Averatec makes aggressively priced laptops that often feature a compelling set of components for the price, though we've heard some users complain about faulty systems and unreliable tech support. That said, like the 3715 model we reviewed last year, the Averatec 2200 offers a competent mobile-computing experience, with a quality 12.1-inch wide-screen display, a comfortable keyboard, and a dual-layer DVD drive, all in a 4.3-pound case; we actually tested the Averatec 2260-EK1, which we found online for about $1,100--a low price for what you get. Unfortunately, with a battery that lasted less than two hours in our tests, the Averatec 2260-EK1 is not going to let you get too far away from the wall socket; unless battery life is a nonissue for you, we think you're better off spending a bit more money for a more resilient thin-and-light laptop. Check out our top products lists (for business use, for more casual use) for the best of the best.
Measuring about 11.75 inches wide, 8.3 inches deep, and 1.5 inches thick, and weighing in at 4.3 pounds (or 5.1 pounds, with its modest AC power adapter), the Averatec 2200 is certainly compact and light enough for regular travel. Its weight and dimensions place it in the thin-and-light category, along with a few select 12.1-inch wide-screen laptops that have optical drives, including the HP Compaq nc2400, which starts at $1,600 and includes a three-year warranty, and the $1,400 WinBook X610 (as well as the soon-to-be-phased-out $999 12-inch Apple iBook G4).
The Averatec 2200's 12.1-inch wide-screen display has a standard 1,280x800 native resolution, which affords a decent amount of screen real estate but makes text and icons appear quite small, and a glossy finish; it delivered a high score of 190cd/m2 from our Minolta luminance meter, which tests a display's maximum brightness. The compact keyboard is firm and quite comfortable to type on, and the touch pad and two mouse buttons, while small, are adequate.
This is a pretty bare-bones laptop in terms of features, ports, and connections, though there's enough to fulfill the needs of most basic users. Highlights include 802.11b/g wireless networking, three USB 2.0 ports (one more than on the HP), a 4-in-1 media card reader, and an ExpressCard slot. Aside from one solitary button that launches your music or video player, there are no multimedia controls to speak of. The speakers buried within the unit deliver tinny, low-quality audio.
Our Averatec 2260-EK1 test unit, which we found priced online at $1,100, came preloaded with Windows XP Professional and an unremarkable bundle of software, as well as a solid set of components, including a 1.83GHz AMD Turion 64 MT-32 processor with integrated graphics, 1GB of DDR RAM, a decent 80GB hard drive, and a dual-layer DVD burner. In comparison, the more expensive WinBook X610 and HP nc2400 featured Intel processors but half the RAM and smaller hard drives. In CNET Labs' mobile benchmark tests, the Averatec 2260-EK1 delivered adequate performance for basic productivity tasks, turning in slightly higher scores than the WinBook X610 and the HP nc2400. Unfortunately, the Averatec 2260-EK1's superior processing power came at the cost of its battery life; it managed a meager 110 minutes in our drain tests, which is something of a deal-breaker for a laptop that's meant to be highly portable (three hours is the bare acceptable minimum).