Friday, June 6, 2008

Rock Pegasus 210

  • Pros Ultra light and beautifully designed. A go-anywhere notebook
  • Cons Slow processor. Awkward keyboard

It’s difficult to find a computer manufacturer who isn’t shifting a slim and light laptop for under a grand these days, but the kings of the genre remain Sony’s Vaio TX series, the Asus Eee PC and, of course, the MacBook Air.

Is there room for another contender? Rock thinks so. Its new Pegasus 210 is a bold attempt to shake things up in the ultra-portable market, which it plans to do with a potent mix of stylish looks and a very attractive price tag.

Bombproof build
First impressions are good. No other super-slim laptop boasts this kind of build quality for this kind of price. It’s made with the bare minimum of plastic and a discrete gunmetal grey magnesium alloy for the casing.

Like the MacBook Air the Pegasus 210 eschews an optical drive to achieve its improbable thinness – it measures just 30mm at its thickest point. Unlike the Air, though, it boasts three USB ports, an optional 3G modem, 80GB hard drive and even a fingerprint reader and smartcard slot to big up its business credentials. None of this gets in the way of this instantly covetable computer weighing just over a kilo.

Special screen
The 1280x800 resolution makes the 12.1in screen very easy on the eyes, and an X-Glass coating for helps give it higher contrast ratios than the French president to wife equation.

The three quarter size keyboard is a little on the fiddly side, though, and quite why the hash key is almost as large and easier to hit than the return button is a mystery we’ll never solve. Still, this is a quirk you can dismiss considering the Pegasus 210 has all the allure and battery life of a Vaio TX but at half the price.

The processor problem
There is, though, one more problem that is slightly harder to overlook. Despite the fact that dual core processors can be found co-ordinating LED lights in kids’ shoes, the Pegasus only has an Intel A110 at its heart. For all its cool looks and sleek lines, it’s barely more powerful than an Asus Eee PC.

That’s not to say it’s useless – for email, web and low-def video playback you’ll never notice the difference between this and its peers. You might even get in some photo editing before the slowdown becomes noticeable, as long as you don’t try and do more than one thing at once. But if you’re planning on heavy daily usage we’d recommend upgrading to the more expensive Sony TX or MacBook Air.