Reviews / Pegasus 210 - Bios: The Essential IT guide-
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UK-based Rock Group is determined to make its mark in the performance market. From a company selling ugly-as-fuggly re-badged machines from somewhere in the Far East, the company has transformed itself over the years into one that now sells pretty decent looking re-badged machines from somewhere in the Far East. But to be fair, for an independent company slugging against the marketing might of Dell, Alienware, HP and others, Rock is doing us Brits proud. One way it’s managing to keep its head above the water is by getting machines with the latest cutting-edge components onto the market before anyone else.
The Pegasus 210 (from £799) is a 12-inch ultra-portable laptop designed to meet the everyday demands of business professionals. The machine pretty much sucks at running games and high-end multimedia, but for number crunchers who can’t afford a ThinkPad it might be just the ticket. In fact, if it wasn’t for the jaw-dropping ThinkPad X300 (from £1790), the Pegasus 210 might actually be a contender for your cash.
Sporting a totally black enclosure that looks fresh and modern, the Pegasus 210 is definitely one of the best looking ultra-portables on the market. It’s also extremely light at just 1.2kg, even thought it packs a magnesium alloy chassis and hard disk shock protection. And don’t let the fact that Rock is pitching the system to corporate road warriors put you off - the Pegasus 210 would look great on campus or in your bedroom.
The machine’s super-slim design even houses a rift of components essential for true mobile computing including 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and optional 3G HSDPA connectivity (SIM slot resides under the removable battery) to help ensure that Internet is easily accessible while travelling at home or abroad. Furthermore, TPM and biometric fingerprint access technology help to ensure sensitive data is fully protected from unauthorised access using a high level of encryption and hardware security - plus, it’s just plain cool to boot the system by giving Windows the finger!
Based on Intel’s UMPC architecture, the Pegasus 210 runs Windows XP Professional or Vista Business. It is powered by an Intel A110 Processor (800MHz, 512KB cache), Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950, 80GB 4200rpm 1.8-inch ATA HDD, 1GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM and a 12-inch (1280x800 pixels) X-Glass display. There’s no built-in optical drive, but Rock does offer an optional Dual Layer USB powered DVD re-writer (£85) if there’s any room left in your handbag. As you can see, the specifications aren’t going to blow you away, but the system is more than up to task of running typical office applications and the odd game (2D point-and-click adventurers will have nothing to complain about!).
Other noticeable additions include a 4-in-1 card reader, PCMCIA Card Slot, three USB 2.0 ports, VGA output (annoyingly on the side rather than the back of machine), headphone and microphone jacks, Gigabit LAN, V.92 modem, Kensington Lock slot, and paltry mono speaker. The dedicated switch to toggle Wi-Fi comes in handy, as does the Eco button for putting the laptop into a state of low power to conserve juice and the programmable button for quick-launching your favourite application. The trackpad and mouse buttons are on the small size though, and we didn’t like the way the noisy-when-clicked mouse buttons are so close to the edge of the chassis. The keyboard is a bit hit-and-miss too, with some core keys being smaller than the rest - in particular the spacebar and direction keys.
Rock has designed the Pegasus 210 to be impervious from day to day miss haps, and it probably is one of most resilient ultra-portable laptops on the market. Built quality is reasonable - though still a million miles away from a ThinkPad - and according to the company it can withstand drops, liquid spillages, shocks (not of the horror move variety), compression and excessive vibration. But due to the number of insurance claims we’ve already made this year we didn’t put Rock to the test!
Battery life is impressive at around 6 hours from the standard 4400mAh 6-cell battery, but you should expect this to drop to around 4 hours when pushing the machine with processor-intensive applications. Unfortunately there’s no second bay to insert a second battery. If you’re on a tight budget and are looking for lightweight Windows laptop to run essential tasks like Web browsing, managing e-mails and running Office, the Pegasus 210 is a reasonable choice if you don’t want the amazing build and support of a Lenovo or the chic brand appeal of a Sony. 
Not in the same league as a ThinkPad or MacBook Air, but would make an ideal travelling companion for those on a budget
Good value; robust magnesium alloy chassis; excellent display; 802.11n, Bluetooth & 3G; biometric security
Sluggish performance; small keyboard; pathetic mono speaker; no optical drive