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Staying power

Desmond Araujo finds a laptop with 7.5 hours of battery life but still manages to be portable

The first thing that you notice when taking the Rock Pegasus CTS out of its box is the huge black bulge on its back edge. This is the laptop's battery, which offers an amazing 7.5 hours of use. So if you're after a machine that will last a long time away from mains power this has to be a strong contender.

Although the Rock is very portable, measuring just 312mm (w) x 273mm (d) x 27mm (h), and weighing just 2.5kg, it still packs a punch with its Intel 1.7GHz Pentium M processor. This is supported by 512Mb of memory (upgradable to 1Gb) and a 40Gb Fujitsu hard drive (upgradable to 80Gb). It offers great wireless connectivity through its Intel PROWireless 2200 adapter. For the more conventional there is also the option of wired network connections through the internal 10100Mbps LAN or internal 56k modem.

Although powerful, the Rock is somewhat let down by its screen capabilities. It uses an Intel 855GM and integrated 128-bit 2D3D graphics engine which give weaker 3D performance especially when compared to more common dedicated graphics processors such as the Mobility Radeon. On the other hand, it does help keep the price down. Another complaint is that the 14.1-inch XGA TFT screen's picture quality isn't that great. So if high-quality graphics is one of your requirements (or you have a serious gamer in the family) then perhaps the Pegasus CTS isn't the right machine for you.

Another weak point of the Pegasus CTS is its limited connectivity options.

There are only two USB 2 ports, but you do get a four-pin FireWire port, a PC card slot, a VGA port and an SVideo-Out port so that you can watch DVDs with your laptop connected to your TV. A good thing is that you won't need to use one of the USB ports for a webcam, as there's one mounted conveniently in the screen bezel. It doesn't offer amazing quality and is a bit on the dark side, but will capture 640 x 480 video. For a camera of such small dimensions you can't expect much better than this.

The Pegasus CTS has an elegant keyboard that's pretty quiet and the cursor keys are situated smartly away from the others. The touchpad works smoothly, and situated just underneath this are black left and right mouse buttons separated by an up and down scroll button. On the front edge of the notebook are three silver hot-key buttons. These are very practical and allow instant access to your default internet browser and email programs, plus you can toggle the wireless LAN on and off.

The build quality is very good and it's robust which makes it ideal for mobile use. Even if you do somehow damage it there is an outstanding three-year collect-and-return warranty. A recovery CD is also supplied so you can do a reinstall yourself if the unthinkable happens, and Windows XP and Ability Office are included so you can start work immediately. Complete with anti-virus software, the Pegasus CTS is great value for money and isn't a bad all-round package at all.


Laptop computer with (up to) Intel Pentium M 735 (1.7GHz) processor (with Centrino mobile technology), Microsoft Windows XP Home, up to 7.5 hours extended system battery life, 2Mb Level 2 Cache, Up to 1Gb DDR RAM, Up to 80Gb Ultra DMA hard drive, 14.1-inch XGA TFT Screen, built-in video camera, DVDCD-RW combo drive, 10100Mbps LAN, 56K modem, FireWire port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, VGA port, S-Video-Out port, PC card slot, Ability Office Anti Virus Scan, carry case, three-year collect and return warranty. Price: from Pounds 699


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