A powerful laptop offering a good compromise between cost and performance
Hot and loud
Doesn't quite match up to really high-end machines
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Kobalt is a UK manufacturer of gaming laptops, with its products using a generic chassis and adding the latest components to offer impressive performance and value for money. This is the case with the Kobalt Mojave (£1761 inc. VAT), which uses Nvidia's most advanced graphics card.
The screen on this machine is particularly impressive, with the highest resolution currently available offering a great gaming experience. Colour reproduction is flawless, making this machine as adept at multimedia tasks, such as photo and video editing, as it is gaming.
It's the first laptop we've seen to use Nvidia's GeForce GTX 280M graphics card, and the results are impressive. It's the fastest single-GPU machine we've seen so far, offering over 45 per cent more performance than the Toshiba Qosmio X300-148.
It still trails some very high-end ATI-based laptops, but offers a good compromise between cost and hardcore gaming. The latest games can be played at full resolutions, although we had to turn the odd setting down slightly in the most demanding titles.
Unfortunately, the Kobalt also requires the most cooling and proved by far the noisiest when gaming, with the powerful fans kicking in after short periods of time. They do work well though, keeping the big chassis cool at all times, but it can be intrusive, especially when watching films.
COOL RUNNING: The Kobalt Mojave is kept cool by these fans, but they don't half kick up a fuss
The keyboard is one of the best in terms of usability. The large keys move near silently, and are responsive and well-attached, while the touchpad is large and easy to use.
High quality runs throughout the machine. It lacks the style of some gaming laptops, but the brushed aluminium lid is a nice touch and the patterned plastics around the keyboard are attractive and robust.
Within the chassis, you'll find a high-end 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, backed by 4096MB of memory. The resulting office performance is excellent – as with its rivals – and you'll be able to multi-task with ease. At 320GB, you'll also find plenty of storage space for your games and media files.
Four USB ports are in place, one which doubles as a high-speed eSATA port for fast data backups, and external displays can be connected by DVI and high-definition HDMI ports. A fingerprint scanner makes it easy to log on and offers additional security. Unlike the W90, there's no HD Blu-ray drive in place.
Although the Kobalt Mojave lacks the bespoke feel of some of its competitors, and is less powerful than the highest-end ATI-based machines, it packs a punch and offers impressive quality and usability.
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