We have always liked the ebox series of media centre PCs from Evesham because they perform as good as they look and don’t cost the earth.
Even the fact that Evesham Technology went into administration a couple of months back does not dampen our enthusiasm.
After all, the company has bounced back under new ownership with all existing warranties honoured and, from the looks of this effort, no drop in the product quality that we have become used to.
So what about the new ebox HD then, can it compete with the crowd as well as its previous incarnations? The answer appears to be a resounding yes: a 320Gb hard drive, 2Gb of RAM, R690 chipset, dual DVB TV tuners and that all important HDMI output all wrapped up in the sexiest of matt black boxes for the living room. Even the pricing, at £700 including the VAT and a three year warranty, are spot on.
Then there is the wireless keyboard and mouse to accompany the remote control, so no need to get square eyes or trip up the wife when you want to do a spot of computing stuff. The amount of memory, coupled to the twin tuners, means there is no lag when you start multi-tasking either. This is a real dual function, all-in-one, entertainment PC. It isn’t perfection though.
The main reason being one of noise levels. Now, hands up, we could have just got a slightly noisy machine, it does happen. So we asked another reviewer who had played with one about the sound of the fans spinning up, and down, and up again during HD movie playback and he agreed it had been a problem.
It isn’t that the fan noise is overpoweringly loud, it doesn’t cause you to raise your voice when they cut in, just your eyebrows.
An annoyance more than a major cause for concern, and certainly not as noisy as many a desktop PC for sure. But don’t expect the same levels of background whirr that you get from a Sky+ box for example.
But then you don’t get Windows Vista Home Premium running on your Sky+ box, nor a dual core PC ready to work when you’ve finished kicking back. The ebox even looks better, if you prefer smooth matt black metallic finishes to dodgy looking silver and grey plastic ones that is.
It is a shame that Evesham did not stretch to either a Blu-Ray or HD DVD drive though, considering that the HD aspect of the new ebox is a major selling point.
However, if you are looking for something that bridges the gap between price and performance, that crosses the divide twixt pure play and work when required, if you need a computer that will not look out of place next to your Xbox 360 Elite and that huge flat screen TV you’ve just bought, then the ebox HD is it.
Only a smidgeon more expensive than the last ebox from Evesham, but kicking a whole lot more HD ass. Powerful, sexy and good value for money.