PC Specialist Octane II Pro review

This gaming rockstar is literally heavy metal


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There's no doubt about it: the Octane II is an absolute beefcake. It's not cheap, but it does represent better value than most other 980-equipped gaming laptops doing the rounds. There are clear trade-offs to owning a machine of this power, so you'll have to decide whether they're worth it for you.

We liked

A desk-bound battlestation posing as a laptop, the Octane II is as powerful as portable gaming machines come. Able to chew through modern titles at 1080p with graphics dialled up to 11, it can even do games justice at 4K resolution using an external monitor.

Its matte, Full HD display is bright and packed full of color, with excellent viewing angles. It's a great feeling knowing that you can jump on Steam and play any game as it was designed to be played without worrying about stuttering frame rates – and even better that you can experience that anywhere, any time. The Octane II has a decent, but not exhaustive, amount of ports – and they're easy to get to.

We disliked

To call the Octane II heavy is kind; it really doesn't lend itself to being transported around, which is sort of the point of a laptop. Lugging it around requires a deep, strong backpack and a fully-functioning spine, such is its weight. Gaming laptops with Nvidia's 980M inside have slimmed down a lot recently, so consider whether the undeniable heft is worth the additional performance of the GTX 980.

Other gripes are relatively minor: its speakers are decent, but not particularly earth-shattering considering its size – you'll still want a dedicated gaming headset. Another USB port on the left-hand side of the chassis would have been welcomed, as would one around the back. And, with more laptops adopting USB-C, it's a shame to see such future-proofing absent on the Octane II.

Final verdict

There aren't too many gaming laptops around packing Nvidia's GTX 980 GPU. From what I've seen of the Octane II, it's well worth the extra money over a 980M, if it's performance you crave. The Octane II puts 4K, and especially 1080p, gaming squarely on the menu with every graphics effect flicked on. It's just a shame that you'll have to hook up a monitor to get the Ultra HD experience.

As expected, the Octane II is more affordable than 980 laptops from the big name players – such as the MSI GT72 and Origin EON17-SLX. So, though it costs a lot, it stands as the cheapest way to get your hands on incredible gaming power.

So long as you don't mind putting up with the Octane II's comparatively bland look, you'll get just as much performance for less money. Just remember to start doing those push-ups today: you'll need them to lug this one around.

Kane Fulton
Kane has been fascinated by the endless possibilities of computers since first getting his hands on an Amiga 500+ back in 1991. These days he mostly lives in realm of VR, where he's working his way into the world Paddleball rankings in Rec Room.