There’s something very special about this notebook from Evesham. Something that makes this particular machine different from any other notebook that has found its way into the TrustedReviews offices. But looking at it you wouldn’t be able to see what’s so special because, in this case at least, it’s what’s inside that counts.
Beating at the heart of the Voyager 64 is an Athlon 64 3200+. Now I’ve seen a lot of machines with AMD’s new 64bit processor inside, but they’ve all been desktop PCs. This is the first notebook computer I’ve seen with an Athlon 64 inside it, and it brings with it a new age of mobile computing, the 64bit age.
Of course there’s more to a notebook computer than the processor alone, and it has to be said that Evesham has put together a formidable package in the form of the Voyager 64. Backing up the Athlon 64 CPU is 512MB of RAM, and a capacious 60GB hard disk.
Graphics are very well taken care of by an ATi Mobility Radeon 9600 chipset. This is the pinnacle of notebook graphics chips and should mean that you can use the Voyager 64 to play some 3D games. For a user that’s decided on a desktop replacement notebook as their only computer, the ability to use it for leisure as well as work will be a welcome feature.
The screen is a good example with a rich and vibrant image. The viewing angle is pretty good, which will please anyone that has to give presentations on a notebook. The screen measures 15.1in diagonally and sports a native resolution of 1,400 x 1,050. The combination of screen size and resolution was perfect for me and I used the Voyager 64 for hours without the slightest hint of eyestrain or headache.
The keyboard is a strange looking beast. Although it’s black in colour, the keys themselves are translucent and it’s possible to see through the larger ones. I have to say that I’m not a fan of the way the keyboard looks, but I am definitely a fan of the way it performs. Maybe it’s to do with the large dimensions of the chassis, but the amount of travel you get when striking each key is amazing, and the break is solid. I just found myself typing faster on this notebook than I have on any I’ve tested in recent months. If you’re looking for a desktop replacement that you’ll be typing long documents on, the keyboard on the Voyager 64 is reason enough to put it on your shortlist. Not only does the keyboard perform well, but the Return, Backspace and both Shift keys are of significantly increased size. The cursor pad is in the correct configuration and is set apart from the rest of the keyboard. If the Fn key and the Ctrl key swapped places, the Voyager 64 would have the perfect keyboard layout.
The other half of the input device complement is the touchpad. This is set far enough below the Spacebar to avoid any accidental activation while typing. The touchpad is oval in shape and black, while a large silver frame surrounds it. Below the touchpad are two buttons that emulate the left and right mouse buttons. Pressing either of these buttons results in a very loud click which you’ll find either reassuring or annoying. Between the selector buttons is a four-way rocker for scrolling pages both horizontally and vertically.
Although the chassis of the Voyager 64 is large I found it very ergonomic to work with and suffered none of the typing problems that I encountered when using the Acer Aspire 2003WLMi. If there is one criticism, it’s that the right hand side of the wrist rest gets very warm with prolonged use.
Evesham has pushed the boat out with the optical drive. For a start it’s a slot loader, which may not be physically superior to a tray loading drive, but it’s much cooler feeding CDs into your notebook this way. This drive will write CD-R and CD-RW discs, which is pretty much standard these days. But it’s also a DVD writer and will happily burn DVD-R and DVD-RW discs as well. But wait, it doesn’t end there. Being a Panasonic unit, this drive will also read and write DVD-RAM discs, which gives you the ability to use double sided 9.4GB discs with random read/write access. A DVD-RAM disc acts more or less like a removable hard disk and is ideal for secure, removable data storage.