For me it comes down to a few factors.
First and foremost - lawn size. There is nothing "manly" in spending 2 hours on something that would take 30 minutes otherwise.
Lawn/Grass type and desired length. Some just don't do as well.
Also - if it's about money savings - good reel mowers are not as inexpensive as you think (nor gas mowers as expensive). The cheap ones are cheap for a reason.
If I lived in a little suburb with golf course grass I might get an old-fashioned reel mower. However, I live in Florida where the grass is obscenely thick, and my yard is too big. So gas it is.
I've used both. Reel mowers are a great, quiet, and inexpensive option for FLAT lawns with thin grass. If your lawn has thicker grass, is full of rocks, gopher holes, and hilly, then the reel mower is going to turn out to be an absolute pain.
First point, You definitely get what you pay for. At the $200-$250 price point, you'll be hard-pressed to find a gasoline mower that will stand up to mowing a half-acre every week. And if your state has the joy of ethanol blended gasoline, you can pretty much count on extra fuel system maintenance. And regular carburetor replacements.
Second point, a reel mower on a half-acre job will pretty much take all day Saturday, every Saturday. BUT, you have to buy a quality reel mower. Again, you get what you pay for. My worst lawn mowing mistake was buying an inexpensive ($100) reel mower to cut my very small lawn. Never Again.
I'm afraid it has to be gas! cutting anything more than the smallest patch would be a real workout otherwise. My advice is a gas machine and ideally self propelled.
Briggs and Stratton Engines are what are most popular here and if you look after it and keep it oiled and keep the air filter clean it will last for many years. The only maintenance I do is to sharpen the blades and change the spark plug occasionally and keep it under cover in a shed when not in use
As fun and old fashioned a reel mower is, you just need to go gas powered (or even electric). If your lawn isn't perfectly flat, the reel does not provide as even as a cut. Also, if you let it go too long you can't bag the clippings. Unless you'd also like to spend your Saturday raking up grass. You should be able to find a solid gas mower within your price range. You can always see what is out there on Craigslist.
I have a hilly ground and the reel mower is fine. However I'm looking for a green surface for my son to play on. I also don't rake my grass.
I have both.
I love the Reel Mower. I set it at its highest setting and mow the yard. I then set it at half height and do it again perpendicular to the first cut.
Pro's. I can do this in the dark with a bike light if I want too.
Con's. Anything over 4 inches or so will not get cut well. Dandelions survive the cutting no problem. You also have to walk the yard to pick up sticks. But really if you are picking up sticks you can pull weeds.
Gas. Pro it will chew up the grass at any height.
Con's I use it so rarely I have to wonder if the gas is still good (even with stabilizer ). Starting is a pain, noise, fumes etc.....