The sound is also pretty good out of the built-in speakers. It’s obviously not ground shaking, but it’s more than acceptable for the odd bit of gaming if you don’t have any external speakers or headphones handy. The speakers can be turned up pretty loud without any hint of distortion, so try to be considerate if you’re enjoying a frag-fest while on a train.
What is really impressive is that no matter what the Voodoo is doing, it remains cool, whereas the Rock Xtreme! had a steady flow of warm air exiting the side of the chassis.
Where this Voodoo does beat the Rock Xtreme! hands down is with battery life. Despite the high-spec components, the Envy M:860 managed a battery life time of two hours 21 minutes, so you could actually play games on the move, which isn’t really an option with the Rock. But to be fair, the Rock’s lack of battery life is offset by its phenomenal performance scores – it’s a case of, you pay your money and make your choice.
Talking of money, you’re going to need pretty deep pockets if you want a custom-built machine from Voodoo. In the configuration I’m testing here, the Envy M:860 will set you back a not insignificant £2,206.56, but that’s before you add import duty to the bill, which, in the case of this machine came to £272.42. So you’re looking at a total price of £2,478.98 which is actually more expensive than the Rock Xtreme!, despite the latter’s ludicrously expensive P4 Extreme Edition CPU.
So, the Voodoo Envy M:860 is more expensive than the Rock Xtreme! and not as powerful, but if I was going to put some money down on a notebook that could handle the latest games it would be this one. Why? Well, because for me the high-resolution screen, beautiful finish and usable battery life outweigh the higher performance and slight difference in price. It’s true that this isn’t the fastest gaming notebook you can buy, that honour definitely belongs to Rock, but in terms of overall package I have to say that the Voodoo has the edge.
The Envy M:860 is a beautiful notebook with a welcome flair of individuality. The high-resolution widescreen display is stunning and the gaming performance is solid. Unfortunately the CPU just didn’t seem to be performing at it’s optimum speed, but we did see this behavior in another Athlon 64 3400+ based machine. But the slightly under par performance and even the very high price can’t hide the fact that Voodoo knows how to build very special notebooks.