Gateway E-295C/C-140x Tablet PC Review

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Gateway E-295C/C-140x Tablet PC Review

Users everywhere have been talking about Gateway’s newest 14-inch tablet, the E-295C or as some know it the C-140x. I mean it is a beast. It runs a 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo processor and has a 60GB hard drive, which can be upgraded. It’s a little on the heavy side, but it is full of features and has plenty of battery options to give you power all-day.


The Gateway E-295C/C-140x Tablet PC. (view large image)

The Gateway E-295C/C-140x Tablet PC specs as reviewed (tested price $1,877.98)

CPU Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 1.8GHz
OS Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
RAM 1GB DDR2 SDRAM (2-512MB modules)
Display 14.0" WXGA TFT Active Matrix (1280 x 768 max. resolution) w/ Gateway Executive Stylus (by Wacom)
Graphics Intel GMA X3100 graphics
Audio Integrated speakers
Hard Drive 60GB (5400 rpm) Serial ATA hard drive
Optical Drive 8x Multi-Format Dual Layer DVD-RW with DVD-RAM
I/O ports
  • 3 x USB
  • 1 x VGA – 15 pin
  • 1 x IEEE 1394 (Firewire)
  • 1 x Type II PC Card slot
  • 7-in-1 Media Card reader
  • 1 x Microphone-in
  • 1x Headphone 
Communications
  • Intel 3945 (802.11a/b/g)
  • V.92 56K modem
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 2.0
Dimensions/Weight
  • 13.58" W x 11.14"D x 1.26-1.35" H
  • 6.9 pounds with 8-cell battery
Battery/power Standard 8-cell Lithium-Ion, Optional 6-cell and 12-cell Lithium-Ion

 

Design and Build

As I mentioned earlier the E-295C and the C-140x are the same tablet. The E-295C is targeted toward the education sector while the C-140x is for the consumer market. They have the same design and features, just a few different optional features and upgrades. The overall design is solid and the matte black appearance hides fingerprints well. This tablet isn’t your ultraportable friend though.


The E-295C converting into tablet mode. (view large image)

I wouldn’t recommend carrying it around with you for long periods of time. I mean it weighs in around 6.9lbs and has a 14" screen, making it kind of awkward to move around. The E-295C has all the features of your standard Tablet PC, but yet it seems more functional as a notebook.

The hinge is sturdy and there isn’t much screen wobble, so converting into tablet mode is fine, but the screen doesn’t automatically change orientation, which is annoying. The only screen wobble I noticed was from front to back, when the lid moves. This isn’t anything you will notice unless you are moving your tablet around a lot. The Wacom pen works great and makes it easy to take notes and although it is on heavy side, it has an optical drive and many other features. The price is very reasonable as well.

Display

The E-295C has a nice display, but it isn’t anything I would brag about. The 14" WXGA TFT Active Matrix display is easy to read, but the brightness can only be adjusted to three different levels. Even when set to the highest level lighter colors like white and yellow still look washed out and dull. There wasn’t much graininess to the screen and in tablet mode I had no problem with screen glare or viewing angles. The screen doesn’t automatically change orientation though, which would be nice, but it does have a button on the screen for you to change it yourself.


The E-295C display in tablet mode with pen. (view large image)

Some users prefer a bigger screen and the E-295C definitely has that, in fact I think it is the only tablet on the market right now with a 14-inch screen. It really is going to depend on what you want to use the E-295C for. When outdoors in direct light the review unit I had was impossible to read but inside my office I had no problems. It would actually be perfect for presentations due to the larger screen size.

Processor and System Performance

Performance wise I had no problems with the E-295C. Browsing the Web and running multiple applications was fast. There isn’t much of a hard drive on my review unit, but you can upgrade for more space. The 1.8GHz processor really helps this tablet. I didn’t experience any lag when browsing and when booting-up I only had to wait like 30 seconds for the start screen. I don’t think many users will be disappointed with the performance it offers.

Comparison Results for PCMark05

PCMark05 measures the systems performance as a whole: The E-295C did very well against it’s competitors.

