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Rock Xtreme 620 - 15.4in Gaming Notebook - Rock Xtreme 620
Only 250GB of hard drive storage might seem a bit stingy at first, but this is actually one of the fast 7,200rpm drives rather than the 5,400rpm you'd usually encounter in a notebook. For an extra £55 you can upgrade to a 320GB model or even a slower 5,400rpm 500GB one, but for games 7,200rpm is preferable. Last but not least we have a Blu-ray drive, though oddly enough it doesn't say so on the actual drive cover, claiming support for only DVD and CD.
Even stranger is that Rock hasn't pre-installed any software that can actually play Blu-ray films. CyberLink's DVD Suite is on hand for multimedia duties but the included version of PowerDVD lacks Blu-ray support. However, a Blu-ray capable version of WinDVD is included with instructions to install it if you want to view HD discs. Why Rock didn't just pre-install it is beyond us. It's also worth keeping in mind that if you don't need or want Blu-ray playback, you can save £110 by downgrading to a standard DVD-Rewriter.
Taking care of wireless duties is an Intel WiFi Link 5300 providing Draft-N support, and Bluetooth 2.1 is also present. Despite all this being stuffed into a smaller chassis than was the case with the 17in Xtreme 780, we're glad to report the X620 is a far quieter beast: in normal use it's virtually inaudible, though when gaming the cooling kicks up a notch producing a noticeable whine. Build quality is also much improved, with the slight rattle in the keyboard the only niggle.
If you can get past the reflections or are playing in a darkened environment, the Xtreme 620's screen is quite good. To get the negatives out of the way, we've yet to come across a notebook display other than the amazing RGB-backlit example on the Dell Studio XPS 16 that has really good black detail, with the X620's 15.4in panel dropping tones on both ends of the greyscale. Another disappointment is that despite the glossy coating colours don't have the 'punch' you'd expect and can appear a bit washed out, though this also avoids the oversaturation that afflicts some notebook displays.
On the positives side, thanks to the high 1,680 x 1,050 resolution everything is razor-sharp and there's no sign of backlight bleed or banding. Most impressive, though, are the horizontal viewing angles, which while not perfect are certainly superior to what we've come to expect from the average notebook panel. Unfortunately, vertical ones are as poor as ever, so you'll need to position the screen's angle carefully to get the most out of it.
Audio is another pleasant surprise. Rather than the tinny efforts of most notebooks, the Rock Xtreme 620's speakers create a reasonably immersive soundstage. Bass comes across with plenty of punch and weight at respectable volume levels without too much distortion or any of the usual muddiness. Treble is also handled well, making this one notebook where headphones or separate speakers are not the necessity they are on most.