Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

Last week I looked at the Rock Xtreme! XTR-3.4EE gaming notebook and this week the mobile gaming theme continues with this – the Voodoo Envy M:860. Voodoo has been making high-end gaming notebooks for some time, and has built its reputation on producing cutting edge and individually styled machines, and this particular model is no different.

The Rock did it’s best to make the Xtreme! look different and attractive, but when you look at the Voodoo you realise that Rock still has some way to go in terms of aesthetics. To say that this Voodoo looks special is an understatement of epic proportions. Even though it’s finished in a slightly subdued white, the lacquered surface just makes it gleam when you take it out of your bag and the traditional Voodoo Tattoo on the lid is far more imposing than it was on the red Envy M:855 that we looked at a little while ago. The left and right sides of the chassis are finished in lacquered black, and the overall effect in conjunction with the white is stunning.

So, there’s no denying that Voodoo knows how to build a good looking machine, and of course you can specify the colour yourself, as well as the design of the tattoo the lid, although it’s worth bearing in mind that the latter carries with it an extra cost. I have to say that when I asked for this notebook from Voodoo I quite fancied the orange colour, but then I was told it would be shipping in blue, which was my second choice. However, I would never have chosen white, but now that I’ve seen it, I’m a complete convert.

It’s no surprise to see that the Envy M:860 is a pretty high-spec notebook. After all, if you want to play the latest games on the move, you’re going to need a bit of grunt under the hood. Unlike the Rock last week, this Voodoo is based on AMD technology and the central processing duties are fulfilled by an Athlon 64 3400+. Supporting the AMD CPU is 1GB of 333MHz DDR RAM and a 60GB 7,200rpm hard disk – both these components should help to push the performance of the Voodoo that bit further.

Of course you can’t have a gaming notebook without a decent graphics solution, and Voodoo has gone for the best mobile graphics chipset available in the shape of the ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 complete with 128MB of memory.

Regardless of the fact that Voodoo designs its machines as mobile gaming platforms, the notebook basics are still very important – screen, keyboard and pointing device. Now, the Rock I looked at last week had a stunning screen thanks to the X-Glass finish, which made the image look particularly bright and the colours vivid. But the screen on this Voodoo is superb for different reasons. For a start this is a 15.4in widescreen display, so when you play DVD movies on the Voodoo you can watch them in their true anamorphic glory. That said, widescreen displays are pretty common on larger notebooks these days, but what isn’t so common is the 1,680 x 1,050 resolution. This is a fantastic notebook resolution and one that I haven’t seen on a machine since I reviewed the HP nx7000 last October. With this resolution you can easily use the Voodoo as your only computer since it lends itself perfectly to office applications, and having multiple windows open simultaneously is not a problem. Of course you’re not going to be able to take advantage of this amazing native resolution when playing games, since there’s no way that the Mobility Radeon 9700 could cope with it.

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