Notebook PCMark05 Score
Gateway E-295C/C-140x (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 3,257 PCMarks
HP Compaq 2710p (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 2,453 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (Intel Core 2 Duo 1.6GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 3,473 PCMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, GMA X3100 graphics) 4,171 PCMarks
Gateway E-155C (Intel Core 2 Duo ULV 1.06GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,205 PCMarks
LG C1 (Intel Core Duo 1.2GHz, Nvidia Go 7300) 2,568 PCMarks
Toshiba R400 (Intel Core Duo ULV 1.2GHz, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,187 PCMarks
HP tx1000 (AMD Turion X2 2.0GHz, Nvidia Go 6150) 3,052 PCMarks
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950 graphics) 2,724 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo) 2,860 PCMarks
Panasonic ToughBook T4 (Intel 1.20GHz LV) 1,390 PCMarks
Asus R2H (900MHz Celeron M) 845 PCMarks
Toshiba Tecra M6 (1.66GHz Intel T2300E, Intel GMA 950) 2,732 PCMarks

 

Super Pi

In the below results of Super Pi, where the processor is timed in calculating Pi to 2 million digits:

Notebook Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits
Gateway E-295C (1.8GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 9s
HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 39s
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo) 1m 10s
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo) 54s
Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo) 1m 58s
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo) 1m 49s
Toshiba R400 (1.2GHz ULV Core Duo) 2m 10s
Asus R1F (1.66GHz Core Duo) 1m 20s
Lenovo ThinkPad X60t (1.66GHz LV Core Duo) 1m 24s
IBM ThinkPad X41t (1.5GHz LV Pentium M) 2m 02s
HP TC4400 Tablet PC (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 13s
Dell Latitude X1 (1.1 GHz ULV Pentium M) 2m 40s
Dell Latitude D420 (1.06GHz Core Solo ULV) 2m 11s
Toshiba Portege M400 (1.83GHz Core Duo ) 1m 19s

 

Comparison Results for 3Dmark05

3DMark05 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook, and overall the E-295C did good considering it has integrated graphics.

Notebook 3D Mark 05 Results
Gateway E-295C/C-140x (1.8GHz Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics) 779 3DMarks
HP Compaq 2710p (1.2GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, GMA X3100 graphics) 634 3DMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (1.6GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics) 812 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook T4220 (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA X3100 graphics) 925 3DMarks
Gateway E-155C (1.06GHz ULV Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 500 3DMarks
LG C1 (1.2GHz Intel Core Duo, Nvidia Go 7300) 1,392 3DMarks
Fujitsu LifeBook S2210 (1.6GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-52, ATI x1150) 810 3DMarks
PortableOne UX (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo, Intel GMA 950) 590 3DMarks
Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950) 519 3DMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,092 3DMarks
Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,273 3DMarks

 

HDTune Results

Below are the results from running the HDTune benchmark that tests hard drive performance:

 

Keyboard/Touchpad/Pen

The keyboard was impressive. It has minimal flex and typing on the flat keys was easy. I could type fast and it was quiet. The keyboard is full size and the font is bold, so it is easy to read even in not so well lite areas. The entire tablet is matte black including the keyboard, so you don’t have to worry about dirt here either. On the inside of the tablet around the keyboard there are symbols for where your ports are located, which is a convenient and helpful feature.


The E-295C keyboard and touchpad. (view large image)

The touchpad is sunken down a little, so your finger doesn’t ever slide off. It also has a nice built in scroll up/down pad on the side of it for quick viewing of pages. It is a good size and it is responsive. I didn’t come across any problems with it.

When it comes to pen input the E-295C is one of the best, besides the fact the Wacom pen doesn’t have an eraser on top. The pen is solid and really is the size of an ink pen, maybe even a little longer than some. It is easy to write with and works great with the active digitizer. It is responsive and accurate, but there is no Vista, so the handwriting recognition needs to be trained a bit. Windows XP Tablet Edition works well with the system though. I personally liked the silo for the pen as well. It is located on the bottom of the tablet where a latch releases it. It sits in there nice and securely, so you don’t have to worry about losing this pen.

Tablet PC Features

There are four dedicated tablet buttons on the front of the screen, these are not programmable, but they do come in handy like for changing the screen orientation or locking it. It also has a directional pad that helps when navigating in tablet mode. The E-295C doesn’t have Vista, so the pen flicks aren’t on the bottom toolbar waiting to be programed.

The hinge is solid and it turns 180 degrees into tablet mode in seconds. It is heavy to carry around, but the option is always there. The Wacom pen works great and is accurate. There is no touchscreen for this model, but the active digitizer lets you navigate through Web pages without any problems. The latch that locks the tablet closed either in notebook or tablet mode is magnetic and it isn’t full proof. If you don’t push it shut hard than the screen moves around and it doesn’t say closed, it can be a pain.

Ports

The E-295C is one of the first tablets I have seen with such a good array of ports, without using a docking solution. It has pretty much anything a user could need, I guess that is why it reminds me of a notebook. Then again it is a giant tablet, so you expect it to come packed with the goodies. It has three USB ports, one VGA-15pin, one IEEE 1394, one Type II PC Card slot, one 7-in-1 Media Card reader, and one microphone and headphone port.


