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Averatec 6200 review: Averatec 6200

Averatec 6200

Brian Nadel
5 min read
Averatec 6200
Editor's note: We have changed the ratings in this review to reflect recent changes in our rating scale. Find out more here.
Averatec's Web site claims that the 6200 series laptop is "the world's largest personal DVD player...combined with a fully featured notebook." It's no accident that Averatec describes the 6200 as a DVD player first, then a laptop--this system covers many mobile entertainment bases, with its large, 15.4-inch screen, its ability to play CDs and DVDs without booting up the Windows operating system, and its relatively light travel weight. At $1,250 (as of late September 2004), the Averatec 6200 is one of the least-expensive laptops in its class--$150 cheaper than the HP Pavilion dv1000 and at least $1,000 less than the Toshiba Qosmio, which also plays CDs and DVDs without booting but has far more cutting-edge components. As a DVD player, the Averatec 6200 gets the job done, but as a laptop, it misses the mark in just about every way; its graphics card and slow AMD processor, in particular, make a giant dent in its performance. If you're interested only in watching movies on the go, consider checking out a less expensive portable DVD player. But if you want a laptop that can offer extremely basic computing as well as the cinema, the Averatec 6200 is an inexpensive choice. The Averatec 6200's design offers a bit of a surprise. Despite a stature only slightly larger and heavier than that of the HP Pavilion dv1000 or the Compaq Presario V2000, the 6200 is equipped with a wide-screen, 15.4-inch display; the HP and Compaq systems have 14-inch screens. It's an unusual treat to see such a large screen on such a lightweight laptop--the 6200 weighs only 6.1 pounds (7 pounds with its heavy 15-ounce AC adapter). The screen, with a native resolution of 1,280x800, offers a bright, rich, and evenly lit view.

The Averatec 6200's wide body also provides enough room for a good, comfortably sized keyboard with 19.5mm keys that make typing less of a chore. The wide touch pad has generous horizontal and vertical scroll regions. Audio comes through a pair of speakers that produce surprisingly high-quality sound, with enough volume to fill a hotel room or a small office.


Averatec 6200

The Good

Thin and light; competitive price; remote control; excellent CD/DVD controls; good battery life for watching DVDs (without booting up the OS).

The Bad

Inferior graphics card; lacks FireWire port; runs hot; uninspiring computing performance; six-month battery warranty.

The Bottom Line

If you put movie watching above computing performance, the modestly priced Averatec 6200 is a decent, if basic, laptop.

Though the 6200 has four USB 2.0 outlets, it lacks a FireWire port--unfortunate, as transferring video for editing is slower without one. Also missing are a flash memory slot or an S/PDIF optical plug for a high-end set of speakers. In addition to LAN and modem ports, the system offers S-Video out, as well as external monitor and audio connections. It also comes with an 802.11g Wi-Fi radio that has an approximate range of 90 feet; the Wi-Fi has its own on/off switch, handy for battery conservation.

Aside from the excellent screen, just about all of the Averatec 6200's other components are second best. There's AMD's sluggish 1.8GHz XP-M 2400+ CPU (instead of the hotter 64-bit Athlon CPU); a 60GB lower-performance hard drive; and a combo DVD/CD-RW drive--a DVD burner option won't be available until October 2004. The machine's SIS M741 graphics accelerator, with 32MB of video memory, isn't enough to make the 6200 a stellar choice for gaming or other screen-intensive uses. One additional complaint: this laptop runs very hot.

One of the 6200's nicest features is its ability to play CDs or DVDs without booting up the operating system, thanks to a quick-to-load player. Just hit the on/off button on the front panel, and in 15 seconds, the disc is playing--and it keeps playing. Our test DVD went for more than five hours in this mode. The rectangular monochrome screen displays timing but not track names. Using the six buttons along the front edge of the laptop, you can lower or raise the volume, stop, eject, pause, and advance or rewind a track. The player can handle audio CDs, DVDs, and MP3 discs, and best of all, it comes with a tiny remote control (conveniently stored in the laptop's PCMCIA slot) so that you don't have to get up to turn it on--perfect for a dorm room.

The laptop's 4,400mAh battery pack is easily removed for swapping--a good thing, because when the OS is booted up, the 6200 runs for only 2 hours, 35 minutes on a charge. Like other Averatec laptops, the 6200 comes with a reasonable assortment of software, including Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Works, and Norton AntiVirus (with a 90-day subscription for updates).

Mobile application performance
The Averatec 6200 uses the SIS M741 integrated graphics adapter, which borrows memory from the main system memory, putting a damper on performance. The Averatec scored 17 percent behind the Acer Ferrari 3000, which has a dedicated graphics memory and a slightly faster processor. The eMachines M5310, also equipped with SIS M741 and saddled with a shared-memory architecture, came in 16 percent behind the Averatec. Overall, the 6200 matches up well with Pentium 4 systems of the same speed, but it cannot compete with 1.8GHz Pentium M notebooks.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

When fully booted up, the Averatec 6200's 63WHr battery delivered a paltry 2 hours, 25 minutes of life; we expect this type of system to reach 3 hours. The 6200 bested the Acer Ferrari 3000 by 23 minutes, but the eMachines M5310 had the longest life of the three. However, perhaps as important as long battery life, we were able to run the Averatec 6200's DVD player (while the system's OS was not booted up) for more than 5 hours, which makes this laptop a pretty good movie machine when you're on the go.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  

Battery life analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

System configurations:

Acer Ferrari
Windows XP Home; 1.9GHz Athlon XP-M 2500+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 128MB; IBM Travelstar 60GN 40GB 4,200rpm

Averatec 6200
Windows XP Home; 1.8GHz Athlon XP-M 2400+; 480MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; SIS M741 32MB (shared); Hitachi Travelstar 80GN 60GB 4,200rpm

eMachines m5310
Windows XP Home; 1.8GHz Athlon XP-M 2400+; 448MB DDR SDRAM 266MHz; ATI Radeon IGP 320M 64MB (shared); Toshiba MK4021GAS 40GB 4,200rpm

The Averatec 6200's warranty contains a potential gotcha: the battery pack is guaranteed for only six months, half as long as the rest of the system, and far too short for our taste. The company will provide support for as long as you own the machine, and the company backs it up with 24-hour support phone lines; in our tests, a live technician was on the line in seven minutes. There are prominent e-mail links on the company's Web site. There's also online registration, a couple of FAQ pages, and a downloadable manual.

Averatec 6200

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 5Battery 7Support 4