Gateway’s 11.6-inch LT3103u gets reviewed

June 28, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Gateway LT3103uGateway’s AMD Athlon-powered LT3103u netbook was officially launched earlier this week and it appears it has already hit retail. Scott Carmichael from Gadling spotted the 11.6-inch netbook in a BestBuy store and promptly took it home to give it a run through. The version sold included 2GB RAM and a 250GB HDD and cost a reasonable $399.

The Gateway LT3103u is powered by an AMD Athlon 1.2GHz L110 processor along with discrete graphics in the form of an ATI Radeon X1270 GPU. Carmichael found that the LT3103u had no problems in playing a 720p mkv file, although the 1080p didn’t fare too well, as expected. The 11.6-inch high-resolution (1366 x 768) LED backlit display is said to be crisp and bright. Other features include Wi-Fi (b/g), 0.3MP webcam, 3-in-1 card reader and three USB ports.

As with many netbooks these days, it comes with glossy lid that is prone to fingerprint smudges. The keyboard had a small amount of flex, but the keys were well spaced with a good sized space bar. The touchpad was also a reasonable size with responsive mouse buttons. The 6-cell battery sticks out a bit and should be good for around six hours of battery life according to the Vista Basic battery indicator.

Upgradability is catered for by a number of access panels for the RAM, HDD and Wi-FI card. Criticisms include a noisy hard-disk drive, a flashing Wi-Fi status indicator and two small rubber bumpers on either side of the netbook that are annoying when resting palms whilst typing.

Via Portable Monkey.


229 Responses to “Gateway’s 11.6-inch LT3103u gets reviewed”

  1. Paul said:
    July 10th, 2009 11:15 AM

    I bought this computer two weeks ago and it has been the best netbook I’ve owned.

  2. Put Windows 7 on it and... said:
    July 26th, 2009 6:13 PM

    Its a dream

  3. Syed said:
    July 27th, 2009 4:55 AM

    It looks like a decent machine with a wonderful display.
    The audio power is fair and must be improved upon by gateway with an addition to a HDMI port.

    Works well on Win 7, but had to find drivers for the wireless card.

    A recovery DVD by gateway with downgrade to XP would be appreciated with improvements on their support website like \hp and \Toshiba

  4. CRH said:
    September 6th, 2009 9:08 PM

    I tried to downgrade this machine by reformatting and installing XP from scratch. BIG MISTAKE. I still don’t have it running because I can’t get the SATA drivers to install with the XP install program.
    I’ve tried slipstreaming a couple of putative drivers from the web and all sorts of other techniques, but so far no go. Tried to reinstall Vista just to get it running. Still no go.

    Of course, Gateway support is non-existant.

    Hopefully Win 7 will recognize SATA disks??? I guess I have to run it as a Linux machine until then?

  5. Mayur said:
    September 24th, 2009 6:22 PM

    To CRH,
    All laptops/notebooks have this problem of not being able to load windows.Go into bios and change the settings from ahci to ide.I dont remember the exact terms but this explanation should suffice.You will then be able to load windows.

  6. De Leon said:
    September 27th, 2009 7:37 PM

    This netbook is a poowerful one. If you set your custom settings to favor both performance and then lower some power settings you’ll get this netbook to run like the performance battery option and still conserve 4-5 hours of battery life (2.5-4 hours depending on how many programs you use and if you push the graphics accelerator to its peak).

    I’ve actually sat down and used the netbook for 6.5-7 hours with my own custom power setting. touchpad’s responsive, keyboard’s very responsive, 2GB RAM with an upgradeable 250GB SATA Hard Drive really is a plus. Put this on an HD display and watch 720p (I’ve also tried 1080i, it runs decently but 1080p is a problem, you’d need to switch to an AMD Dual Core processor and ATI Radeon HD Graphics 3100+ for better performance, increase the RAM manually if possible, or via SD Card to at least have a total 3GB RAM).

    The speaker quality is superb except for the fact that it’s not too loud, but it’s actually a good thing since you wouldn’t wanna have to make too much noise (or would you? Your choice).

    The size and portability’s great, along with how tough this netbook is compared to Acer and HP netbooks. If you want a bargain, get this Netbook and just buy yourself an external DVD Drive with ALL the write speeds you’d want, it’s better than investing in a pre-installed internal dvd drive that has limited capabilities.

    One slight problem I have is configuring bluetooth, if anyone could help me with HOW to activate the damn thing.. I think I’d need an adapter for this feature.

    One more thing, just upgrade to Windows 7 or downgrade to Windows XP at its latest version, Vista can be a huge pain in the ass from time to time and is less responsive than even a pirated XP Pro that I was unfortunately given by some Geek Squad technician.

  7. PsychoSRB said:
    October 5th, 2009 10:38 AM


    I’ve recently bought this excellent netbook and the first thing I did was put win7 on it. It runs great.
    However I do have a few questions for De Leon.
    1. Are you talking about h.264 playback in 720p? If the answer is yes can you explain how you manage to get it accelerated.
    2. What is the secret behind that power profile? Are you using 3rd party software or default windows?

