The PC Specialist Cosmos II starts from £470 including VAT and delivery, the configuration we reviewed costs £697. You can configure just about every aspect of the PC Specialist Cosmos II with the system configurator page here. The Cosmos II comes with a standard 3 year warranty which offers 1 month collect & return, 1 year parts and 3 years labour. The warranty can also be upgraded in the system configuration.
As a special offer to our readers PC Specialist are offering the Cosmos II notebook, as configured for this review, for an impressive £649. If you’re interested in purchasing the Cosmos II we strongly recommend you to take advantage of this special discount. You can buy the PC Specialist Cosmos II with the special eTeknix review price of £649 by using this link.
PC Specialist’s Cosmos II is a brilliant versatile notebook. The phrase “it does what it says on the tin” is very apt here, there are no surprises or things hidden away you just get a well built and well configured notebook. The configuration we were sent is great, the combination of the dual core i5 processor and the Nvidia GTX 850M offers up solid gaming performance, snappy CPU performance and still gives you great battery life of over 4 hours under constant usage. This may not seem like much but from our testing this put the Cosmos II on par with a Samsung Ativ book “ultrabook” style notebook, except the Cosmos II has significantly more performance and screen real estate, and while we’re on the subject of the screen kudos to PC Specialist for the matte finish because it looks great! While the Cosmos II isn’t a “bargain basement” 15.6 inch laptop, like the kind you see on deal websites like HotUKDeals for £300~, it does offer outstanding value for money. For £700 (or just £649 using the eTeknix review link) you have a notebook that is capable of being a gaming notebook, a workstation, a media centre or even just something powerful to take with you to university or college. Being someone who recently came out of university I am quite sad I didn’t have something like this to get me through. It has enough storage and power for the kind of business applications we had to run (like ArcGIS) but it is also light enough at 2.7kg to be carried around without much difficulty.I also like the easy-upgradeability of the Cosmos II. As we mentioned you can take the bottom panel off with just two screws and you can easily upgrade or change the RAM, the 2.5 inch drive, the wireless card, the mSATA device and so on.
On the down side there are a few things that are worth mentioning. This notebook does attract finger prints on the bottom, although the top is fairly finger print resistant and that’s the part you see the most so that’s good. Secondly, the keyboard is a bit lacking in tactile feedback which is fairly common for most notebooks in the sub-£1000 price range. The key spacing on the keyboard is nice and they also offer lots of function keys which comes in handy but the keyboard could be better quality, LED backlighting would be a great option for them to add too. The trackpad also wasn’t the most inspiring, I found the lack of swipe gestures a bit of a pain in Windows 8.1 especially considering the display isn’t touch either. However, on the whole the trackpad was still fairly responsive and the mouse buttons offered a good tactile feedback. Again, like the integrated keyboard, you can’t actually change the trackpad which is a little disappointing seeing as everything else is customisable. I don’t like the inclusion of Bullguard antivirus software as it interferes with a lot of programs and is quite irritating. In my testing I found that Bullguard actually throttled the speed of the ethernet, once I uninstalled Bullguard ethernet performance more than doubled. However, in the system configuration tab PC Specialist do give the option to choose no AV software and you can easily uninstall it if you do end up getting a notebook with it on. The 1TB SSHD was perhaps the “weakest link” in the Cosmos II, even with an SSHD cache the fact it was only 5400 RPM meant performance was fairly average. Although I will say that the SSD cache does help with boot times, they were surprisingly fast easily taking less than 30 seconds, and generally speaking most applications felt like they were on an SSD. The only issues come when you’re installing, writing, editing or copying large files that exceed the SSD cache, then you’ll notice it is a 5400 RPM mechanical hard drive at heart.
- Competitive pricing – nothing can match this at its price point
- Good all rounder – gaming, productivity, everyday tasks
- Fairly thin and light for a 15.6 inch notebook
- Easily upgradeable
- Highly customisable
- Average keyboard and trackpad
- The 5400RPM 1TB SSHD can be a bottleneck sometimes
- Styling is fairly plain and minimalist
“The PC Specialist Cosmos II is a powerful notebook “all-rounder” that is capable of meeting the needs of a modern PC user. Sensible component selection, great value for money, clean design choices and great performance make the Cosmos II a definitive choice for its price point. ”
Thanks to PC Specialist for providing this review sample.