The sturdy build quality, spacious keyboard and bright 15.4-inch widescreen display makes this a laptop that's outwardly appealing, but how does it score in terms of performance?
Unfortunately, it puts in a pretty average showing. The Sempron processor has plenty of grunt for day-to-day tasks, but Evesham has hamstrung its performance by only providing the laptop with a mean 512MB helping of memory. Windows Vista is a good deal more memory hungry than XP and 512MB just doesn't seem to give it enough breathing space.
If you get a few applications up and running at the same time, the laptop can feel sluggish when switching between open windows. This was reflected in its lowly score of 1,687 in our PC Mark 05 test.
It's not really a machine for gaming, either. Unfortunately it refused to run our 3D Mark test, but the onboard GeForce 6100 struggled to achieve a decent frame rate in Far Cry.
Battery performance is distinctly average, too. In our test it managed to keep running for 1 hour and 20 minutes. That's not a terrible showing, but we've seen other machines with a similar specification in this price range manage to eek another 20 to 30 minutes out of their power packs.
On the plus side, the 15.4-inch widescreen display has a sharp resolution of 1,280x800 pixels and is bright and evenly lit, so it's as good for viewing Web pages as it is for watching movies. The built-in speakers, although not exactly neighbour-botherers, can pump out music at a decent volume and most people will find the 80GB hard drive spacious enough for storing a decent amount of photos, music, videos and documents.
Although not the hottest performer around, we wouldn't completely count out the Evesham Quest A235 -- it still has a number of plus points going for it. The screen is good, the keyboard and trackpad are comfortable to use and it feels like it's built to last. The real problem with it is that it just doesn't have enough memory to comfortably deal with the extra demands of Windows Vista.
Evesham gives buyers the option of upgrading to 1GB of memory for an additional £60, and we think in that configuration it would be a much more attractive purchase.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Kate Macefield