Rock Pegasus 550N review

£884
Price when reviewed

Widescreen notebooks are quickly becoming the norm, but not everyone wants a 16:9 aspect ratio. Like the AJP, Rock’s Pegasus 550N stands out here by sticking with a conventional 15in 1,280 x 1,024 TFT. It isn’t as spacious as AJP’s (which offers 1,400 x 1,050 pixels), although text and program buttons are larger and easier to read, which may suit some. Viewing angles are fairly narrow, so the 550N isn’t suited to presentations.

Rock Pegasus 550N review

Integrated graphics courtesy of Intel’s latest GMA950 chipset mean this isn’t a gaming notebook. In return, you get three hours, 20 minutes’ battery life under light use, 20 minutes more than the AJP. There’s also a webcam for video calling; it handles movement well and can tolerate backlighting.

Protection behind the screen is solid, so you can feel confident taking the Pegasus out on the road. Elsewhere, the chassis is up to a travelling role too, but at 2.7kg it’s more for occasional trips than a road-warrior’s tool. We like the comfortable keyboard, which has all its keys in the right places. The touchpad isn’t quite as good: the recessed mouse buttons are difficult to press.

For 2D performance, the Rock came last, although not by much. Although it has a 1.83GHz Core Duo T2400 processor, it’s teamed with 512MB of RAM. This doesn’t make a huge difference compared to 1GB systems, but the system as a whole fell slightly behind in our 2D graphics test, giving an Overall score of 0.88.

Hard disk storage is relatively generous at 100GB, while a DVD writer handles dual-layer discs but not DVD-RAM discs. Ports include a basic media card reader, an ExpressCard/54 slot, three USB 2 ports, mini-FireWire and a mini-jack S/PDIF output. Along with Gigabit Ethernet, there’s 802.11a/b/g, but not Bluetooth.

However, one of the highlights is the insurance-backed warranty, just like AJP’s, which provides three years’ collect-and-return cover. Also like the AJP, there’s a basic carry case included in the box.

We’re happy that the Pegasus 550N is a big step forward in terms of build quality over the Pentium M-powered version we saw recently, and we have no qualms about its durability. Although there are cosmetic differences, it’s essentially the same notebook as the AJP. The Pegasus may have longer battery life, but the AJP has a higher-resolution screen and twice the complement of RAM. But ultimately, they’re both usurped by the Evesham, which is a better performer and offers better value.

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