Ok, I have just returned from the local Gateway Country and can confirm that the people there are CLUELESS, lol. I don't mind because I don't really need their opinion when I can evaluate it better myself. Here is a run down of my meticulous observations:
-Very quiet, even with ear up close, mostly just air movement, not any buzz or humm. (HP zd7000 is a jet compared to this)
-Very solid build. Most of the cases external is of a cold metallic type material and seems MUCH more durable than the typical plastic I've encountered.
-Fan vents are located at the rear, which means less worry about cooling blockage.
-Touchpad has good drivers. You may have used a notebook with bad touchpad drivers. It can get really annoying.
-Jog Dial between touchbad buttons is smooth when scrolling without little "ticks" like the Sony's.
-Screen is bare, unlike the Toshiba's which has a cover. The cover causes alot of glare and I don't like it. I prefer the bare screen. The screen seemed less "blurry" than the HP zd7000 screen.
-The keyboard is VERY nice. If you like keys that have a small key pitch (very little distance from actual register point) then youll love it. They also give a wonderful responsive "click" when you type. In addition the keyboard does not suffer from sagging. This is a problem with many notebooks since the keyboard is simply a sheet of keys that lock into place. The center usually feels a bit "squishier" than the sides, however in the Gateway the entire keybaord felt extremely stable as if bolted to the body at each key.
-LED indicator lights are a nice blue and purple color. The overall image is very sleek and professional.
-Speakers are just as good as the Harmon Kardon brand found on Tosh and HP books. I noticed however they don't get quite as loud, but seem a slight bit crisper.
I had ordered a zd7000 a week ago, and I just cancelled my order. I am going to purchase this notebook. I hope this answers alot of questions for the curious.