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PC Specialist Recoil II review: One of the fastest laptops you can buy right now

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
989
inc VAT

It's not the most portable, but who cares when you see what the Recoil II can do?

Pros 
Immensely powerful
Fantastic touchpad
RGB keyboard will appeal to gamers
Cons 
Not the most portable
Mixed audio performance
Colour accuracy is only okay
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The PC Specialist Recoil II isn’t exactly subtle about its angle or its audience; if the name doesn’t tell you that this is a gaming laptop, the multi-coloured pyrotechnic display of the fully RGB-backlit keyboard will.

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PC Specialist Recoil II review: Design and layout

Admittedly, it also stretches the definition of thin-and-light to breaking point. It’s 19.9mm thick towards the back and hits the scales at nearly 2kg. Throw the chunky power adapter in your bag, and you’re looking at a 2.54kg carrying weight.

Still, you can’t help but like its sense of menace. With a design mixing metals, matte-black plastics and whopping grilles, it’s the kind of laptop the new Star Wars trilogy’s Kylo Ren might use to wind down before smashing up his room when he failed to get a Fortnite Victory Royale.

The fan at the back spits out a fair bit of air and a lot of noise while gaming, but in simple Windows desktop use it stays fairly quiet. It’s one of the more ergonomically-friendly gaming laptops you can find.

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PC Specialist Recoil II review: Features

Gamers, of course, will instantly get the appeal of that RGB keyboard, not to mention the clicky, rugged appeal of the mechanical-switch keys. If you play shooters or games such as League of Legends at a high level, this is exactly what you want.

It isn’t so great for typing, as the pressure required to get a click isn’t quite so conducive to getting a lot of words down fast. That’s something to bear in mind if you’re looking for a laptop that does gaming duties and some good, hard work.

Still, we’ve got no such problems with the touchpad. 105mm x 75mm in size, it’s absolutely massive and a pleasure to use. Just one word of warning: the keyboard surround and lid are fingerprint magnets, so you might want to avoid anything remotely greasy while this laptop is in use. Even a simple doughnut can result in the kind of marks you would normally associate with fried chicken.

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PC Specialist Recoil II review: Display and audio

We could say the same about the Recoil II’s screen, which seems weirdly huge. PC Specialist has stuck to a 1,080p resolution, which on balance is a bright idea. After all, you don’t have to push as many pixels as with a higher-density screen, and at 15.6in the difference when gaming isn’t all that significant. It’s bright, maxing out at 347.2cd/m2, with high contrast levels of 993.9:1, and it makes games and action movies look spectacular.

That said, the colour accuracy is just okay with a Delta E of 2.59 and sRGB gamut coverage comes in at only 85%. Consequently, if you’re a designer or amateur photographer, then the Recoil II isn’t for you.

This laptop has a Soundblaster-branded speaker system, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, there’s plenty of clarity and some impressive pseudo-surround effects to give the impression of a wider stereo spread. However, there’s not as much boom and bang as on some larger gaming laptops, while subtlety and finesse aren’t amongst the Recoil II’s strengths.

PC Specialist Recoil II review: Connectivity

Connectivity is a different matter. As well as two USB 2 ports, two USB 3 ports and a single USB-C, you also get an SD card slot, separate mic and headphone sockets, two mini DisplayPort outputs and an HDMI.

There’s even a Gigabit Ethernet port with gaming-friendly Quality of Service features; just what you need if you’re a budding pro.

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PC Specialist Recoil II review: Specs and performance

Now, I won’t tell you that the Recoil II is the last word in gaming performance, but with a six-core Core i7 8750H processor, 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU, it has more than enough grunt to run anything at high detail settings at over 30fps – and some titles at nearer 60fps.

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There’s also an option to step up to a GTX 1060 if you need more speed. Unsurprisingly, the PC Specialist also decimates almost every other laptop in our 2D benchmarks. Sure, it’s a bit like putting Dwayne Johnson in an arm-wrestling contest for the Oscars, but it hammers home the point: this is one of the fastest laptops you can buy right now.