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Pegasus DTS

PC Pro (November '03)

Verdict: A well-designed and solid notebook, with a decent screen and DVD burner for a reasonable price. And if £1599 is too much, lower-priced models might tempt you.

Business notebooks are rarely the most glamorous machines, but Rock has hit on the perfect compromise with the Attractive Pegasus DTS. True, it doesn’t have the lust- inducing allure of, say, and Apple PowerBook, but it will win admiring glances on the train.

Understand smartness is the theme, and you wouldn’t be ashamed to take this machine out in a meeting. In fact, the 15.4in widescreen display makes it perfect for such occasions, although you might find the horizontal viewing angles a problem if presenting to a large group. Otherwise, the good contrast, adequate backlighting and excellent definition make the Pegasus ideal for work and presentations. It’s a sham that the native resolution is only 1,280 x 800, but this is still sufficient for two applications on-screen at once.

The TFT is also good for DVD movies, and not just because of the wide-aspect ratio. There were no problems with artefacts or dragging, and it handles action impressively too. Our only complaint is that the colour balance it a little too red on flesh tones. Film buffs will also be excited by the Rock’s integrated 4.1 surround-sound system, although the overall effect is a little disappointing. Despite the subwoofer, there’s little bass response and high frequencies sound muddled. There’s a reasonable amount of volume, though, as well as a conveniently located headphone socket for more discreet listening.

So the Pegasus DTS isn’t exactly a home cinema replacement, but it offers enough to watch a DVD movie when you’re on the move and has the power you need when you get back to work too. With it’s 1.7GHz Pentium-M, the Pegasus scored a nippy 1.49 in our 2D performance benchmarks, which is more than enough for any office applications plus some serious number crunching. There’s also 512MB of PC2100 memory to keep things running smoothly, although this does take up the only SODIMM socket and is shared by the integrated Intel graphics.

At this point it’s also worth noting that this machine wasn’t built with 3D gaming in mind. Scraping a score of 1,581 in 3Dmark2001 SE in 32-bit XGA, some older games will still tick along with no problems but it simply won’t cut the mustard with recent releases.

But 3D gaming is hardly a selling point for a business notebook, and the Rock otherwise comes with everything you need. This includes well though-out storage, with not only a 80GB hard disk but a 2x/1x DVD-RW and 16x/10x/24x CD-RW combo drive burner to boot.

The keyboard layout is excellent as well, including separated cursors, page navigation and function keys, not to mention sensibly sized keys. It’s also comfortable to use, with a pleasingly light touch and good depth of travel. It doesn’t make too much noise, and you can happily type away without feeling self-conscious. Best of all, it’s set in a solid chassis and exhibits virtually no flexing or dipping even if your typing hard. The only real area of concern with build quality is the lid, which, although lockable by a switch, doesn’t offer fantastic protection to the screen. A padded bag would be a sensible precaution if you plan on moving it around a lot, especially as it’s 362 x 261 x 36mm (W x D x H) dimensions mean it’s not the most convenient machine to slip into a rucksack.

But looks can be deceiving, and the 3Kg weight is much less than you’d expect. The occasional train journey or trip home is certainly feasible too, with our extensive battery-use test yielding nearly two-and-a-half hours away from the mains. Light use was more disappointing, lasting just half an hour more - possibly due to the lack of difference between highest and lowest brightness settings, although its still adequate given the screen size and power on offer.

However, despite the large chassis, it’s worth noting that there are no serial or parallel ports, which is a problem if you need to use an elderly peripheral. The ports are well laid out, though, with the infrared port sitting at the front and the S-Video and VGA outputs on the left. There’s also a single Type II PC Card slot free, three USB 2 ports split between the side and back, as well as a four-pin FireWire port. As an unusual finale, the Pegasus also includes a camera nestled inconspicuously above the screen, which can stake still or moving images at 640 x 480 - great for videoconferencing.

More widescreen notebooks are beginning to hit the market, and a 15.4in widescreen TFT is an excellent compromise between size and portability. This is also shared by HP’s Compaq nx 7000 (see issue 108, p59), which offers more design verve, better 3D performance and a higher- resolution screen for £1,229, but you’ll have to settle for a 40GB hard disk and no DVD burner. That said, you can compromise on the DTS’s specification to find a price more suited to your budget - as low as £999.The extra money on the Pegasus is difficult to justify, although - as with all Rock notebooks - it does come with a tree-year, collect-and-return warranty. If you’ve got the money, though, this is a well put-together business notebook that’s certainly worth a look.

MODEL Rock Pegasus DTS
PERFORMANCE 5/6
FEATURES & DESIGN 5/6
VALUE FOR MONEY 4/6
OVERALL 5/6

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All Pegasus DTS reviews

Pegasus DTS - IT Reviews (Jan '04)
Pegasus DTS - Computer Buyer (Jan '04)
Pegasus DTS - Computer Active (Nov '03)
Pegasus DTS - Windows XP Magazine (Nov '03)
Pegasus DTS - PC Pro (Nov '03)

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