Review Buying a Optimus V Laptop from PC Specialist

Earlier this week my new laptop arrived.  It was a built to order laptop from UK based PC Specialist Ltd.

I had waited and waited for the newer Intel Haswell and NVidia 700 series chipsets to be released.  On 1st June I noticed on www.pcspecialist.co.uk that they were accepting orders for systems with these technologies

The laptop that caught my eye was the 15.6″ Optimus V
optimus

So on 2nd June I ordered my new laptop.  One of the great things about this website is that you can configure your new system via a serious of drop down lists to create a package for you.

configure

When you change the options it a little “widget” in the top right of the browser keeping tabs on the price so you can really find the balance of performance vs. price.

price

A real bonus was that I could choose to not have an operating system installed.  This wasn’t a problem as I had a Windows 7 64-bit retail licence that I could use.  Doing this knocked £79 off the price and meant that I could increase the RAM (Random Access Memory) from 2GB (Gigabytes) to 8GB and have better thermal paste (gives improved cooling) and get the price below the from price of £770 to £736!

Here is a full spec list :

Chassis & Display      Optimus Series: 15.6″ Matte Full HD LED
Widescreen (1920×1080)
Processor (CPU) Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor
i7-4700MQ (2.40GHz) 6MB
Memory (RAM) 8GB SAMSUNG 1600MHz SODIMM DDR3 MEMORY (2 x
4GB)
Graphics Card NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 765M – 2.0GB DDR5 Video
RAM – DirectX® 11
2nd Graphics
Card
NONE
Memory – 1st Hard
Disk
250GB SERIAL ATA II 2.5″ HARD DRIVE WITH 8MB
CACHE (5,400rpm)
2nd Hard
Disk
NONE
RAID NONE
1st DVD/BLU-RAY
Drive
8x SATA DVD±R/RW/Dual Layer (+ 24x
CD-RW)
Memory Card Reader Internal 9 in 1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD:
Mini, XC & HC/MS: Pro & Duo)
Thermal Paste ARCTIC MX-4 EXTREME THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY
COMPOUND (£9)
Sound Card Intel 2 Channel High Definition Audio +
MIC/Headphone Jack
Network Facilities GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS INTEL® N135 802.11N
(150Mbps) + BLUETOOTH
USB Options 3 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT AS
STANDARD
Floppy Disk Drive NONE
Battery Optimus Series 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
(5,200 mAh/76.96WH)
Power Cable 1 x UK Power Lead & 120W AC
Adaptor
Operating System NO OPERATING SYSTEM REQUIRED
Office Software NO OFFICE SOFTWARE
Anti-Virus NO ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
Laptop Cooling Stands NONE
Carry Case NONE
Monitor NONE
Keyboard & Mouse INTEGRATED UK KEYBOARD WITH NUMBER
PAD
Mouse INTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE
Gaming Mouse Pad NONE
Speakers NONE
Webcam INTEGRATED 1.3 MEGAPIXEL WEBCAM
Headsets NONE
Surge Protection NONE
Printer NONE
External Hard Drive NONE
Warranty 3 Year Standard Warranty (1 Month Collect
& Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Home Installation NONE
Dead Pixel Guarantee NONE
Intel Anti-Theft
Technology
FREE 90 Day Intel Anti-Theft Trial – Prevent
Data Access upon Theft
Insurance NONE
Data Recovery NONE
Delivery STANDARD INSURED DELIVERY TO UK MAINLAND
(MON-FRI)
Build Time Standard Build – Approximately 7 to 9 working
days

Now I already had a 128GB Samsung 830 SSD (Solid State Drive), so I chose to stick with the basic 250GB HDD (Hard Disk Drive) that came with it (you can’t remove the HDD from the configuration on the website), that way I’d have the fast SSD for my Windows install and the 250GB for storage

It’s worth noting that for an extra £30 you could have got the 17″ version
Once the order was processed I could logon to the website and track the progress of my order and it also showed the average build time of systems over the last 5 working days.  They aim to get it to you in 7-9 working days but they have upto 30 days to fulfil the contract.  My delivery was estimated for 13th June (9 working days).  Now unfortunately it took longer than this, probably due to demand for the new technologies, but after the 7th day I had regular emails to keep me informed as to what was happening and it arrived on 17th June (11 working days).  They chose to use DPD who were great and gave me an hour time slot and the laptop was delivered within a minute of the timeslot!
Now for the actual laptop:
optimus v base
optimus v
I kept the plastic sheet on the lid to prevent scratches, I’ll aim to keep this on as long as possible but it may look weird in the pic.
lid_optimus_v
The laptop is a Clevo chassis which many of the built to order latops are built upon (Sager, XoticPC etc…), this one is the Clevo W350STQ.  Build quality wise it doesn’t feel premium, but it doesn’t feel cheap.  It came with a unactivated copy of Windows 8 with some testing software on it, which was great because it meant straight away that I could check it loads ok etc…
The first thing that I noticed was the 1920×1080 display.  Having a full HD screen in 15.6″ looks mega sharp – it takes a minute to get used to the text on the screen, it looks tiny.  The images are sharp and quite importantly has good colour, it makes my old screen look really washed out.
The next thing to do was to put in my SSD and install Windows 7.  The extra HDD drive was easy to put in (I actually moved the supplied HDD to the 2nd socket and put the SSD in the primary socket).  Installing Windows 7 was relatively painless, apart from having to disable Secure Boot in the BIOS – before I did this the Win 7 install hung.  Whilst setting up Windows 7 I had to prepare the HDD’s (delete old partitions etc…) I noticed that the supplied HDD was actually a 500GB, so I’d got a free upgrade!!!

Once Windows 7 was installed I put in the driver CD that came with the laptop and told it to install the drivers, and was instantly told that my OS (Operating System) was not supported.  So I manually browsed the CD and managed to install most of the drivers that way, and got the rest from manufacturers websites.  But I managed to install everything there is nothing left in Device Manager to install.

Now that I was ready to go the first thing I did was install 3DMark ’06, 3DMark Vantage and the latest 3DMark.  I then ran it side by side against my old laptop (Acer Aspire 6930G with the CPU upgraded to a T9800 – which was a very good spec at the time).  I had always thought my old laptop had run well but running the benchmarks side by side just showed the new technologies strengths.  Some tests were showing over 100 fps (frames per second) more than the old laptop.
I haven’t experienced any problems with the fan, but am careful to put it down where plenty of air can get around it.
In conclusion the service from PC Specialist was very good and I definitely recommend them and the laptop has been great so far!
This post was brought to you by X86life, who will be contributing technology posts to the blog.
This is NOT a sponsored post.

Related posts: