The Rock Xtreme 685 is very much focused on gaming, and it certainly won't disappoint dedicated mobile gamers. In the FEAR tests the Rock achieved a remarkable frame rate of 131 on Maximum settings, with the Radeon HD6990 and its 2GB of memory doing a stunning job.

The 15.6in screen is also a corker, with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 and an anti-glare coating on the glassy-finish screen that does a great job of reducing reflection while ensuring the colours remain deep. The sound quality is excellent. Unfortunately, there's no Blu-ray compatibility for the optical drive, which may prevent the Rock being a true multimedia all-rounder.

However, there is a dual-core Intel i5-2540M processor and 6GB of RAM, which combine to achieve a very respectable WorldBench 6 score of 124. However, the Rock is incredibly power-hungry. In our MobileMark 2007 tests, the battery was drained in just 2.5 hours. This might not seem surprising for a gaming-focused desktop replacement model, but we expect more from the huge 76Wh battery.

The hard disk is smaller than we'd hope for in a £1,000-plus model at just 500GB, although the Rock does include an eSATA port to give extra storage options. Of course the USB 3.0 interface is catered for as well. Should you want to hook the Rock up to a monitor or TV, there are HDMI and DVI connectors too.

In terms of build quality, the Rock feels rugged - the chassis has a slightly rubbery feel to it and you'd certainly expect it to withstand continued use from heavy-handed or frustrated gamers. The keyboard offers plenty of space between the keys, well-sized arrow keys and spacebar, and there's even room for a numeric keypad on the end. A fingerprint reader has been added for security. At 3.1kg it it’s far from the most portable laptop on test.

Rock Xtreme X685-I5-2540M: Specs

  • 2.6GHz Intel Core i5-2540M dual-core
  • 15.6in glossy LED backlit
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 6GB DDR3-1333MHz
  • 500GB HDD 5400rpm
  • 2GB Radeon HD6990
  • HDMI, DVI
  • stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic input
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • SD/Mini SD/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo
  • webcam, fingerprint reader
  • 76WH, lithium-ion removable battery, 150 minutes
  • 376 x 256 x 43mm, 3.1kg
  • 2.6GHz Intel Core i5-2540M dual-core
  • 15.6in glossy LED backlit
  • 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 6GB DDR3-1333MHz
  • 500GB HDD 5400rpm
  • 2GB Radeon HD6990
  • HDMI, DVI
  • stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic input
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • SD/Mini SD/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo
  • webcam, fingerprint reader
  • 76WH, lithium-ion removable battery, 150 minutes
  • 376 x 256 x 43mm, 3.1kg

OUR VERDICT

We can't help feeling that the Rock is expensive at £1249, though it does have an excellent graphics card and screen. We'd have liked to have seen a BD drive to expand the multimedia possibilities of this laptop. We've no complaints about the Core i5 processor or 6GB of RAM, but the battery life is a let-down.

Find the best price