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Pegasus T4 - Computer Buyer (Jun '05)

RECOMENDED

Rock's Pegasus T4 is light, compact, well designed and has the longest battery life in a note book we have seen in a notebook.

Unless you're tottering down the side of the Grand Canyon on a mule or flying a microlight across the Gobi desert, most travel is a bit dull. The good new is, if you have a laptop, you don't have to be bored. All modern laptops have a DVD drive for watching DVD movies and most have a battery life of at least an hour and a half. But what if your film is a few minutes longer than that, Gone With The Wind, for instance? What you need is a laptop with a long-life eight-cell battery. Now you'd think that would cost a bomb. Not the Rock Pegasus: it only costs £899 including VAT.

ONE NOTEBOOK TO GO

With its eight-call battery, the T4 weighs only 2.51kg. Not the lightest notebook we've ever seen, but not far off. Its well under the 3kg comfort threshold. The extra 30g for the extra battery is certainly worth it.

This notebook lasted a stunning 3 hours and 32 minutes in our intensive battery tests: enough to get the whole of Ben Hur before it runs out.

Weight and battery life aren't everything though. A laptop has to be able to stand up to the rigours of life on the road: The Pegasus is robust enough: there are no delicate flaps or port covers that might get snapped off. The chassis is solid and well constructed, all the seams are properly sealed and nothing feels like it will snap at the first time the Pegasus gets a knock.

In common with many cheaper laptops, the screen lid isn't quite stiff enough. If you apply pressure to the back of the screen flexes and distorts.

FEATURES

The Pegasus only has 34GB of usable hard disk space. That's the very minimum that we would consider acceptable. On the other hand it has 512MB of RAM - though 32MB of this is reserved for the graphics chip. That still leaves plenty of memory to almost run any current program smoothly. And if your hard disk gets too full, you could always back up some of your data to DVD discs using it's Lite-on DVD writer . Or, you could transfer it to another system on your network, using the Ethernet port or 802.11g wireless network (WiFi) capability. If that doesn't suit you could always plug an external hard disc into one of the 3 USB ports, or its mini-FireWire connector.

COMFY BUT NOT WARM

Even after running our benchmarks and being on most of the night, this system didn't noticeably heat up. Some laptops get uncomfortably warm underneath when they've been on for a while and working hard. If you're working with the laptop, well, on your lap, this is a problem. The keyboard is also comfortable to use, it's layout being close to that of a normal desktop keyboard.

Crucially, it has a full-sized return key, so you don't end up hitting the arrow keys every time you want to enter a carriage return. The mousepad is decently responsive and not to close to the space bar comfort-wise.

Our only reservation was the quality of the screen. At its default setting, its rather dull. This is easily fixed by turning up the brightness up, but colours still look at little washed out, as if the light is being diffused by the anti-glare filter. Its also noticeably brighter in the centre of the screen than round the edges, though most people probably won't notice.

PERFORMANCE

This system uses integrated Intel graphics, so it's not powerful enough for gaming. It's score of 6 frames per second in our Doom 3 gaming benchmark isn't really comparable with most other systems on the test because the graphics chip doesn't allow you to set the detail settings at their proper levels (4xanti-aliasing and 8xanisotropic filtering). For everyday tasks such as word processing and surfing the Web, though, the Rock has more than enough oomph.

BUYING DECISIONS

The Rock Pegasus T4 is an excellent notebook with a fantastic battery life. With a bigger hard disk it would have stood a good chance of winning a Best Buy Award.

 

  OVERALL: 5/6

 

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