PC Home Issue 133 (April '03)
Rock prove that size isn’t everything
Out of all of the computer and technology companies
we know, Rock has to be the most under-rated. They have
been making laptops for many years, made the first commercially
available full-colour laptop monitor and yet still have
not gained the following they deserve. The Xeno-m, as
well as being the thinnest and lightest notebook in
our test, is allegedly the thinnest P4 laptop in the
world. Not having the opportunity to check this out
completely, we are going to take Rock’s word for
it, but it is easy to believe when you see the Xeno-m.
Next to the Hi-Grade Notino, it is perhaps the most
attractive model we’ve seen recently, with a dark
blue, almost purple, lid, grey inside and titanium buttons
throughout. The touch-pad is a good size and well placed,
and the main inputs are large enough not to cause problems.
Compact but powerful
Of course, a good looking laptop is nothing without
the power to back it up, so it’s fortunate that
Rock have put some thought into what is driving the
Xeno-m. Inside its diminutive case is a mobile Pentium
4 2.0GHz processor, assisted by a hefty 512Mb DDR-RAM
and 40Gb Hitachi hard disk. Graphics are provided by
the SiS 650 chipset, which isn’t surprising for
a device of this price and dimensions, but mildly disappointing
nonetheless. If nothing else, Rock has always given
their laptops a high-quality display, and there’s
no change with this. With all of its 14.1” clear
and well defined, it’s easily among the best of
this round-up. Because of its smaller size, there’s
no floppy drive included, but a DVD/CD-RW combo is tucked
into the side. The Xeno-m comes pre-loaded with a copy
of PowerDVD for playing movies, but strangely lacks
any kind of CD-burning software, something that is essential
given there is no other convenient way of transporting
files off of it. Protection of your system is supplied
by the inclusion of Panda Anti-Virus, which is standard
for all Rock models.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise we had when testing
the Xeno-m is the fact that it still manages to pack
in quite a few connection options. There are in fact
three USB ports (two on the right hand side and one
on the left), a Firewire connection, S-Video, PCMCIA
slot, PS2, external monitor, LAN and modem, as well
as headphone and microphone socket on the front casing.
Giving its smaller size, it easily stands up to, and
embarrasses, some of the other models in this test.
Almost matching the biggest notebook, the Pico, for
connection methods and power.
If you’re looking for a powerful business machine
that is incredibly compact, then the Rock comes out
on top by some way.
Best for Business
If you want a laptop for business use, you
not only need a reasonably high powered system for your
office applications, but something that is easily portable.
The Rock Xeno-m is the hands down winner here with its
2GHz processor and large HDD all of which is in one
of the slimmest and sexiest packages we’ve seen
for a long while. It’s a pricey system though,
so if you’re looking for something a little less
damaging to your bank balance, the Hi-Grade Notino 4400
also comes highly recommended.
|| Intel 2.0Ghz P4-M
||512Mb DDR-266 SDRAM
||14.1-inch TFT LCD (1024 x 768), SiS 650 (64Mb
||1 x Type II PCMCIA, 3 x USB, S-Video, Monitor
Out, IEEE 1394, IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN
||56K Modem, 10/100 Ethernet, Prism Wireless
||Slimline Matsushita DVD/CD-RW
||Windows XP Professional
||Three years RTB
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