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Powerful notebooks are coming down in price all the time and the Evesham Voyager X5 PM18 is yet another affordable machine with a good set of features. The Voyager X5 is not the first of its kind to arrive at the TrustedReviews offices, but it is one of the cheapest widescreen Centrino models we have seen to date.
With a 1.8GHz Pentium M745 processor and 512MB of PC2700 DDR SDRAM the Voyager X5 PM18 is powerful enough for most users, without driving up the cost too much. Adding to this is a Hitachi Travelstar 60GB 7,200 rpm hard drive with 8MB of cache and an ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics card with 128MB of memory. Add all this up and you have a very good all-round laptop that is capable of handling a wide range of tasks.
The Voyager X5 complies fully to the Centrino standard and it uses the new Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG network card, which means that you get support for both 802.11b and 802.11g wireless networks.
As this is a two spindle laptop, there is no floppy drive, but there is a DVD writer and Evesham has gone for a Multi drive, which can write to DVD-RAM as well as DVD-R/RW media, but unfortunately it can’t burn DVD+R/RW discs. This is a little disappointing, since most new drives will handle DVD+R/RW media, making the X5 a bit less versatile compared to the competition.
The 15.4in 1,280 x 800 display is fairly standard with the current crop of widescreen laptops and it’s a comfortable resolution to use, but it takes a little while to get used to if you’ve never used a widescreen display before.
The base specifications are very good, but specifications alone don’t make a good laptop. Let’s take a closer look at what ports are on offer and the general design of the chassis. On the front of the Voyager X5 is a single four-pin FireWire connector, optical S/PDIF, line out and a microphone connector. You’ll also find a memory card reader here, supporting SD, MMC and MemoryStick formats. A nice touch here is that it has built in dust protection in the shape of two small pieces of velvet that cover the opening, just like on a slot loading optical drive.
On the left hand side is a single Type II PC Card slot, the wired 10/100Mbit Ethernet connector and the 56k V.90 modem port. On the other side of the fan vent are a single USB 2.0 port, an S-Video output and a D-SUB connector. The back is fairly empty, as this is where the battery is located, so the only connectors you’ll find here are two USB 2.0 ports and the power socket. Finally on the right hand side is where you’ll find the optical drive.
This means that if you have any peripherals that use either serial or parallel connection, you won’t be able to connect them to the Voyager X5. That said, legacy devices are getting thinner on the ground these days so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. However, what is a problem is the amount of noise that the Voyager X5 produces; even when it is not being worked very hard the fan spins up regularly with a whining noise that regularly changes pitch. This can be really irritating in a quiet environment and takes a lot of the shine off an otherwise attractive chassis.