  8. Dean said:
    October 27th, 2009 4:36 AM

    Just finished installing Win7 (x64) on this netbook. After the install I loaded the Realtech ethernet drivers that I downloaded from the Gateway site (use the Vista drivers) and ran Windows Update. From there Windows installed all the missing drivers from the install. I haven’t done any testing yet, but I’m sure that this thing will rock considering that there aren’t any other netbooks out there that can run a 64-bit OS. I’m considering a 4GB RAM update and possibly a SSD which would really make this a nice netbook. If only I could get this thing to process H.264 video I’d be one happy camper!!

  9. birtelcom said:
    October 29th, 2009 2:18 AM

    Dean: Is it possible to upgrade the LT3103u to 4GB RAM? If so, how? Where is the second memory slot?

  10. De Leon said:
    November 15th, 2009 12:22 AM

    to PsychoSRB:

    I haven’t tried h.264 playback yet, but I will get around to that when I have more time. I usually go by Youtube and once in awhile Hulu, or I download videos in 720p/1080i HD quality and play them on Windows Media Player.

    I don’t use a single program. I chose the high performance battery life option, when to the “power options” menu, clicked on “change plan settings” and clicked on “change advanced power settings.” From there you’ll be given various options to choose from, from there I would simply make my selections to get good performance with decent power savings, I’ll just list my current settings that gives me 3-5 .5hours active battery life on average (I changed some settings to give the computer better performance on battery, sacrificing my previous 4-7 hour active battery life average.

    Additional Settings:
    Password on Wakeup (your choice)
    Hard Disk: Turn off hard disk after- battery: 25 mins
    Wireless Adapter Settings: Power Saving Mode- battery: (med OR max) power saving

    Sleep: after 30 mins (battery)
    USB Settings- Selective Suspend setting: Enabled (battery)
    PCI Express- Link State Power Management- battery: Moderate or Max Power Savings

    Processor Power- Battery: 10% minimum, 75%-90% max
    Search Indexing- Power Savings Mode- Battery: never choose power saver, it dramatically drops performance compared to balanced and high performance

    Display (battery)- Turn off after 10-20 mins; Adaptive display off; Display brightness 10%-20%

    Multimedia settings- sharing media- battery: allow comp to sleep
    Battery- Critical Battery action: shut down; Low Battery=5%-15%, Critical Battery=3%-7%
    -Low Batt notification: on; Low Batt action: sleep
    ATI Graphics Power Settings- POWERPLAY- battery: optimal battery Life

    Let some of these settings vary from moderate to maximum and also adjust the ATI Radeon Graphics Settings with Catalyst Control Manager. Also keep the Task Manager open a good majority of the time and end processes that aren’t useful to you during certain times you’re operating your lt3103u, it’ll help the CPU perform better and keep it from pegging at 100% for any little thing. Moderate multi-tasking with these settings can actually draw out close to 4 hours of battery life if you’re not CONSTANTLY watching videos or playing games, which is pretty decent. Surfing should be between 4-6 hours, make sure you have headphones to reduce the volume significantly, even if you’re not playing music or anything sound based, a higher volume does drain battery life by 20-50min.

    If you use the webcam at a slight constant of around 1-3 hours you should get roughly 3.5 hours max even with the mic in use. Sometimes I get a bit lucky and last roughly 4 hours webcam chatting, but that’s cause I’m usually using microsoft word alongside oovoo video calls (HW purposes and such). Expect slightly worse performance especially if the settings are maxed out for performance and quality when plugged in. Playing games is ok and sometimes choppy, but it’s not huge problem. Video playback will have some more dropped frames, activating ATI CCC would reduce battery life somewhat by half an hour. Make sure, above all things, to keep multi-tasking to a low on battery power; especially since the AMD Athlon 64 L110 Processor doesn’t multithread. Overall, if you keep the number of processes to a max of 45 and these settings without heavily multi-tasking, you’ll be fine with 4 hours of battery life on decent use. I can’t give you any details using a 4GB RAM chip and 9 cell battery, I haven’t bought the 2 yet. I’m also wondering exactly what is the limit to the wattage for this laptop, MB cache, and temperature for the processor. Once I find out, I’ll upgrade to an Athlon Neo Duo Core L325 processor.

  11. De Leon said:
    November 15th, 2009 12:51 AM

    Also, everything I mentioned was based on that overly excessive Windows Vista Home Basic OS. Windows 7 should use less but I want this to have Pro or Ultimate, so I think it should be roughly the same battery Life with those versions of 64 bit Windows 7 on Pro or Ultimate.

    If you want to switch motherboards, change this bad boy into a dual channel laptop, and do a few hardware upgrades to match the EC14 series, go on right ahead. I believe it’d be worth the investment over buying the laptops since you’d have upgraded this laptop to be just as efficient as the EC14 series. However, I’d recommend having the 9 cell battery by then since I don’t have a clue as to what the full-scale hardware upgrade might do to the battery power (considering that you upgrade to a wireless draft-n card).

    I’m still using a 2GB RAM chip, but I had a Toshiba Laptop so I switched the chips, the base score on Vista went from 2.7 to 2.8, here are the scores with the chip I’m using. The chip is a hynix (2GB 2Rx8 PC2-6400S-666-12) 200pin, much better than the Samsung chip the lt3103u came with.

