capsule review

Gateway M405CS

At a Glance
  • Gateway M405CS Pentium M Integrated 24x 10x

  • Gateway M405CS

  • Gateway M405CS Pentium M Integrated 10x min. 24x max. CD-ROM 10x min.

Gateway M405CS
Artwork: Rick Rizner, John Goddard

The Gateway M405CS is a simple machine at heart. The plain-looking notebook has a 15-inch screen, a fixed DVD-ROM/CD-RW combination drive, 802.11g Wi-Fi, and bundled application software--and it delivers some of the hottest performance you'll see south of $1500. The notebook's optional rechargeable lithium-ion battery lasted for more than 5 hours. We'd say it's well worth the extra $79 over the standard nickel-metal hydride battery. In our speed tests, the 1.5-GHz/600-MHz Pentium M-equipped portable sped to a PC WorldBench 4 score of 124, matching the average mark earned by 1.6-GHz Pentium M systems we've tested. The notebook lacks two fairly common connections, however: a FireWire port for fast digital downloads, and an S-Video-out port for using a TV as a display. If you can live without these amenities, the M405CS is a good deal.

The sturdy, comfortable keyboard has useful shortcuts, including four nonprogrammable quick-launch buttons for e-mail and other common applications, plus a touchpad with a scroll switch. The all-black case provides a basic set of connections: network and modem jacks, parallel and monitor ports, one PC Card slot, and two USB 2.0 ports. Audio from the M405CS's front-facing speakers is mediocre, and you have to control the volume with combination keystrokes. On the plus side, upgrading the M405CS's memory or 40GB hard drive should be easy. The two RAM slots sit in a bottom compartment behind a panel secured by a single screw. And after removing a couple of deep-set bottom screws, you can pull the hard drive out of the front of the case by its end piece. Gateway sells a small port replicator for $96 that plugs into a USB port on the notebook and supplies USB 2.0, serial, parallel, PS/2, and ethernet connections.

The M405CS comes with a slick getting-started brochure, but the longer manual is in electronic form only. Fortunately, the manual is liberally hyperlinked and easy to search.

The unadorned Gateway M405CS may not draw admiring looks, but it's nicely equipped and delivers strong performance for a reasonable price.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • Gateway M405CS Pentium M Integrated 24x 10x

  • Gateway M405CS

  • Gateway M405CS Pentium M Integrated 10x min. 24x max. CD-ROM 10x min.

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