What Laptop (April '04)
In Brief: An ultraportable at an ultra-affordable
price but can it safely go the distance?
The rockdirect Pegasus CTS (£998
inc. VAT) may at first glance not be considered to be
your average budget laptop as the 2.6kg machine looks
more than an ultraportable. The slimmer form factor
means that the Pegasus needs to use a mobile processor.
rockdirect has opted to use Intel 1.7GHz Pentium M processor,
which up until the release of the smaller Dothan chips
was Intel’s flagship mobile processor. So, the
use of it in a budget machine is something of a boon.
Supported by 512MB DDR SDRAM and fitted with a 40GB
Fujitsu hard drive, we were expecting a reasonable MobileMark
2002 score from this system. Therefore, we were disappointed
by the 117 scored by the Pegasus.
Along with the processor, the Pegasus comes with the
Intel 855 chipset and the use of the PRO/Wireless 2200
adapter, which offers connection to wireless networks
using the 54Mbps 802.11g but is also backwards compatible
to sit with 802.11b systems running at the slower 11Mbps
data rate. These three elements together form the Centrino
branding of the Pegasus. Weight is kept down by the
use of a 14.1-inch TFT screen, which is the smallest
panel size in this review but we found it more than
usable. The use of the Intel chipset for integrated
graphics is an obvious choice in such a laptop as this.
Under test, the Extreme 2 adapter scored a 3D mark 2001
of 2372. This is poor in comparison to dedicated graphic
cards but is a high score of an integrated solution.
Being an ultraportable machine, users
will be expecting to use their laptop wherever they
can. Therefore, battery life is an important part of
the equation. The 192 minutes registered by the Pegasus
offers over three hours and was the second highest score
in this group test.
The build quality of the Pegasus was above average for
what we have come to expect from a sub-£1000 machine.
The single hinge connecting the screen to the main body
was firm and held the panel in place. A degree of flexing
on the back of the panel wa evident but not enough to
draw concern. The build quality of the main chassis
was robust and should stand up to the rigors of mobile
life. Less appealing was the loose rattle of the keyboard,
most noticeable in the centre of the keyboard where
there is less support. The touchpad and mouse buttons
were of good quality, though.
Depending on how you intend to use
your laptop, the addition of a webcam cam either be
an advantage or merely an unused feature. However, we
found it easy to use and it offered reasonable, if not
The Pegasus is a two-spindle machine
and offers the addition of a DVD/CD-RW combination drive
located on the right-hand side of the chassis. rockdirect
has bundled InterVideo Win DVD and Roxio Easy CD with
the system, which allows for the Playback of DVD movies
or making CD-Rs, respectively.
When people consider a budget laptop,
their first thought is of a system that is reaching
the end of its lifespan, with an ageing specification
to match. With the aggressive pricing of UK companies
such as rockdirect, this fallacy is constantly being
proven wrong. The rockdirect Pegasus CTS (£998
inc. VAT) is a lightweight laptop that can effectively
double as either a main computer or second machine.
|VALUE FOR MONEY
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