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Pegasus CTS - PC Pro (May '04)

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Verdict: The compact Rock is one of the most feature-packed notebooks here and it comes with an excellent warranty. Only the hard disk and keyboard layout count against it.

Rockdirect bases the Pegasus CTS on a small chassis manufactured by Clevo, the same Taiwanese company that AJP and ACi use for their notebooks this month. This chassis, the M3C to be precise, is much better than the D410 used by the other two. Not only is it considerably slimmer, but the keyboard is more solid. And the XGA screen might be the same resolution as the ACi’s, but it has none of the grain and is slightly brighter to boot.

Even when the two fans are running, the Pegasus is one of the quietist machines on test. Like several others, the wristrest gets warm after a little use, but it’s not uncomfortable. The fan cools a 1.4GHz Pentium M chip, which managed 1.19 in our benchmarks - practically the same as the identically equipped Hi-Grade. However, note that the 512MB of PC2100 RAM takes up both slots.

Also counting against the Rock is the 30GB hard disk. Most of the other manufacturers have fitted 40GB units, while Dell goes one better at 60GB. That said, rockdirect’s combo drive can re-write CD-RWs at 24x, which is as quick as the best on test. If you need to write to higher capacity DVD disks, rockdirect offers a DVD writer for £100. This is about average for the upgrade with NEC and ACi charging over the odds, while Mesh and Evesham are £11 and £15 cheaper respectively. Although currently fitted with an 802.11b wireless radio, the Pegasus CTS will be upgraded for free to Intel’s new 802.11b/g version of Centrino by the time you read this. The current wireless solution hardly affected the intensive battery test at all, and the machine lasted a colossal two hours, 24 minutes - a good 19 minutes longer than anything else. The DVD test and light use battery lives weren’t quite so impressive, but it still lasted over three hours in the latter.

Like the AJP, Rock has a camera fitted above the screen. This captures video at 640 x 480 and is ideal if you regularly use video conferencing. Unfortunately both the camera and wireless connection share the same power button, so can’t use one without the other. The power for both is on by default, and a trip to the BIOS is necessary to swap the option over - important for extending battery life.

The only reason you might want to avoid the Rock is because of the keyboard layout, which takes a bit of getting used to. Thankfully the three-year, collect -and-return warranty easily makes up for this: it’s the best cover on test, and it’s insurance backed. Considering the reasonable software bundle as well, the Pegasus CTS is a good choice if you need a more portable machine than the Dell.

  PERFORMANCE:
5/6
  FEATURES AND DESIGN: 6/6
  VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/6
  OVERALL: 6/6

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More Pegasus CTS Reviews:
TES Online (Mar '05)
 
What Laptop (Oct '04)
 
Tamworth Herald (Apr '04)
 
• PC Pro (May '04)
 
ICT in Education (Feb '04)
 
TES Online (Jan '04)
 
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