Reviews / Pegasus 710 - Computer Buyer-
» Computer Buyer says 4/5
Big? Check. Clever? Check. Sold.
Not all laptops are meant to be portable. The Rock Pegasus 710 is a case in point. Thanks to its 17 inch widescreen TFT display, this slab of a PC measures nearly a foot and a half across and weighs 3.5kg – not the sort of thing you·ll want to lug around all day unless you·re a lumberjack. But that·s because its real place is in the home – or, more specifically, the living room. Tucked away in its side is the 710·s secret weapon: an HD DVD drive. Together with the HDMI display output, this means you can enjoy high definition DVD films on that new HDTV you promised yourself for Christmas. Given that the latest standalone HD DVD players won·t leave you much change from £500 on their own, that·s a lot of technology squeezed into a PC that costs less than £1000.
The Rock Pegasus P710-T7500 is based on the latest generation of Intel·s mobile processor technology, codenamed Santa Rosa. To qualify for its Centrino Duo sticker, the 710 contains three key components: a Core 2 Duo processor, the Intel 965GM chipset and built-in WiFi. In this case, the processor is Intel·s T7500, with two cores running at 2.2GHz. It·s not quite top-of-the-range stuff, but paired with a decent 2GB of memory it powered the Rock to a score of 162% in our 2D benchmarks. That means the Rock is more than a match for many desktop PCs, and will cope with any main-stream software for the foreseeable future.
The Rock is also well placed to deal with the latest generation of gaming software. Its GeForce 8600M GS graphics card isn·t quite at the top of nVidia·s line, but is equipped to play forthcoming titles that use Microsoft·s new set of gaming intructions, DirectX 10. Unlike the 512MB of memory fitted in pricier models the Rock·s 8600 has just 256MB of texture memory, and only managed 18.8 frames per second in our demanding Call Of Duty 2 3D graphics test. That·s still enough to run this and other recent titles playably if you turn down the video quality settings. We were less impressed with the built-in speakers, a stereo set with a tiny subwoofer on the underside. They lacked a little at both ends of the audio spectrum, providing insufficient oomph for the bangs and rumbles of games, and not enough sparkly treble for music. Still we could live with them.
The 17 inch screen has a resolution of 1,440 x 900 pixels, making it ideal for watching DVDs. The glossy, reflective surface provides good contrast, though viewing angles weren·t quite as wide as we·d have liked, and colours tended to look a little washed out.
The bigger picture
If you bought this notebook to watch HD DVDs, however, you·d want to plug in an external screen with enough size and pixels to do them justice.Since the Rock only got an hour and 14 minutes into our movie DVD before its battery ran out, entertainment on the move is not really an option.At home, though it·ll nestle happily under your HDTV, connected via HDMI. Of course, plumping for a laptop with an HD DVD drive places you firmly in one camp in the continuing battle of high-def formats. Unless you have a Blu-ray player or Sony PlayStation 3, you·ll be limited to movies released on HD DVD. With an increasing range of films out in both formats, though, it·s looking less of a risky prospect.
Clad in a dated gunmetal grey, the Pegasus P710-T7500 won·t win any awards for style, but it·s not hideous, and it does give you a lot of technology for your money. While there are more powerful laptops out there, you won·t currently find a better combination of performance and HD DVD playback for less than four figures.
HD DVD and gaming to go, for under a grand.