by Traci Fox
The Averatec 6200 Mobile Theatre features the marriage of a large style personal DVD player with a fully featured notebook computer. The Mobile Theatre part of the name is derived from the fact that you can power up the personal DVD player function without actually having to boot up the computer. This can even be done from a touch of the button on the included wireless remote. But when it comes time to be serious and use your computer to do work, you simply push the power button on the computer to boot to the operating system and access all of your business applications. At that point the optical drive that served as the DVD player for the Mobile Theatre characteristic of the Averatec 6200 becomes a functional DVD+CD-RW optical drive that can be used to burn CDs or play DVDs within the Windows XP environment. And the nicest thing about all this? The price is only $1249.99.
Averatec 6200 Front-view (view larger image)
The Averatec 6200 Review Unit Specs:
- Averatec 6200H60 mobile theater notebook.
- Processor: Mobile AMD Athlon XP-M 2400+ with PowerNow 2.0 technology
- Memory: 512MB RAM
- Hard Drive 60GB HD, 4200 RPM
- Screen: 15.4 XGA widescreen with 1280×800 resolution
- Optical Drive: CD-RW/DVD combo drive.
- Wireless: 802.11g Wi-Fi
- Dimensions: 13.98″ x 10.05″ x 1.18″
- Weight: 6.2 lbs
I bought the Averatec 6200 laptop because I was intrigued by the stand-alone DVD player option and its light weight. I just happened to be in the market for my first laptop and this had all the features I was looking for, plus the added bonus of the stand-alone DVD/CD/MP3 player.
The other laptop that was in contention was the Gateway 4520GZ. It had an Intel Centrino Pentium M 705 processor and a 15 monitor. It was also lighter at 5.5lbs. The only feature the Gateway had that I wish the Averatec had was the multi-card reader. I use Sony MemorySticks and it would have been a handy feature.
I bought the Averatec 6200 directly from BestBuy.com (it is only available online). I hate paying S&H and (especially) sales tax, but it was cheapest from Bestbuy.com. I also wanted the extended warranty, which I could not have gotten from a vendor such as Amazon.com. BestBuy had the Averatec 6200 for $1199.00, less a $150 rebate. Besides the fact that I had to get it from a brick & mortar retailer and not Amazon.com or Newegg.com, where I buy most of my electronics, I thought I got a good deal after the rebate. Even without the rebate, $1199 is a good price for the specs and the quality of the laptop.
Averatec 6200 Front-view (view larger image)
The design is very clean and modern, which I like. The laptop is a silver color with white-on-gray keys. The case feels quite sturdy, and the lid has some heft to it. At 6.2 pounds, it isn t as light as, say, the Averatec 3225 (4lbs). However, for a 15.4 widescreen with nice specs, it s quite light. One of the reasons why I bought this laptop was for it s weight – many other manufacturers were just too heavy. The notebook itself measures 14x10x1.2 .
The screen is great. DVDs look amazing. It s a 15.4 widescreen (essential for DVDs) with 1280×800 resolution. The screen is bright – so bright that I turned down the default brightness a few clicks. The laptop shipped with one stuck pixel in the upper right corner. It has a great viewing angle – I can see the screen from any angle.
The speakers are, as is normal in most laptops, a bit tinny. I had no trouble with the volume in my living room; in loud environments external speakers may be needed. The built in audio card has adjustments for various environments. The headphone and microphone jacks are right on the front, which is what you would expect from a machine that bills itself as a mobile theater. The sound was great with the headphones/external speakers.
The processor is fast. Surfing the web through my wireless connection and calling up applications take very little time, if any. The hard drive is a 60GB EIDE at 4200RPM. Boot up time from go to the disappearance of the hourglass was about 40sec.
Keyboard & Touchpad:
Averatec 6200 Above-view (view larger image)
I really like the keyboard on this laptop. The keys are full size and nicely placed, with a few minor gripes. I worry that I am going to flick off a key one day, as my fingers have gotten caught under a neighboring key on occasion. The arrow keys are well placed. The function keys, and Home/End and PgUp/PgDn keys are small and on the side, but I adjusted to them immediately. I appreciate the full size backspace key, and when my finger reaches out to hit backspace, I haven t hit the wrong key yet. The delete key is a tiny key tucked away in the upper right corner, but I like its placement; it stands out since it s in the upper rightmost corner and is easy to locate quickly. Volume and screen brightness are easily adjusted via the function keys. To use the alternate function key functions, there is a little Fn button that activates the accessory functions (volume, brightness, instant sleep mode, and numeric keypad). The placement of this Fn key is annoying since it is where the control key is on a regular keyboard. I have hit this key on occasion while intending to use a ctrl-key function. There is an LCD display on the front panel for use with the dedicated DVD/CD/MP3 player. The laptop itself has to be shutdown to use the DVD player, so the LCD and buttons on the front of the machine control those functions. My only big gripe is that I do not like the track pad buttons. They are too small and not placed underneath the part of my thumb that would be clicking them. I have to move my thumb into a different position to use the track pad buttons. Fortunately, tapping the track pad does the same thing as clicking the left button.
