The keyboard is a little disappointing – it’s very rattly and although the key travel is pretty good, it’s not comfortable to type on for extended periods of time. The Fn and Ctrl keys have also been swapped around and the Enter key is not full size. The touchpad is slightly erratic in use and the odd V shape doesn’t help when you try to use the scroll zone, which is partially obscured on the far right.
So, build quality apart from the keyboard is pretty solid, but it’s not up to the standards of an IBM ThinkPad, or even something from Sony or Samsung. Measuring 355 x 255 x 30mm and weighing 2.8kg the Quest Roms is fairly portable, but it’s not what you’d call ultra-portable. The problem is that the size is dictated by the screen, and 1,280 x 800 is not a particularly high resolution for a 15.4in screen.
Looking at the performance numbers it seems like the somewhat conservative 512MB of system memory is holding back the processor as Quest Roma MT 37 only managed a fairly mediocre 163 in SYSMark 2002, that’s almost 90 points slower than the Acer Ferrari 4000 which has a slower processor, but 1GB of RAM. It’s not far behind in PCMark 2005 with an overall score of 2,653, but it falls behind again in 3DMark03 with a score of 5,891, some 450 points slower than the Acer again.
With a MobileMark 2005 battery life 182 minutes I can’t really complain, although the DVD playback test was slightly shorter at 159 minutes, but you’d still be able to watch a full length film on it. The MobileMark 2005 performance rating was also down compared to the Acer with a score of 156, some 49 points behind.
The performance results aren’t amazing, but at least you should be able to work comfortably for up to three hours away from a power socket. But where the Quest Roma MT 37 wins a lot of ground over the competition is when it comes to price. At £899 including VAT this is a quite attractively priced machine considering the hardware you’re getting. The Quest Roma MT 37 may not be the greatest notebook I’ve ever seen, but if you’re on a tight budget it should fit the bill nicely.
The Evesham Quest Roma MT 37 features several high-end components but it could do with some more system memory and a better keyboard. The performance results are a mixed bag but it will handle everyday office tasks and occasional gaming without too much of a problem.