I’m starting this review with a sense of déjà vu. If you’re a regular reader of TrustedReviews you probably saw the review of the Evesham Voyager X5 last week, and are wondering if I’m reviewing the same machine again by mistake. However, this is definitely a different machine, from a different manufacturer, but it does share the same chassis as the Evesham. But although the Pegasus Ti from Rock shares the same 354 x 250 x 32mm (WxDxH) dimensions and 2.9kg weight as the Evesham Voyager X5, the resemblance is only skin deep.
Like the Evesham, this Rock is a fully Centrino branded machine, but unlike the Evesham, the Rock is driven by a 2GHz Intel Pentium M CPU, giving it a significant performance edge. Supporting the CPU is 1GB of 333MHz DDR memory and a 7200rpm 60GB hard disk. With a fast CPU, a generous amount memory and a quick hard disk, you’re going to end up with solid performance, but we’ll cover performance in greater detail a bit later.
Continuing the high-performance feel of the components is an ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics chipset, complete with 128MB of memory. Although the Mobility Radeon 9800 has recently reared its head, that chipset is currently exclusive to Dell - we’ll have a review of the Dell 9100 sporting the Mobility Radeon 9800 very soon. So, Dell exclusives aside, this is a very fast mobile graphics chipset.
Making good use of the Mobility Radeon 9700 chipset is a 15.4in widescreen display – again, identical to the one seen in the Evesham last week. As notebook screens go, this is a decent enough example, but it doesn’t cause the kind visual impression that some displays do. Although 15.4in isn’t a bad size for a widescreen display, the resolution is a little disappointing. Now, let me put this into context - 1,280 x 800 is pretty standard for a widescreen notebook display, so it’s not like Rock is short changing anyone. However, I personally would like to see a higher resolution on a widescreen display, like the 1,680 x 1,050 resolution seen on the Voodoo Envy M:860. On the whole though, for general use, the resolution is fine and unless you’re used to something much higher, you’ll be more than happy. The general screen quality is very good – the image is very bright and the colours vivid and lively. The lighting is even across the entire screen surface and the viewing angle is admirable.
The keyboard is a bit of a mixed bag, and although Rock has managed to install a proper UK specific keyboard, unlike Evesham, it exhibited some very annoying niggles. At first glance the keyboard looks promising with large Return, Backspace and Shift keys. The cursor keys are in the correct configuration and set slightly away from the rest of the keyboard, and even though the Fn and Ctrl keys should be swapped, Rock has done a pretty good job on the layout. The keyboard action is also surprisingly good, and each key exhibits a decent amount of travel and a solid break. There’s a bit of flex when typing at speed, but each key still feels individual enough when it’s struck. However, typing at length on the Rock almost drove me mad, due to the very strange behavior of the Spacebar. Now, I type pretty fast, and I found that whenever I started typing at speed, the Spacebar began to get ahead of itself. No doubt that sounds strange, but let me explain what I mean. Basically, whenever I hit the comma or full stop keys followed by the Spacebar, what I got was a space first, then the comma or full stop. At first I thought it was a problem with the comma and full stop keys, but then I found it happening with other keys, so that instead of finishing a word and getting a space, I ended up with a space followed by the last letter of the word. This whole experience started to make me paranoid, and I wondered whether it was me at fault and not the keyboard. So I tried typing on several other notebook and desktop keyboards – I didn’t have a problem with any of them, which made me feel a bit better about my typing ability. I can’t imagine what could be causing this keyboard issue, but it just appears that the Spacebar reacts slightly faster than other keys. All that said, no one else in the office had the same problem, but they do tend to type a lot slower than me.