Pegasus DTS - Computer Buyer (Jan '04)

“The Rock has the longest battery life we’ve ever seen from a notebook”

Any Sacrifices the widescreen Pegasus makes in compactness are amply compensated for in performance and style.

The Pegasus DTS is the kind of notebook that will turn heads the moment you slide it out of its bag. Where other notebooks are short and stubby the Pegasus is long and slender, with a 15.4in widescreen display under its stylish metallic blue-grey lid. Perfect for kicking back and watching a few DVD movies on - but only if the rest of the system is up to scratch.

One of the first things you see when you open the Rock’s lid is a sticker telling you that the Pegasus DTS uses Intel’s Centrino technology. This means it has a Pentium-M processor (in this case a 1.4GHz), an Intel 855 motherboard chipset, and the Intel Pro / Wireless 2100 wireless networking capabilities. Centrino offers a number of power-saving and heat-reduction features, and the Pegasus certainly makes use of them. It Lasted 2 hours 43 minutes in our intensive battery life test - the longest battery life we’ve ever seen from a notebook. This test gives the battery a real pounding, and in everyday use, you could expect it to last twice this long. We were able to use spreadsheet and word processing applications quite happily for almost 5 hours.

The Rock’s impressive widescreen display is is run by an Intel 855 graphics chipset, which can be set to use up to 64Mb of the system memory for graphics purposes. The end result is crisp, sharp images and rich colours. It was a joy to watch DVD movies on. The extra screen space also enabled us to work on several programs at once, such as flickering between a spreadsheet and a word processor document.

While the Fujitsu MHT2030AT 30GB hard disk may not be the biggest around, it’s enough for most users’ needs. We were quite pleased to find a ‘combo’ DVD/CD-RW drive. You get three USB 2 ports and one mini-FireWire, as well as a type II PC Card slot. The Pegasus even has a built in Webcam, letting you see what you look like from your laptop’s perspective. Home users will appreciate the software bundle, which also includes Ability Office and Panda anti virus software.

So far, so good. It was only when we started looking at the system’s ergonomics that things started to come unstuck. The speakers are good - a bit tinny, bit still better looking than most notebook speakers. They do, however, take up a lot of space. As a result, the 88-key keyboard is the sort of size you’ll find on ordinary laptops - a wasted opportunity, given the Rock’s extra width. If the speakers had been front-mounted, Rock could have given us a really large keyboard using the standard desktop layout - great for touch typists. This is only a minor niggle, though, particularly as the keyboard is well made, with decent travel and well-spaced keys. The same can’t be said for the trackpad, which may be a bit too sensitive for some.

We were also concerned about the durability of the screen, which isn’t as robust as we’d like. In an environment such as a train, sharp judders caused little ripples in the LCD panel. There’s a lot of flex in the lid, too. Pressing on the back of the display also produced quite noticeable distortion.

While the Rock’s graphics chipset is fine for most purposes - even many types of games - its 3D mark score of 1839 shows that it’s not the ideal for playing the latest 3D action games. It may seem a minor point to pick on, but by including Windows XP Home, Rock is clearly aiming this laptop at the home market. This lack of any real gaming power could be a major drawback for those looking for a machine that will suit all members of the family.

The Pegasus DTS has a lot going for it. Its battery life is exceptional. If you want a system for working, or even watching DVDs on the move, then the Rock is for you. The screen is fantastic to look at - if only it weren’t so flimsy. Its lowly 3D score will also limit its appeal. Compare this PC with our current top 50, the Multivision Solus 1030, which we reviewed in our December 2003 issue. That machine scored over 9000 in 3D Mark 2001, came with a DVD writer and cost almost 200 quid less than the Pegasus. You can see why this notebook just missed getting an award.


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