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Cosmos ii PC Specialist (Clevo W650SF) Laptop Review

Updated on October 21, 2014
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I bought this laptop as I was starting a Mechanical Engineering Degree and thus wanted something to replace my aging Dell Inspirion. PC Specialists option to customise your laptop gave me the ability to select the specification I wanted and at what turned out to be at a significantly better price than high street retailers.

The main specification I chose was as follows:

  • Processor: Intel i7-4710MQ
  • Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX850M 2Gb DDR3
  • Ram: 1x 8Gb DDR3
  • Storage: 1Tb Seagate Gen3 SSHD Hybrid
  • Screen: 1080p Matte
  • Wireless Card: Intel Ultimate N-6300

Price was £786.42 including VAT and Delivery.

Experience with PC Specialist

My laptop was ordered late on the 29th August and arrived on the 23rd September, this was longer than the 7-9 working days advertised on their website, however considering they admitted that due to university students this was one of their busiest times of the year and that these are custom made laptops then the wait is reasonable.

There were very happy and fast to answer questions about when the laptop would be due to arrive, however a few of the times they said that it would progress at a certain date or before, however then didn't.

Their web tool was very good and allowed easy tracking of your order. The packaging it was delivered in was very sturdy and they use DPD delivery who seem to be one of the few couriers with good customer satisfaction

Why I chose the components I did

I wanted a laptop that would last me the 4 years of my degree and hopefully beyond, all the time being able to do light gaming (mainly simulator (and flight simulator) games) and CAD design. The laptop also had to be light enough to be portable (hence not buying a fully gaming chassis).

The i7-4710MQ processor is a powerful quad core laptop processor. This processor is a top end piece of hardware and I felt that the added performance of a quad core was worth the price premium over an i5. However I felt that the significant cost for a 4810 or 4910 was not justifiable.

The GTX850M graphics card is from the new Maxwell range of chips from Nvidia, if I had the choice I probably would have gone for the gtx860m however the only options for the Cosmos ii was the 840m or 850m. From online benchmarks the 850m however seems a capable chip, the only worry being its futureproofness due to DDR3 memory.

The choice of hard drive was made due to the fact my budget would not stretch to an SSD, and from searches on the internet the Seagate drive with its 8gb SSD internally did a good job of caching regularly used files (system files) and thus making itself a nice halfway mark between a HHD and SSD. The 1Tb of space is also a big bonus.

For the screen PC Specialist required the 1080p screen for the 850m and thus this wasn't a choice as such.

Various people said to avoid the standard N-135 card, and due to my university having dual band Wifi I chose the Ultimate N-6300 which is dual band compatible.

Build Quality & Looks

The laptop is completely plastic, the lid having a brushed metal effect only. This does not compete with some of the more premium well known brands, however is comparable to other brands such as HP and Toshiba.

The plastics overall however are nice and solid, the deflection on the lid and keys is similar to my old Dell Inspiron. They keys are a little bit spongey but still fine to use, however the touchpad is massive and allows for very easy movement. When you look underneath or at the disk tray however you do realise that costs were cut in some areas with these not being as sturdy as you might expect.

The look of the laptop I like very much with its matte gun metal grey plastic and lack of logos, it gives a very professional and quality look. The edges are sharp and defined and the overall design well thought out, it doesn't feel like it was cobbled together in a lunch break. Well done to Clevo for this. The laptop is also not any heavier than my Dell Inspirion (2.4kg), which is impressive considering the much more high end parts, it also isn't any deeper than lower end laptops, thus making it easily portable.

Performance

Boot times are very quick, roughly 10 seconds to the logon screen. This I think is down to the SSHD.

In general use the laptop does not stutter at all and runs Windows 8 perfectly smoothly.

For the gaming I have done so far Flight Simulator FSX plays nicely in high settings, with only slight frame drop in demanding situations (Night in cities). I have also played automation (a car creation simulator) and this would hardly play even on low settings on my old laptop, however now does not even break sweat with the highest settings.

Battery life is also unexpectedly good, with 4-5 hours of normal use, or 1-2 hours of gaming from a charge, considering the spec and the design of the laptop this is very impressive, especially considering this isn't even on power saver mode.

Conclusion

I would highly recommend the Cosmos ii from PC Specialist to anyone who is looking for a good value mid to high range laptop that can run almost anything that is thrown at it (From others I have heard it will play almost anything in medium settings or above). For the price you get to select the exact spec you want, whereas when buying an off the shelf PC you pay the same price often for worse components or features you don't want.

The laptop doesn't feel premium quality build wise, however it feels easily sufficient and not like its going to fall apart any time soon.

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