Best known for its gaming laptops, UK-based Rock also designs laptops for home consumers. While not the most powerful laptop around, the Rock Pegasus 665 (£899 inc. VAT) compensates with impressive usability and extensive warranty cover.

Compared to most of its rivals, mobility is limited. Weighing 3.1kg, the Rock is a little too large for everyday travel. With a battery life of just 100 minutes, we were also forced to recharge frequently.

A benefit of this larger chassis is a spacious keyboard. All keys are full-size and responsive, making typing a comfortable experience. The touchpad and mouse buttons are also large and easy to use, and a button can disable the touchpad if you prefer to use an external mouse.

Using the 15.4-inch screen, it's easy to display up to four windows at once. The glossy Super-TFT coating enhances brightness and colours, making it ideal for multimedia use. However, the gloss increases reflections, so the Rock is best used indoors.

An advantage over its rivals is a certain degree of 3D power, although you won't be able to use it as a primary gaming system. The use of a dedicated nVidia graphics card means basic gaming is possible, albeit at fairly low speed and screen resolutions.

With Microsoft's latest operating system - Windows Vista - installed, the Rock provides improved security and usability over Windows XP. However, some older software is not yet compatible, so it's worth bearing in mind if you have an extensive collection of software.

Ample storage space is provided by a 120GB hard drive making it ideal for storing large collections of music, videos and photos. Data can be easily backed up to external disc via the built-in recordable DVD drive.

Peace of mind

While many laptops at this price include basic warranty cover, Rock provides three years of protection as standard. If problems arise, the laptop will be collected, fixed and returned anywhere in Europe, guaranteeing peace of mind for first-time buyers.

Both wireless and fixed networks can be configured at the highest speeds possible. 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet ensure optimum connectivity whether at home or in the office.

Although performance and mobility fall below other laptops, the Rock Pegasus 665 still provides good value for money. Its ample storage and Windows Vista software are ideal for first-time buyers and the outstanding warranty cover is the icing on the cake.