eMachines M review: eMachines M

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The Good Low price; big, bright screen; 802.11g wireless; DVD+/-RW drive.

The Bad Comparatively short battery life; large and heavy; toll-based tech support only during limited hours.

The Bottom Line This stylish desktop replacement is a serious choice for the budget conscious only if you can stomach some irksome tech-support policies.

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6.9 Overall

The eMachines M6000 series desktop-replacement laptop offers many perks, such as a low price; a bright, 15.4-inch display; 802.11g wireless; a DVD+/-RW drive; and AMD Mobile Athlon 64 processors. Unfortunately, the company's toll-based telephone support casts a pall over the eMachines M6000's otherwise pleasing picture.

If you want to feel petite, keep the eMachines M6000 series by your side. This desktop-replacement notebook measures a big 1.6 by 14 by 10.4 inches and weighs 7.9 pounds by itself. Throw in its AC adapter, and the system tips the scales at 9 pounds, slightly above average for a desktop-replacement laptop.

Fortunately, eMachines takes advantage of the laptop's girth by packing in tons of features. The bright 15.4-inch screen tops the list, making it utterly enjoyable to watch wide-screen movies or play games. Unfortunately, the laptop emits tinny sound from the two speakers in its front-edge corners, but few notebook speakers offer much better.

A cool blue light accentuates key spots around the eMachine M6000 series' wide keyboard, including the power button in the upper-right corner and the two standard mouse buttons. The keyboard is comfortable, but eMachines should remove one of the two Windows keys in favor of a longer spacebar. In the same vein as the HP Pavilion zt3000, eMachines cordons off a quarter-inch section of the touch pad to use for scrolling, which is helpful when scrolling down long Web pages or documents.

Every model in the eMachines M6000 series comes with an AMD Mobile Athlon 64 CPU, as well as 512MB of fast 333MHz DDR SDRAM. The powerful ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 chip handles graphics tasks with the aid of 64MB of dedicated video RAM. The eMachines M6000 series also includes a cutting-edge DVD+/-RW drive and built-in 802.11g wireless networking. When it comes to performance tests, the M6000 series excelled in our 3D graphics test, which is its real strength. It didn't fare as well in the mobile-performance benchmark, which tests a laptop running on battery power.

We're hoping that eMachines adopts the good service and support policies of its new parent company, Gateway, because some of eMachines' own policies don't cut it. The company offers a standard one-year warranty with mail-in service. But unlike the majority of its competitors, eMachines doesn't provide toll-free telephone support. For the first year that you own your eMachines M6000 series, you cover the long-distance charges, but the advice is free. When that year is up, you pay both the phone charges and a $20-per-incident fee. To top it off, you can call between only 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. PT (seven days a week). You can purchase a two- or three-year extended warranty, which includes tech support, for up to $189; however, the toll-based phone number and the hours of operation never change.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  
Hypersonic Aviator AX6

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  
Hypersonic Aviator AX6

Maximum application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo SysMark 2002 rating  
SysMark 2002 Internet content creation  
SysMark 2002 office productivity  
Hypersonic Aviator AX6
HP Pavilion zv5000z
eMachines M6807

3D graphics performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE  
Hypersonic Aviator AX6
eMachines M6807

System configurations:

eMachines M6807
Windows XP Home; 1.8GHz AMD Mobile Athlon 64 3000+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Fujitsu MHT2060AT 60GB 4,200rpm

HP Pavilion zv5000z
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz AMD Athlon 64 3200+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 440Go 64MB; Toshiba MK8025GAS 80GB 4,200rpm

Hypersonic Aviator AX6
Windows XP Home; 2GHz AMD Athlon 64 3200+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 60GB 7,200rpm

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