Evesham Voyager C720DC review

Price when reviewed

On the outside, there isn’t much to distinguish this notebook from the Rock Xtreme CTX Pro. But there’s a big difference in price, and that’s due to the canny choice of components packed inside this familiar chassis. In the interests of avoiding the price premium associated with the latest top-end components, Evesham has used the 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo T5500. It’s the lowliest of the new CPUs, but means the Voyager costs a significant £300 less than the Rock.

Evesham Voyager C720DC review

There is, inevitably, an equally significant drop in speed: our application benchmarks put the Voyager’s performance between notebooks powered by the Core Duo T2400 and T2500. This puts both consumers and system integrators in the tricky position of having two products that overlap: pricing will be key to determine whether to plump for a mid-range Core Duo product or a low-end Core 2 Duo.

Fortunately for Evesham, it’s got the decision spot on, as the Voyager manages to be much better value than the £100 cheaper Core 2 Duo Hi-Grade Ultinote. An overall score of 0.98 in our benchmarks isn’t trailblazing, but we certainly weren’t disappointed by its performance when in use. The CPU may be “low end”, but this is still an incredibly fast and responsive notebook.

Like the Rock, the Voyager C720DC uses a GeForce Go 7900 GTX, albeit with 256MB of dedicated memory rather than the 512MB of the Rock. It was still powerful enough to run Far Cry at the same 50fps speed as the Rock and, although the Call of Duty 2 test lagged behind, it coped with the same high detail settings at the 17in screen’s native 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. It makes the Voyager a great choice for gamers on a budget.

Having a screen of that massive resolution isn’t as profligate as it might first appear. Icons and text in Windows XP are large enough for most people’s tastes as standard, and could be increased anyway. And you’ll be reaping the rewards when Vista arrives, which will really take advantage of the extra detail on offer. Our image-quality tests found little wrong with it either: excellent colour reproduction in our test photos was backed up by smooth gradients and good contrast in our technical tests.

We’re less enthusiastic about the vertical viewing angles, which are narrow to the point that colour distortion occurs across the top and bottom of the screen, even when looking at it square-on. And, like the Rock, there’s precious little control over backlight brightness: the maximum setting still looks a touch dull, while minimum is barely dimmer and won’t save much power. Battery life isn’t a highlight, with less than two hours available even under light use, but then the 4.2kg weight won’t endear it to travellers anyway.

In use, the keyboard is well laid out and pleasantly firm, and you also get superb protection for the TFT, the motherboard and other internals. There’s also a good range of expansion ports, sensibly arranged around the edges. Two USB 2 ports join the mini-FireWire, Type II PC Card and media card slots on the right-hand side. This leaves the left to the all-format DVD writer, while the rear has a serial connection, two more USB 2 ports, DVI and S-Video outputs. The Gigabit Ethernet connection at the rear is complemented by 802.11a/b/g.

Evesham doesn’t match Rock’s three-year insurance-backed collect-and-return policy, although two years’ collect-and-return with a third return-to-base is nothing to be sniffed at. Evesham does compensate slightly with the inclusion of Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, which may come in handy, although there’s no integrated TV tuner.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos