Gateway 200XL Review

The Gateway 200XL is one of those rare notebooks that seem to hit a perfect utopia between design and functionality.
The Gateway 200XL is one of those rare notebooks that seem to hit a perfect utopia between design and functionality.
The Gateway 200XL is one of those rare notebooks that seem to hit a perfect utopia between design and functionality.

Highs

  • Excellent performing
  • state-of-the-art design

Lows

  • Poor battery life from main battery pack

Summary

The Gateway 200XL is one of those rare notebooks that seem to hit a perfect utopia between design and functionality. Not only is the 200XL one of the best looking systems we have ever had the privilege to use, but it performed flawlessly through all of our tests. If you plan on doing any traveling with the 200XL you will want to spend the extra $99 on the optional high-performance battery pack as the main battery simply will not last long enough. With two systems priced far apart enough, there is a 200 series notebook computer to fit your budget.

Introduction

Believe it or not, Gateway may have the sleeper hit of the year with their 200 series notebook computer. At 4.3 pounds and less than 1″ thick Gateway’s 200 series laptop is both extremely thin and light, but has a performance feel equivalent to a larger notebook computer due to a large and comfortable keyboard, the option to get a built in DVD-R/-RW drive, integrated 802.11b wireless networking and a large 14″ screen. The only thing hurting this wonderful notebook is the incredibly short battery life present on the main battery. But once you purchase the optional high-capacity battery ($99 and is a must-have), you will be in notebook heaven. There are two trim lines to choose from. The 200X has a 1.3GHz CPU, 256MB of memory and a DVD/CD-RW drive with a starting price of $1449.99 and the 200XL which we are reviewing today featuring  a 1.6GHz CPU, a DVD-R/RW drive and 512MB of memory starting at $2099.99. The previous king of this price range was the Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A notebook reviewed here earlier this year, but we think Gateway’s 200XL system beats the Z1A both in price, features and performance.

Design and Technica

The 200XL is one of the most attractive notebooks we have seen with its sleek metal casing, modernistic looking control buttons and a slate-blue keyboard with matching side accents. If it was ever possible to compete with Apple’s styling on the PC side, Gateway probably comes closest with their 200 series notebook. Even the external AC adapter included with the 200 series has a unique untraditional style to it, much like the Apple and Sony systems out there.

The 14.1-inch screen is bigger and much brighter than many of the slim-line systems we have reviewed, but still falls short when compared the screens present on the Apple PowerBook or VPR Matrix notebook computers.

When the screen is flipped open, the inside of the system is just as good looking as the outside. The modernistic control buttons are located at the top of the keyboard and have a polished aluminum look to them and glow a very techie blue when the system is powered on. The control buttons come with preset configurations but can be programmed to control the software applications of your choice. The touchpad is also very aesthetically pleasing with two mouse buttons separated by a scroll wheel.

Located on the right hand side of the system is where you will find your DVD-R/-RW drive, audio out/microphone-in ports and a single USB 2.0 port. The left hand side of the 200XL holds the modem/Ethernet ports, VGA out, a Single USB 2.0 and FireWire port, and one PCMCIA port. Heat is vented out the left hand side of the system with a fan that quietly activates and sucks air in from the top of the system and through the bottom.

The 200XL comes standard with an Intel Pentium M processor running at 1.6GHz utilizing the Intel Centrino chipset featuring integrated 802.11b WiFi, a DVD-R/RW drive, 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, Intel’s integrated graphics and Microsoft Windows XP Professional (yes you heard this right, XP Pro).

For complete specs please click here.

Performance

The first thing we noticed about the 200XL notebook was that the system feels a lot faster than its 1.6GHz CPU would indicate. We experienced little or no system lag both while it was plugged into its AC adapter or running in Speed Step mode while unplugged. In our Mobile Mark test the 200XL scored a high 165 rating besting the Sony VAIO Z1A and Gateway’s own 450XL notebook. Using the optional battery we were able to get 3 hours 48 minutes of juice before the system died on us.

In our 3dMark tests the 200XL was about even with the Sony Z1A which utilizes the same Intel graphics chipset. Gamers that are into first person shooters will certainly want to go for a notebook computer using either NVIDIA or ATI graphics; the 200XL is more oriented toward business users than graphic intensive programs. Just to give you an example, the 200XL was only able to sustain an unplayable 32 frame per second with Quake 3 Arena at a 1024×768 resolution.