Front view of the Gateway E-295C. (view large image)


Left side view of the ports. (view large image)


Right side view of the ports. (view large image)


Back view of the Gateway E-295C. (view large image)


Top view of the Gateway E-295C with 8-cell battery attached. (view large image)

Battery

You have plenty of battery options with the E-295C as well. This tablet stays powered up all day, so you never miss a moment of work. It comes standard with an 8-cell Lithium-Ion battery, which on your standard balanced power setting lasted me for a little over five hours.

The other two optional batteries that came with my review unit were a 6-cell and a 12-cell. The 6-cell is your basic battery, lasting about three to three and half hours, but when it came to the 12-cell, wow. I could use the 12-cell battery all day. It lasted me about seven hours. If you adjust the power settings you can get even more battery life, but then it gets harder to read the screen and you lose some performance.

Heat and Noise

I didn’t experience any heat or noise issues with the E-295C. I was surprised. I mean for such a big tablet it was quiet and didn’t give off a lot of heat. Even when the 1.8GHz processor was running benchmarks and other applications, I felt no heat, in fact it barely got warm.

There wasn’t much noise either. The fan kicked on very lightly when running benchmarks and during boot-up, but I barely noticed it. The optical drive makes some noise, but nothing out of the ordinary, just the typical noises you get when playing a CD or DVD. I will have to say this tablet is quiet and definitely wouldn’t disturb your neighbor at the library.

Speakers

Gateway placed the speakers on the E-295C on the front of the tablet, which seems to be the perfect location. The few tablets I have tested that have the speakers located on the front put out clearer sound. There is less distortion and you can hear it perfectly while in tablet mode. The two little speakers put out good sound quality and I tested them with different genres of music from Beethoven to Dave Mathews. There isn’t much bass, but at loud volume levels the sound is still crisp. You could definitely jam out to your iTunes with this tablet.


A comparison between the E-295C (left) and the Asus R1 (right), what a difference. (view large image)

Software

I was pleased that there wasn’t much bloatware on the E-295C. It did have Symantec Antivirus, which kept popping up and was annoying just like all the other antivirus softwares out there, but I disabled it. You have to remember I have the E-295C not the C-140x, so my review unit had software on it for the education market. It had OneNote 2007, Microsoft Works 8.5, the Microsoft Education Pack for Tablet PCs and the Experience Pack for Tablet PCs. The Education Pack has GoBinder, which is great for keeping students organized. Your typical Windows Media Player and Movie Maker were installed and Adobe Reader 7.0. Overall the E-295C comes with some good software for college students. I don’t believe the C-140x comes with all these programs though.

Wireless

The E-295C has Intel 3945 (802.11a/b/g) wireless, 10/100/1000 Ethernet and Bluetooth. I have to say though I had problems picking up wireless signals at my house and my connection was slow. It may have just been the area, but it still wasn’t reliable coverage. At my office though it picked up on our wireless with no problems and was fast. I didn’t get disconnected there or have any problems, so you may not want to use this tablet anywhere remote. The Bluetooth worked fine, in fact at home I connected a Logitech Bluetooth mouse. It was responsive and easy to install. The E-295C is very user friendly.

Conclusion

The E-295C is a solid tablet, the design isn’t eye catching, but the size is. It looks very plain, but is full of features and ports. I personally like the matte black appearance because it is sleek and easy to clean. At first I couldn’t see what all the hype was about, I mean it is a 14-inch tablet, who would want to carry it around. After using it though, I realized that just because it is a little on the heavy side doesn’t mean it isn’t functional. In fact it doubles as a notebook. You have the tablet functionality and Wacom input, but with a larger screen, more ports, an optical drive and great battery life. Although I wish the screen was a little brighter and the latch mechanism that locks the lid was more secure.

Pros

  • Great battery selection and life
  • Wacom pen is easy to use and responsive, nice input
  • Nice array of ports
  • 14-inch display has good viewing angles
  • Speakers put out good sound quality

Cons

  • Wireless connection a little sketchy in some areas
  • Latch to lock lid doesn’t always stay locked
  • When in tablet mode the display doesn’t automatically change

Pricing and Availability

Visit Gateway’s website for more information on the E-295C and the C-140x. Prices start at $949 for the C-140x and $1,549 for the E-295C depending on what configuration you choose. Remember the E-295C is listed under the education tab and the C-140x is under the home and home office tab.

 

 


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