PC Plus Magazine (July '03)
Good battery life makes this entry-level Rock Xeno
an enticing prospect. It’s also the smallest of
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.
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?
||Good warranty, small and light.
||Smaller screen than some.
|| Intel 2.4Ghz P4
||256Mb 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
||Windows XP Professional
||Three years Collect and Return
||£849 ex VAT
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