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PC Plus Magazine (July '03)

Good battery life makes this entry-level Rock Xeno SP
an enticing prospect. It’s also the smallest of the bunch….

The Xeno SP is the second laptop this month that’s powered by an Intel Pentium 4 desktop chip, here a 2.4GHz model. The advantages are obvious: more power, less cost. The only trade-off is that this improved performance murders long battery life…..

Desktop processors are power- guzzlers and need to be kept cool. Rock has attempted to address these problems with its SmartPower technology, which automatically adjusts processor speed depending on the demands you place on it. This is not completely dissimilar to the SpeedStep technology that’s part of Intel’s Mobile Pentium 4 design. For battery life, Rock quotes three and a half hours for this machine, although in reality this is closer to two and a half.

There are other points in favour of the Xeno SP. Most notably, the small light casing (2.4kg) is very rare for a low-cost laptop, and it makes the Rock the lightest machine in the group by some margin. A light laptop makes working on the move a real possibility, and this is the only member of our group we’d consider carrying for any length of time.

The inclusion of a combination CD0-RW/DVD drive means you can back up data and watch movies easily. There’s a good array of ports and connectors too, including three USB 2.0 ports.

In Use
The screen on the Xeno XP is the standard size at 14.1-inches and is suitably crisp and clear. The keyboard has a solid feel, typical of the Xeno range, while the touchpad incorporates a pair of scroll buttons. In terms of performance, the P4 chip is complemented by a 30GB hard disk and 256MB of RAM. Tests with MobileMark 2002 refused to yield a score but, like the Amilo D, the extra muscle lessens the battery life.

It’s unfortunate that the MobileMark benchmark refused to run despite several attempts, as this effectively put the Xeno XP out of the running for the Editors Choice award. With a reasonably strong battery life, the Xeno SP is still worth considering - it is the smallest machine here, after all. Ultimately it depends on what you want your £1,000 portable to be best at. Do you want an all-rounder you can carry with ease? Or a PC that pretends to be a desktop?

MODEL Rock Xeno-SP
FOR Good warranty, small and light.
AGAINST Smaller screen than some.
PROCESSOR Intel 2.4Ghz P4
DISPLAY 14.1-inch TFT LCD (1024 x 768), SiS 650 (64Mb VRAM)
PORTS 1 x Type II PCMCIA, 3 x USB, S-Video, Monitor Out, IEEE 1394, IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN
OTHER 56K Modem, 10/100 Ethernet, Prism Wireless
OS Windows XP Professional
WARRANTY Three years Collect and Return
PRICE £849 ex VAT
VALUE 8/10

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All Xeno reviews

Xeno-m - Computer Shopper (August '03)
Xeno-SP - PC Plus Magazine (July '03)
Xeno-m - Computer Shopper (July '03)
Xeno-m - Computer Shopper (June '03)
Xeno-m - Computer Shopper (April '03)
Xeno-m - PC Home Magazine (April '03)
Xeno-m - PC Plus Magazine (April '03)
Xeno-m - Computer Shopper (March '03)
Xeno-m - What Laptop Magazine (March '03)
Xeno-m - PCW Magazine (March '03)
Xeno-m - PC Pro Magazine (March '03)
Xeno-m - Computer Buyer Magazine (February '03)
Xeno-m - What Laptop (February '03)
Xeno-m - TES (January 03)
Xeno-m - PC Plus Magazine (January 03)
Xeno-m - PC Pro Magazine (December '02)
Xeno-m - What Laptop (November '02)
Xeno - PC Advisor (June '02)

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