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Quaddra XT

What Laptop (March '04)


Verdict: A highly usable laptop that has sufficient power for every task but is better suited to the desktop that to life on the road.

The Rock Quaddra XT 2.8 (£998 inc VAT) shares the same appearance as the AJP D410E and WPC900, but with its mix of silver and dark blue it has a more attractive look than the pale machines. The Quaddra is sturdy, particularly the hinge supporting the screen to the main chassis. The screen is also supported by a toughened back-plate to protect the display in transit.

The Rockdirect is a large machine, weighing in at 3.5kg and is intended for life on a desktop rather than as a mobile machine. To support this theory, Rockdirect has fitted the Quaddra with a desktop processor, in this instance the 2.8Ghz Intel Pentium 4. One downside of using such a processor in a laptop is that the fan is often active. While the fan of the Quadra did not run constantly, we found that it would run for long spells then stop.

The system is supported by 512MB of DDR SDRAM and a 40GB Fujitsu hard drive. Under test, this configuration scored a mobile mark of 158, which was the second highest in the group test. We found the Quaddra to be a powerful machine that did not hang when saving or loading applications.

The 15-inch TFT supports a resolution of 1400 x 1050 pixels and is bright and clear with no dead pixels on the screen. In comparison to the AJP machine, the Quaddra did not seem as bright, with a slight yellow tone to some white areas. This did not hinder how we worked on the system, though, and was nothing more than a minor complaint against an otherwise good display.

Fitted with a webcam in the lid, users will be able to send images of themselves over Instant Messenger services with ease.

The screen is supported by the ATi Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics adapter, which is fitted with 64MB of its own video memory. This adapter is now beginning to show its age, having been superseded by the 9600 and the imminent arrival of ATi’s next generation processor. That said, it is capable of running DVD Movies and multimedia applications in an office environment. This is borne out by a 3Dmark 2001 score of 6844, which was the highest in the group test after WPC900.

The keyboard of the Quaddra is fitted to the rear of the main body, which means that the user needs to reach over the chassis in order to type. Due to the placement of function keys on the right-hand side of the keyboard, the board is not central, resulting in the typist’s left hand not being fully on the palm rest. Once again this is more a minor complaint than a flaw and does not hinder the usability of the machine.

Rockdirect has opted to install Windows XP Home Edition on the Quaddra and has bundled the standard array of applications with the system, including Ahead Nero and InterVideo WinDVD for use with the Sony DVD/CDRW combination drive. For protecting against viral attacks the Quaddra comes pre-installed with Panda Anti Virus.

The Rock direct Quaddra XT 2.8 is a powerful and all-round usable laptop. While its components are not strictly cutting-edge, and it is rather heavy, this budget system is in keeping with what is available at this price point. We found that it is more than capable of handling our tests, offering good features and performance at an attractive price.



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All Quaddra reviews

Quaddra XT - PC Pro (Oct '04)
Quaddra XT - Waht Laptop (Mar '04)
Quaddra XT - PC Plus (Oct '03)
Quaddra XT - Computer Shopper (Sep '03)
Quaddra XT - PCW Magazine (Sep '03)
Quaddra XS - PC Home (Jun '03)
Quaddra - PC Plus Magazine (Nov '02)
Quaddra - Computer Active Magazine (Aug '02)

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