I’ve reviewed laptops for decades; and this $499 Core i7 2-in-1 laptop is perfect for freelancers

Gateway Laptop
(Image credit: Future)

When I first started writing about tech in the late 1990’s, Gateway 2000 was one of the computer companies that tried to do things differently, with its bovine-themed design filling the pages of computer magazines (aka dead tree with ink on it). “No matter how close you look, the quality shines through” reads one of the slogans. 

Fast forward to 2023, and Gateway 2000 is now an Acer brand that’s exclusive to Walmart, the world’s largest supermarket chain.

Gateway is probably one of the most underrated computer brands around, and the GWCC71416-BK, a svelte 2-in-1 convertible laptop that sells for $499 (down from $699), is perhaps the best example of the type of astounding value for money products Walmart can extract from its suppliers. 

Gateway 14.1 inch 2-in-1 Elite: A brief look

Three things make this laptop stand out for a freelancer: a Core i7 CPU, a stylus and a $499 price tag (with an optional $79, 3-year product protection warranty from Allstate). From afar, it looks like one of these expensive-looking Lenovo Yoga laptops but at a fraction of the price.

The stylus is particularly useful when paired with mind mapping software as part of a brainstorming session with a client or as an electronic sidekick with a note taking app like Onenote.

Other than the 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 CPU (with an integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics card), there’s 8GB non-upgradable DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD (likely to be a PCIe NVMe Gen 3). 

The display is a 14.1-inch touchscreen full HD IPS with a rather large bezel to help with holding the device - a good choice given that the device is about 1.5kg/3.4lbs.

We're not sure what Wi-Fi card is bundled with the Elite but given the presence of Bluetooth 5.1, we’d say that the GWCC71416-BK uses an Intel AX201 NGW which offers Wi-Fi 6, with Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 being the faster wireless iterations. Audio is handled by THX technology and there’s two stereo speakers that should deliver good enough sounds.

Walmart also didn’t disclose the battery capacity of this laptop, but states that it can last up to 10 hours which is believable given the low power consumption of the Core i7. In fact, it is likely that the screen will be the biggest power hog of the system; which brings us to another important point. We don’t know how bright the screen is, although we’d expect it to be at least 300 nits.

While the keyboard is backlit, there’s no fingerprint reader and the 2-megapixel front facing camera doesn’t have a privacy shutter, two key features to make it a proper business laptop. That said, the GWCC71416-BK does have adequate expansion capabilities: two USB ports, a microSD card slot and a headphone jack. There’s no Ethernet or HDMI ports so you will have to get a docking station if you want extra connectors.

Lenovo Yoga 6

Lenovo Yoga 6
If you want a bit more oomph (and for an extra $160), consider the award winning Yoga 6 from Lenovo which comes with a more powerful 6-core processor, dual microphones, a fingerprint reader, a privacy shutter, a more compact/lightweight chassis and an infrared camera.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.