I recently got my Handbook 486 (the DX2/40 version) and thought some
on the net would like to hear comments on the machine.
Summary: A remarkable machine! This is the perfect subnotebook for
my purposes. I am very happy with the Handbook and with
When I ordered the machine, the sales person I spoke with was
very friendly and promised the machine in 3-4 weeks. I got the
machine after 3.5 weeks.
I have spoken to technical support several times and have found
the people I spoke with to be very helpful.
My primary concern before ordering the Handbook was the reduced keyboard.
I was worried that I would have a hard time going back and forth
between a full size keyboard and the gateway keyboard.
I have not had any trouble. In fact I like the keyboard very much. The
keys have a nice feel to them.
The screen is fine for me. I do not have a lot of experience looking at
LCD screens, so I can't intelligently compare the handbook screen
to others, but it seems crisp and easy to read to me.
The screen is "squashed" a bit, so that the 640x480 VGA will fit in
the small box. For text writing I have not noticed any problems with
this. The only graphics I do is in WordPerfect, and I can easily
resize the graphics objects to the proper aspect ratio. So, this is
not a problem for me, but some may find it annoying, depending on your
Very nice and remarkably compact. Well worth the $99.
The handbook came with a full set of cables to connect to the outside
world. I installed MS-KERMIT and got the handbook talking to my Sun
workstation on the first try.
I seem to get about 1.25 hours of very intensive use off a battery
charge. I had hoped for a bit more, but this is acceptable since I
have two battery pacs.
The AC adaptor is a bit on the large side, but does fit in the handbook's
With the power management set to "Maximum Power Savings" in the power
management screen (Fn-Esc), the machine is noticeably slower, but the
time on batteries is noticeably longer ... a user selectable tradeoff.
The handbook came with DOS 6.2 and Windows 3.1. I installed
WordPerfect 6.0 for windows, Quattro Pro 5.0 for windows and
Turbo C++ 3.2 for windows. All work fine on the handbook.
A number of problems with power management and windows crashes have been
discussed on the net.
The handbook arrived with the windows type set to "MS-DOS with APM"
which is the correct setting to avoid the crashes in windows. I have
never had a windows crash. The latest version of BIOS was also
installed when I got the machine.
Some have reported that the keyboard locks up when the low battery
light comes on. I also had this problem, but a call to technical
support seems to have cleared this up. They gave me a few
modifications to the config.sys file (appended below). In particular,
I took out the power.exe line and rely on the built in power manager
(Fn-Esc). I now have at least five minutes to clean up my work when the
low power light comes on before the machine turns itself off. I have
not experienced a lockup since.
With these modifications, I get roughly twice the time on a battery
charge and I avoid the lockups. It seems that the DOS power.exe does
not work well with the handbook.
The only remaining problem I have is that the handbook locks up whenever
I change the CPU performance setting in the power management screen
(Fn-Esc). If this is changed, the computer will either lock up or
reboot itself. Since you will probably set this once and forget about
it, you might think that this is not a problem. However, I have the
battery setting different from the AC setting, so whenever I change from
battery to AC, I get a lockup/reboot.
This problem does not concern me too much since it is predictable and
does not occur at random.
REM DEVICE=C:\DOS\POWER.EXE ADV:MAX