Averatec claims its AV6200H60 is the world's largest personal DVD player. The unit certainly looks good, with a wide-aspect 15.4-inch screen that presented movies very well. With this and a few other stand-alone DVD players we've seen, you don't have to turn on the computer; you can just pop in a movie, open the lid, and sit back on the couch. A small remote powers up the DVD-ROM and CD-RW combo drive and controls both DVD and music discs from up to 20 feet away. The wide-screen displays movies with no letterbox effect, and the built-in speakers are loud enough to fill a living room with satisfactory sound. When it's just music you want, the speaker grilles above the keyboard let you close the lid without muffling the sound.
An overall good laptop, too, the slender, 6.2-pound unit comes equipped with most of the expected ports, including a generous quartet of USB ports. At $1250 the unit is expensive for a DVD player, but it's the least expensive all-purpose notebook we've tested. However, it's also underpowered, and battery life is only fair. The only glaring omission is the lack of a FireWire port; they're increasingly common on notebooks, especially in this price range, and you need one to import digital video from a camcorder. The AV6200H60's memory and hard drive are easy to access for upgrades, even though the user manual, a difficult-to-search Acrobat document, does not tell you how. (You access them from underneath the unit.)
A set of audio buttons on the front duplicates the audio functions of the AV6200H60's handy remote control. Covering the rear of the unit is the laptop's battery pack, which lasted 2.5 hours in our tests--long enough to see you through the typical action flick. The wireless communications button atop the keyboard makes it easy to save battery life by turning off Wi-Fi scanning (802.11g) when not in use.
The unit's gray keyboard offers a good layout and a firm touch, though not many extras, such as launch buttons. The touchpad is small for a laptop this size, but it's easy to use, with convenient four-way scroll zones. We did stumble over the mouse buttons, however. They're too small to be positioned so close to the edge; we kept missing them and grazing the front of the keyboard instead.
The AV6200H60, with its 1.8-GHz Mobile Athlon XP-M 2400+ processor and 512MB of memory, earned a WorldBench 5 score of 60, which is relatively slow. That's about equal to the performance of the Toshiba Tecra M2V-S310, which has a 1.5-GHz Pentium M 715 processor with just 256MB of RAM.
The Averatec AV6200H60 is an inexpensive laptop with a fine personal DVD player. But judged solely on its merits as a notebook, it offers much less value than many other models.
WorldBench 5 score of 60, 1.8-GHz Mobile Athlon XP-M 2400+, 512MB of DDR333 SDRAM, Windows XP Home, 15.4-inch wide-aspect screen, 60GB hard drive, DVD-ROM and CD-RW combo drive, built-in V.90 modem and 10/100 ethernet, 802.11g wireless capability, touchpad pointing device, 7.2 pounds (including AC adapter). One-year parts and labor warranty; free 24-hour daily toll-free tech support.