The Gateway NX100X and E-100M are a 12″ 3.15 lb ultraportable notebooks that are 1″ thin with an external optical drive. This form factor is perfect for the road-warrior who needs a notebook for PowerPoint presentations or writing documents and isn’t interested in duplicating the features of a high-performance desktop or a DVD player. The nearest competitors in this 3 lb class are the Lenovo ThinkPad X60/X60s and Fujitsu Lifebook Q2010. Although the Dell Latitude X1 and Toshiba Portege R200 are both very good ultraportable notebooks, these use the older Intel Pentium M processor. The Lenovo ThinkPad X60/X60s, Fujitsu Lifebook Q2010, and Gateway NX100X all use the new Intel Core Solo “Ultra Low Voltage” edition, with the ThinkPad X60s supporting the Low Voltage Core Duo. The NX100X and E-100M are virtually identical; the E-100M is targeted for business users and features a hardware TPM encryption module whereas the NX100X does not. Depending on the current promotion, the NX100X usually offers better value for “upgraded systems” while the E-100M offers the chance to get a basic setup at a lower absolute cost.
When it comes to the main strength of the Gateway E-100M and NX100X, it’s price. The NX100X starts as just $1400 (with instant rebate) while the E-100M starts at $1200 (with instant rebate). When you factor in the small and lightweight form-factor, the best keyboard we’ve tested to date (despite its size), and exceptional build quality, this is a notebook that clearly could have been sold at a far higher price. Our only complaints? Battery life and the lack of an integrated drive – things that are generally true for all 12″ ultraportable notebooks that are less than 1″ thick.
Hit the link for all the details, but in this class of machine you aren’t going to find big technical differences so price is as good a differentiator as any. The CNET review of the NX100X and the PC Magazine review of the E-100M echo the same strengths and weaknesses. From the latter:
Finally! An ultraportable that’s thin, sleek, gorgeous, and affordable—well, at least reasonably priced. The Gateway E-100M successfully marries a shockingly thin 0.9-inch magnesium-alloy chassis with a low price tag, something rarely done in this category. And though its performance won’t rock your world, it’s good enough to get you through your day successfully. … Unfortunately, the E-100′s ultrathin chassis and low price tag come with some drawbacks. Perhaps the greatest—at least to some—is its lack of an internal optical drive. An external optical drive is available for an extra $199.99.
They look like a good choice to me for this specific niche and the price is right.