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 Nethighstreet.com
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to show its age, having been superseded by the 9600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
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.
|VALUE FOR MONEY
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