3D Mark 2001 tests
Mobile Mark 2002 tests
SiSoftware Sandra CPU Arithmetic Benchmark
SiSoftware Sandra CPU Multimedia Benchmark

System Configurations:

Gateway 200XL
Windows XP Professional; 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; Intel Extreme Graphics; Toshiba MK6022GAX 60GB Hard Drive

Sony VAIO PCG-Z1A
Windows XP Home; 1.3GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 16MB; Hitachi DK23EA-60 60GB 4,200rpm

Gateway DS 450 XL
Windows XP Home; 1.5GHz Intel Pentium M; 512MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 7500 32MB; Toshiba MK4018GAP 40GB 4,200rpm

Performance and Use

The first thing we noticed about the 200XL notebook was that the system feels a lot faster than its 1.6GHz CPU would indicate. We experienced little or no system lag both while it was plugged into its AC adapter or running in Speed Step mode while unplugged. In our Mobile Mark test the 200XL scored a high 165 rating, besting the Sony VAIO Z1A and Gateway’s own 450XL notebook. Using the optional battery we were able to get 3 hours 48 minutes of juice before the system died on us. If you plan on using the 200XL while traveling (and you really should) then it is an absolute must that you spend $99 on the optional 4400mAh battery pack. The larger battery pack will stick out the back of the 200XL and, other than not fitting in flush with the systems outer shell, looks good nonetheless. In fact if you want to carry the 200XL with the screen flipped open, the optional battery pack provides something for you to hold onto while walking; although be careful not to snap it out.

In our 3dMark tests the 200XL scored about even with the Sony Z1A which utilizes the same Intel graphics chipset. Gamers that are into first person shooters will certainly want to go for a notebook computer using either NVIDIA or ATI graphics; the 200XL is more oriented toward business users than graphic intensive programs. Just to give you an example, the 200XL was only able to sustain an unplayable 32 frame per second with Quake 3 Arena at a 1024×768 resolution. DVD playback looked very good and showed little taxing on the system.

To see our performance tests, please click on the performance tab and link located above and below this review.

Throughout all of our testing and usage we did not experience a single application crash or freeze with the 200XL. The integrated 802.11b wireless networking worked flawlessly and was easily activated or deactivated with the control button located above the keyboard. The 200XL also stayed very cool throughout our use and abuse due to the ingenious cooling system. Not only does the cooling system vent air out the left hand side of the system, but there is a fan located on the bottom of the system which sucks air through a vent located above the keyboard. We have not seen anything like this before. The result is a very cool and quiet notebook computer which we were able to leave on for days without any overheating or application errors.

We also experienced no errors or lock-ups when putting the system in both standby and hibernation modes. If you are a business traveler you will not have to worry about closing the lid on your Gateway 200 series notebook while it goes into hibernation mode.

The keyboard on the 200XL is much larger than what we would have guessed. There is adequate travel below the keys and the key layout is what you would expect; there are no hidden suprises. The touch pad is very responsive with a scroll wheel that works great, which will make us long for it when we eventually wind up going back to our regular systems. Sometimes with laptops you will experience a cursor that likes to jump around while you type which is usually the result of an overly sensitive touchpad, we are glad to report we experience none of this with the 200XL.

Conclusion

The Gateway 200XL is one of those rare notebooks that seem to hit a perfect utopia between design and functionality. Not only is the 200XL one of the best looking systems we have ever had the privilege to use, but it performed flawlessly through all of our tests. If you plan on doing any traveling with the 200XL you will want to spend the extra $99 on the optional high-performance battery pack as the main battery simply will not last long enough. With two systems priced far apart enough, there is a 200 series notebook computer to fit your budget.

Computing

Intel vs. AMD: Which chipmaker stole the show at CES 2019?

Intel and AMD have been competing for years, but rarely do they both debut something exciting at the same time. Intel vs. AMD at CES 2019 saw both companies step up to the plate. Who served it better?
Computing

Every gaming laptop that was announced at CES 2019, ranked

Looking for a new gaming laptop? You're in luck, as we compiled and ranked all the gaming notebooks that were announced at CES this year. Be sure to take a look at the latest models with AMD or Nvidia chips before you buy.
Computing

You could spend $1,000 on an iPhone, or buy one of these awesome laptops instead

Finding a decent laptop is easy, but finding one under $1,000 is a bit tricky. Luckily, we've taken some of the guesswork out of picking out a budget laptop. Here are some of our favorites, the best laptops under $1,000.
Computing

Everything to know about AMD’s CES 2019 reveals: Ryzen 3, Radeon VII, and more

AMD announced new products that will utilize its new 7nm architecture, ranging from its Ryzen 3 processors to powerful new Radeon VII graphics cards during its CES keynote. All these products will be available during this year.