The Averatec 6200 has a microphone and headphone jack on the front. There are four 2.0USB ports, two on each side. There is an S-video out port along with a VGA port. There is an Ethernet port and a regular dial-up modem jack. There is no firewire, which is unfortunate. As stated previously, there is no memory card reader, another desired option. There are no legacy ports.
Averatec 6200 Left-side (view larger image)
Averatec 6200 Right-side (view larger image)
The computer comes with built-in Wi-Fi 802.11g MiniPCI wireless adapter. I was on-line within 15 minutes of opening the box. There is a button to enable/disable the wireless. If you turn off the computer with the wireless left on, it will automatically turn on and search for a signal when the computer is turned back on. There is no Bluetooth.
According to Averatec, the PC will last 3.25 hours, and the CD/MP3 player will last 7+ hours. The device will play 3 90-minute DVDs on one charge. In practice, with the Wi-Fi and the CD-ROM going, it s about two hours. There is a button to disable the Wi-Fi.
The Averatec 6200 ships with Windows XP Home. Three recovery disks are provided in case of catastrophe. The included software is mercifully limited there is no garbageware to waste time deleting. Microsoft Works 7.0 is included. The usual trial to Norton Antivirus is included (which I promptly uninstalled because of my preference for PC-cillin 2004). Cyberlink Power DVD and Roxio CD/DVD creator 6.0 are included, as well.
Customer Service & Support:
I have not had to use customer service support yet, but it is 24/7 toll-free. There is a standard 1-yr parts & labor limited warranty on the laptop. The battery has a 6-month warranty. I bought the extra warranty directly from BestBuy.com out of paranoia. It covers 3 years from date of purchase.
So far, my gripes for the 6200 are minor. I wish there had been a multiformat card reader. From a temperature standpoint, it does get quite warm, although not too hot (98 under the right hand rest by my thermometer), and I wouldn t want to sit it right on my lap. The vent is on the right side of the machine, and emits quite a bit of heat (110 ). The fan is on only intermittently, so there must be a thermostat internally to judge when to kick the fan in (such as when the hard drive really gets going). The CD-RW/DVD drive is a bit loud in an otherwise quiet room. For a mobile theater machine, the speakers could be better, although with headphones the sound is much improved. My only big gripe is that I don t like the track pad buttons. They are too small, and I have to move my thumb to a weird position to use them. Fortunately, however, I can tap the track pad for most of my mouse click functions. One minor thing is the placement of the DVD eject button on the CD/DVD drawer; the button is in the exact spot where I would naturally want to push the drawer back in. So when I push the drawer in, it pops right back out again.
So far I think the Averatec 6200 is a big winner. Its light weight and full features make it the perfect travel machine for me. It has a look that will turn heads (unlike the black boxes produced by some competitors). The unit is very quiet, as the fan cycles on and off. When the fan is on it is not disturbing. The DVD feature is too great to not be mentioned. Hiding in the PCMCIA slot is a nifty remote control which only controls the DVD/CD player when in DVD/CD mode. The remote comes in handy for viewing/playing DVDs, but is not a full featured remote (no button to get to root menu, etc.) The remote appears flimsy, and it has the same type of buttons that my old Intellivision had on its controllers. In my opinion, this is the perfect travel entertainment system.
I love my new Averatec 6200. This is not the laptop for someone needing a desktop replacement or hard hitting gaming machine. For the person who wants to travel light, watch movies or listen to music on the road, and just have a nice machine to surf the web while at home or away, this is the perfect choice. The price, weight, and screen size are a great combination.
Pricing and Availability:
The Averatec 6200 Mobile Theatre is available online from various retailers from a price starting at around $1,200.00 after rebates. Click here to view current prices for the Averatec 6200.