Rock – Sigma review

well-specced workhorse notebook
Photo of Rock – Sigma
£1,099 + VAT

Sony proved last year with its Vaio range of laptops that notebook PCs don’t have to look like dark grey paving slabs, and many other vendors have since followed suit with sexy laptops of their own. Rock has recently entered the fray with this new Sigma, which combines a good selection of features with a stylish and eminently usable design.

The Sigma is powered by a 400MHz Celeron processor, and uses the Intel 430BX chipset. This entry-level model is equipped with 32MB of memory and a 4.3GB EIDE hard drive, while other options include 96MB of memory and a 6GB drive. Opening the case reveals a 14.1-inch XGA screen (with a native resolution of 1024 x 768) which is driven by an ATI Rage LT Pro graphics chip. This graphics controller is equipped with 8MB of video memory, which is more than sufficient to drive the bright, clear screen at its top resolution in 16.7 million colours (24-bit). Some 3D acceleration features are present too, although this is not really a games machine.

Located underneath the screen is a comfortable keyboard, most of whose keys are full-sized. There’s a trackpad pointing device with mouse buttons set into the generous wrist-rest, while a pair of speakers at the front of the case is powered by a Crystal FM sound chip. In addition to the two Type II PC Card (PCMCIA) slots, there’s the usual array of ports built into the Sigma’s case, with the addition of an integrated WinModem.

Company: Rock

Contact: 01926 816609

Although quite big and heavy, the Sigma justifies its size by having both floppy and CD drives built in. Its stylish casing conceals these components - along with other useful gadgets such as the modem - very tidily, and the Sigma looks and feels considerably more durable than many notebook PCs on the market. If you're looking for something different to the usual clone laptops, but still want to pay for the equipment rather than the name, then the Sigma is worth consideration.