAC and time the process with my trusty stopwatch. It took the Gateway NV5214u 2 minutes and 27 seconds to encode the entire album. That is good performance and puts the machine right up in the top five notebooks I have tested.

The final benchmark was my movie-encoding test where I take the Microsoft Magic of Flight video in 1080p and encode it using Windows Media Encoder to DVD quality with CD quality audio. It took the Gateway NV5214u 6 minutes and 31 seconds to encode the movie. Again, that is a top five performance for the machine.

In Use
After the benchmark dust settled, it was time to play with the computer and use it like your average user would. The full-size keyboard has larger keys than my Logitech Illuminated Keyboard that I type on with my desktop. The large keys make for comfortable typing and they have good tactile feedback and spacing.

The big 15.6-inch screen is glossy, which means lots of glare, but works well enough for multimedia use. This isn’t the best screen I have seen, but it offers decent colors and not smearing or tearing with video playback.

Visually the Gateway NV5214u is a very attractive notebook with a metallic gray and black lid that looks like faux carbon fiber. The machine also has black and silver trim giving it very good looks overall. The sound system of the Gateway NV5214u is decent with good levels of volume, but lacking in the bass department.