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Notebooks seem to be getting smaller and smaller, and it's a trend that's even affecting gaming notebooks. A few years ago you would have been hard-pressed to find a gaming notebook with a decent graphics card coming in at under 17in, but Alienware changed this when it released the 15.4in Area-51 m15x last year. Now Rock has its own thoroughbred 15.4in gaming notebook, the Xtreme 620, but can it match Alienware and its gaming behemoth?
Based on Clevo's M860TU chassis, the X620 gets off to a good start with its stylish brushed metal black lid that's unspoiled by any logos or patterns. This is accented by a smart silver trim around the edges and a strip of piano black plastic at the top, with chromed hinge caps completing the attractive exterior.
Inside things look a tad less classy due to the contrast between the matte plastic screen bezel and brushed metal lower section, but at least those who find glossy bezels distracting have nothing to complain about. Unfortunately the screen itself is highly reflective and the webcam also sits in a small glossy surround with the word 'eyeshot' beside it. Presumably this is some play on the term 'headshot' meant to appeal to a gamer's sense of humour.
Moving to the main body of the notebook, everything except the touchpad and keyboard is also finished in brushed black metal, offset by the silver trim around the edges, a narrow glossy strip around the keyboard and thin chrome strips accentuating the touchpad. A blue-backlit power button and three shortcut buttons are etched out of the metal, a la Motorola Razr V3, and the speakers are a subtle pincushion pattern to either side of these.
Overall, it's a subtle and elegant design with far less bling than we're used to seeing from a gaming notebook, but for many that will be a welcome development. It's certainly a far cry from the somewhat cheap styling of Rock's Xtreme 780.
Despite looking fairly unremarkable, the keyboard's matte finish matches the screen's bezel nicely. Layout is just as one would want, with Ctrl to the outside of Fn key and a large UK-style Enter key. Cursor-keys are well-separated and full-size, which is nice for split-screen games and the few gamers that still use them primarily, and there are dedicated Home to End keys on the right-hand side.
Keyboard feedback is, in a word, excellent. Keys are broad and comfortable and though some do have a hint of rattle and there's just the slightest bit of flex, there's plenty of travel and keys have a positive, springy feel to them.