    Processor: Calculations/sec= 2.8
    RAM: Memory Operations/sec=4.5
    Graphics: Desktop Performance for Windows Aero=4.6
    Gaming Graphics: Performance=3.0
    Primary Hard Disk: Data Transfer Rate=5.6

    Here are the scores, the graphics desktop aero performance improved, i think the memory ram operations stayed similar, i forgot if that also went up too. What I realized is that this chip from my Toshiba Satellite actually performed slightly better at tasks than the Samsung 2GB chip that came with the lt3103u. I can only imagine how much better the score would be with Windows 7 64 bit and a 4GB RAM chip, 8 GB RAM total if I upgrade the motherboard to a dual channel motherboard.

    For an easy way out of getting wireless draft-n, just buy a linksys draft-n router that comes with to wireless draft-n USBs, it’ll probably go easier on the battery Life of the laptop and temperature as well, as opposed to possibly using the wireless draft-n card/chip. But I don’t truly know until I try, though it’d be cheaper to do the alternative I mentioned as well.

  12. De Leon said:
    November 15th, 2009 12:54 AM

    # birtelcom said:
    October 29th, 2009 2:18 AM

    Dean: Is it possible to upgrade the LT3103u to 4GB RAM? If so, how? Where is the second memory slot?

    Yes, it is possible to upgrade the RAM to 4GB in a SINGLE slot. You need to find a 4GB chip online, this link should help you:

    4GB RAM chips aren’t so cheap, I’d suggest buying some of the lowest priced, they perform pretty good for their prices.

  13. Paul2 said:
    November 21st, 2009 11:10 AM

    This netbook is maxed out with the 2 gigs of memory which comes installed, won’t recognize more from a larger module.

  14. De Leon said:
    November 27th, 2009 4:03 PM

    @ Paul2: Well it’ll recognize roughly 3-3.5GB of RAM at most because the OS is in 32-bit. You’ll need a 64-bit OS to recognize 4GB+ on any computer.

  15. matt said:
    December 2nd, 2009 5:19 PM

    So I am hearing yes and no to the upgrade to 4GB of RAM. I am not too computer savy so I wanted to know if I put the 4 GB RAM in if there will be any problems or if I will just see it run smoother and faster (which is what i am hoping for).

  16. matt said:
    December 2nd, 2009 5:21 PM

    Has anyone actually upgraded the RAM on this machine them self or are they just hypothetically speaking?

  17. kenshin said:
    December 4th, 2009 7:11 PM

    To your question Matt – Yes you can upgrade to a single slot 4gb or ram
    (It cost me about $150) Also very easy to change you dont even have to rip the netbook apart to load there is a access panel which makes it easy.

    I ended up using kingston memory in my netbook here is a link to where i purchased it.

    Actually thou – I wasn’t that impressed with the 4gb memory using vista32. I only went up to about 3gb worth of usable memory. So I plan on going to 64 bit windows in the future….. so then it might make more of a difference.

    If you still have questions you should take a look at this web site it will answer most of your questions.

    I would suggest overclocking your netbook if you want better performace, Just jumping up to 1.4 ghz made a huge difference in watching 720p movies.

  18. De Leon said:
    April 10th, 2010 5:36 PM

    Since not many places sell the lt3103u, I’d recommend its Intel counterpart, the EC series, for dual channel RAM and dual core processors, if you’re more concerned with saving energy.

  19. LordPestilence said:
    May 21st, 2010 9:08 PM

    I upgraded my LT3103u by replacing the stock 2 GB DDR2-533 SODIMM with a 4 GB DDR2-800 Kingston, model KVR800D2S6/4G (I got mine at Newegg for $185.99), and installing Windows 7 Premium 64-bit. It works perfectly! I highly recommend these upgrades to all 3103/3114 owners. 🙂

    I’ve heard the 3103/3114 stock hard drive can be replaced with a 2.5″ solid-state drive.

  20. De Leon said:
    June 26th, 2010 9:14 PM

    I’ve heard that there have been issues installing SSD, but I’ve never tried myself. I recommend keeping the stock HDD, get a 7200rpm HDD and an SSD, just incase you can’t install an SSD you’ll have a higher performing HDD than the stock 250GB 5400rpm HDD. Slap that with a 9 cell battery, AMD Athlon Neo dual-core K325 cpu, wireless n, ATI Radeon 4250 HD (if you know how to solder different integrated graphics gpu) and you have yourself a pseudo Alienware M11x (IF you’re willing to invest the time and money to make the changes and not pay an extra $800/$1000 or more if you choose to customize core 2 duo su7300 or core i5/core i7).

    Still playing with stock parts, I”m having fun juicing 5+ hours on this thing.

  21. jhaye said:
    September 19th, 2010 3:15 PM

    Can somebody help me? My Lenovo S10-3T’s hard disk drive status indicator doesn’t turn off (white light indicator@system status indicators)) even if my netbook is already turned off resulting to drained battery. Please tell me what to do..