Me and my Gateway LT3103U

I know, I know. I’ve complained in the past about the limited value of netbooks, and now… well, confession time: I bought one, a Gateway LT3103U. I’m going to be using my MacBook Pro as my primary machine, which means I want to leave it plugged in to its monitor etc. at home. Because I’ll be commuting by Caltrain I wanted something small and portable to use for light writing, surfing, and so on.

I asked a large social alias at Microsoft for recommendations and got back a dozen or so. Some recommendations were based on price, some on battery life, and some on overall price/performance. I don’t need ultra-long battery life, and while I won’t say price was no object, I didn’t feel like it was the most important factor.

Why the LT3103U? In a word, the screen. It’s a beautiful, clear, sharp 1366 x 768. I experimented with a few 1024 x 600 screens at my local {Best Buy, Costco} but they were just too darn small. The Gateway also has a pretty nice full-size keyboard. It’s no Lenovo, but it’s miles better than most of the ones I tested. Performance with Win 7 is quite nice. Would an Atom N270 be faster? Maybe, but on the other hand I’d have to suffer the squinty little screens common on those devices. (Here’s an LT3103U review for your consideration.)

I found instructions to make a bootable Win 7 USB stick and built a Windows 7 Ultimate x64 stick. It worked flawlessly, and I commend the instructions to your attention. I don’t know how long the install took because I started it right before bed, but it was done when I got up 🙂

Chris Moates had notes on getting Win 7 drivers set up for the LT3103U. I didn’t burn the Gateway driver DVD (I don’t have a USB burner), so I just ran Windows Update on a wired connection. It found the correct ATI and wireless drivers with no problem, so all my hardware is fully functional (although I haven’t tested multitouch; that may require the Synaptics touchpad driver).

Now I need to install Windows Live Writer on it and see how it blogs 🙂

Update: I took it back to Best Buy. It was a delightful little machine, but it was just too small– the keyboard and screen are both better suited to someone with Arlene’s hand size than mine.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Me and my Gateway LT3103U

  1. Liam Colvin

    Several of the guys I work with bought the Gateways – they’re nice.
    I bought the VIA Nano Lenovo S12 – still working with Lenovo (read – waiting for them to do something) on the Windows 7 driver. Pretty good performance and about the same price…

  2. Tracy Ford

    I love my LT3103u. I bought it last December as a Christmas gift for a friend, but liked it so much I kept it for myself. I use it literally every day and it performs flawlessly. I too installed Windows 7 on it and had to download one driver (for the wireless) to get it right. This thing is fast, light, and has very good wifi reception. I couldn’t be happier.

  3. Gateway now has a driver page with THE WRONG DRIVERS for Windows 7 x64. I contacted support and they wanted me to download the Vista drivers, which is probably OK except for video and chipset, which is what I really need. They also tried to get me to contact pay support. Further, Gateway disabled AMD-V on this system, which in my book makes it a budget processor, not an “Athlon 64” as it is marketed. I will never buy Gateway again.