elementary, my dear watson —
We’ll give you three guesses, and one hint: Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Back in 2007, Taiwan-based PC manufacturer Acer bought the once-iconic Gateway brand in order to stick a thumb in the eye of rival OEM Lenovo and increase its US market presence. In the 13 years since, the Gateway brand has languished largely unused, while Acer built up its own name in the United States directly. The cow is officially back now, though, with a new line of mostly budget, Walmart-exclusive Gateway laptops.
The new line ranges from $180 to $1,000, and several models seem interesting—but when we looked closer, we found a familiar and not particularly attractive name behind the brand. Gateway is also making two models of Android tablet—an 8″ GWAT8-1 which doesn’t appear to be available retail yet, and a 10″ model available at Walmart for $67. Trying to find more detail on the GWAT8-1 led us to a surprising discovery—it’s actually made (or imported) by EVOO.
In June of this year, we reviewed and absolutely despised a $140 EVOO laptop—a device powered by an AMD A4-9120e CPU, just like the cheapest model of Gateway laptop in the table above. The new GWTN116-1BL has twice the RAM and storage compared to the effectively uncooled, drastically underclocked, and absolutely bletcherous EVOO EV-C-116-5—but when we went sleuthing, we discovered shipping records indicating that it, too, is an EVOO system.
More accurately, EVOO imports devices made by Shenzhen Bmorn Technology, a Chinese national brand. We found US Customs records of EVOO importing from Bmorn, with devices under both the Gateway brand and EVOO’s own inside the same shipment.
An Acer representative confirmed later that, although Acer does own the Gateway brand, it is not directly involved in the production or manufacture of these devices.
The new Gateway laptop lineup
|11.6″ FHD Ultra Slim GWTN116-1BL||AMD A4-9120e||4GiB||64GB||$180|
|11.6″ FHD 2-in-1 Convertible GWTC116-1PR||Intel Celeron N3350||4GiB||64GB||$200|
|14.1″ FHD Ultra Slim GWTN141-2PR||AMD Ryzen 3 3200U||4GiB||128GB||$350|
|15.6″ FHD Ultra Slim GWTN156-1BL||Intel Core i5-1035G1||16GiB||256GB||$500|
|15.6″ Creator Series GWTN156-2BK||AMD Ryzen 5 4600H||8GiB||256GB||$800|
|15.6″ Creator Series GWTN156-3BK||Intel Core i5-10300H||8GiB||256GB||$1000|
The first four models in this price-ranked list are available in black, blue, green, or purple; the more expensive Creator Series machines are available in black only.
All of these systems come with integrated graphics, except for the GWTN156-3BK. It features a discrete Nvidia 2060RTX instead.
The quest for a good, cheap laptop continues
If you’re willing to give EVOO a second try, the 15.6″ laptop with Ice Lake i5-1035G1 seems like an obvious pick. It’s pretty inexpensive at $500 but offers 16GiB of RAM—twice as much as the more expensive Creator Series models—as well as a solid CPU. But at only $350, the Ryzen 3200U model grabbed our attention even harder.
Last year’s Ryzen mobile CPUs aren’t as great as this year’s Renoir, and the 3200U is only a dual-core part. But its per-core performance is just about on par with the i5-1035G1. We expect the 3200U will be powerful enough to make for a decent overall experience for folks who need “a real laptop” but have serious budget constraints.
This, of course, overlooks the elephant in the room—the EVOO connection. And “connection” probably isn’t even a strong-enough word—both EVOO- and Gateway-branded laptops come from the same supplier to the same receiver (EVOO itself) in the same shipments.
We’ve heard people say decent things about EVOO’s higher-end laptops, so it’s possible that some of these will turn out to be a good deal. We intend to test and review at least one of them here soon—but in the meantime, we’d advise some caution with the new “Gateway” brand.
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