Gateway offer low-price, high-spec Tablet PC, the E155C

Mainstream PC manufacturer Gateway have just unveiled their latest Tablet PC assault on the Best Buy masses, with the introduction of the E155C "Thin & Light Convertible Notebook".  They've obviously been studying their market, too; Gateway's first foray into pen-computing was very much a normal laptop with the addition of a swivel hinge and digitiser (in an act of cost-cutting they even eschewed the by-now industry standard Wacom digitiser panel), but the E155C has picked up on many of the successful innovations from other tablet manufacturers with the bonus of a typical low price.


Based around a 12.1-inch, 1280 x 800 widescreen that can be operated both with a dedicated Wacom stylus or directly with a finger, the 4.5lb machine also boasts an internal optical drive, dual-rotating hinge that should hopefully reduce the number of "snapping" accidents when users attempt to turn the screen the wrong way, and an Intel Core 2 Duo U7500 CPU.

Other tried and tested goodies include a biometric fingerprint scanner, a choice of three batteries (4, 6 and 8 cell units offering 3, 6 or 8 hours battery life respectively), ambient light sensor to adjust screen backlighting according the environment and what they're calling an "anti-reflection polarizer" which offers some degree of improved visibility in sunlight.  Gigabit ethernet is another treat, as is the news that a draft-N option to replace the standard a/b/g WiFi should be available at some point after launch. 

Perhaps most important is the price: $1,849.99 for the launch model, with a lower-spec variant called the C-120X arriving in May for $1,499.  That should see students and home users well served, since the spec list (reproduced in full below) measures up decidedly well to that of high-end alternatives such as Lenovo's X60t with its recent Core 2 Duo upgrade. 

They may be criticised by some for replicating not innovating, but everyone else will likely see this new Gateway machine for what it is: a lower-cost challenge to existing tablet manufacturers and a further attempt to break through into the mainstream.  With the greatly improved pen-computing technology in Vista – which Gateway claim this machine has been expressly designed for, although XP is still an option – and the insanely convenient passive/active touchscreen, the E155C could be the machine that follows through on Microsoft's long-standing predictions for the concept.


Operating Systems

Genuine Microsoft® Windows XP Tablet PC Edition1


Processor & Motherboard

Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Ultra Low Voltage Processor2

2 Execution Cores

Integrated 2MB Level 2 Cache

533 MHz FSB

Intel® 945GM Chipset

Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 950

Dual Channel DDR2 Memory



Dual-channel 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (runs at 533MHz)

Two 200-pin SODIMM Sockets on Motherboard

Both End-User Accessible

Expandable to 4GB 533 or 667 MHz DDR2

512MB DDR2 (1x512)

1024MB DDR2 (1x1024)

1024MB DDR2 (2x512)

2048MB DDR2 (2x1024)



Supports 2.5" Hard Drives



120GB SATA 5400RPM



12.1" WXGA TFT Active Matrix Color Display

Max Resolution: 1280 x 800

Display Colors: 262,144

3.3 V power supply

Anti-reflection polarizer for "sun-light readability"


Graphics, Sound & Multimedia

Integrated Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950

Up to 128MB shared memory (when 512MB or more system memory present)

Max external resolution: 2048 x 1536

Microsoft® DirectX® 9 support

WDDM support

Audio Chipset

SigmaTel 9205

Audio features

SoundBlaster® Pro, MIDI and Windows® sound system compatible

3D sound support

64-channel wavetable synthesis

Audio AC '97 2.3 compliant

Integrated speakers


Networking & Communications

Integrated v.92 56K modem

RJ-11 port

Integrated Intel® 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet

Supports Wake-on-LAN from S3, S4, S5 and Boot from LAN (S4 and S5 while on AC Only)

RJ-45 port

Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945 ABG 802.11a/b/g mini-card

Factory installed diversified antenna

Wi-Fi protected access (WPA) and WPA2 support

Wi-Fi certified

Cisco compatible extension (version 4) certified

Integrated Bluetooth 2.0

Factory installed diversified antenna


I/O Ports

2 USB 2.0 ports

VGA port with screws

Type II PC card bus slot

IEEE 1394 (4-pin)

6-in-1 Digital Card Reader (MMC, SD, MS, MSP, Mini Secure Digital™ and RS-MMC)

Microphone jack

Headphone jack



Power input

Port replicator connector


Biometric Fingerprint Reader

UPEK TCD4 + TCS3 chipset

Includes scroll capabilities in tablet mode


Dimenions & Weight

11.9" (W) x 9.9"(D) x 1.17(H) (w/ Standard Battery)

4.85 lbs (w/4-cell lithium ion battery and CD/DVDRW)

4.5 lbs (w/4-cell lithium ion battery and weight saver)

5.07 lbs (w/6-cell lithium ion battery and CD/DVDRW)

4.74 lbs (w/6-cell lithium ion battery and weight saver)


* Some features require Windows Vista

Gateway E155C Tablet PC [via GottaBeMobile - thanks to Warner for the tip!]