Slim Gateway laptops have glowing touchpads, Optimus tech

Ever thought your laptop could use a little more 'zazz? Like maybe more glowing lights? Then perhaps Gateway's new ID series notebooks are for you. Launched this morning, the new laptops come in 14" and 15" variants that both feature 1"-thick enclosures, aluminum alloy lids... and touchpads that glow blue.

These aren't just touchpads with lights behind them, mind you. In the company's own words, "The Gateway ID Series comes in a sleek silver casing that is punctuated by a unique aqua-blue touchpad that glows when touched, acting as a beacon for accessing entertainment and information." To Gateway's credit, the touchpads look comfortably large, and they support multi-touch gestures like pinching, swiping, and rotating. We can't vouch for tactile quality, though.

Beacons of information and entertainment access aside, both Gateway ID series systems feature Core i3 or i5 processors and up to eight gigs of RAM. "Select models" of the the ID49, the 14" offering, also pack GeForce GT 330M discrete graphics with Optimus switching technology. We saw a similar Core 2010 and Optimus combination in Asus' U30Jc laptop and were quite impressed. The ID49 might have a comparable mix of brawn and battery life, but it's hard to tell given that Gateway quotes the same six-hour run time for all ID-series offerings.

Prices start at $679.99 for the ID49 and $799.99 for the ID59. The cheapest ID49 with Nvidia graphics and Optimus has a $849.99 MSRP. That might seem a little pricey, but it's actually slightly cheaper than what the Asus U30Jc goes for these days. And does the U30Jc's touchpad glow blue? No sir, it does not.

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