Gateway M250XL Processor: 2 GHz Intel Pentium M RAM: 512 MB Hard drive: 80 GB Weight: 5. 4 lbs. (6 lbs. with power adapter) Display: 14-inch...

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Processor: 2 GHz Intel Pentium M


RAM: 512 MB


Hard drive: 80 GB


Weight: 5.4 lbs. (6 lbs. with power adapter)


Display: 14-inch widescreen LCD


Gateway’s M250 models — the lightest of this company’s seven lines of laptops — can be had for much less than most machines in its weight class. The low-end M250S goes for just $699. But the model Gateway sent for review, the now-discontinued M250XL, cost $1,494 after a healthy round of upgrades.


All M250 models start with widescreen 14-inch displays, CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drives and 40-gigabyte hard drives. The tested configuration — while no longer sold as the M250XL, an M250X can be custom-ordered with the same specifications — included a faster processor, bigger hard drive, DVD burner (which had repeated problems playing back movies without skipping) and a larger, longer-life battery.


Of those updates, the faster chip, at $340, made the least sense. But the upgraded battery earned its $45 cost with an outstanding performance: 3 ½ hours of DVD playback. With the Wi-Fi off and the screen dimmed, it lasted a minute less than seven hours.


We liked the M250’s generously sized touchpad, which includes a scroll strip at its right edge that serves the same function as the scroll wheel in most mice.


— Rebecca Rohan


Special to The Washington Post