We've waited what seems like an age to review the Qosmio G30. We've eyed, fondled and caressed it numerous times through its development cycle, but now it's here we can get a real taste of how the HD DVD-equipped machine fares against its Blu-ray-toting rivals. The G30 range comes in six different guises -- three with an HD DVD drive, three without -- and all with varying specifications affecting CPU speed, memory or hard drive size.
Our review model, the G30-163 is the all-singing, all-dancing version costing £2,199
The Qosmio G30's looks are an acquired taste. Though it's only a fitted with a 17-inch screen, it's as chunky as a Yellow Pages and weighs a hefty 4.8kg. Its metallic grey lid cover makes a nice contrast to the black inner section, but the inwardly sloping sides won't be everyone's cup of tea -- if it were spherical it would look a bit like a yo-yo -- a massive, unusable yo-yo that would probably break your arm.
The Toshiba logo doesn't appear anywhere on the outside of the laptop -- only the word Qosmio is embossed into the lid. The lid itself is marred slightly by a wobbly hinge, but only poses a problem when using the laptop in a moving vehicle, which it isn't really designed for. The front of the screen is fastened to the base of the laptop with a rather large and unsightly hook that protrudes by about 10mm. The hook mechanism is released by pressing a single spring-loaded button at the front lip of the laptop.
Along the front lip you'll find the main infrared receiver port, a Wi-Fi switch and six indicator lights for the AC power, battery, hard drive activity, optical disc activity and Wi-Fi status. Above this is the wrist-rest portion of the laptop, which looks awesome. The matte black keys make a great contrast with the glossy, brushed-metal surround, and you can't not like the circular Harmon/Kardon speakers on either side just below the screen.
The keyboard lacks a dedicated numerical keypad and has some keys in strange positions (the Windows Start button is at the top left), but it feels great to type on and there are eleven separate shortcut buttons above it. Most of these keys are actually quite useful -- there's one for activating the TV tuner, another for activating DVD playback software and others for controlling playback, recording, screen brightness and more. All these features can be activated whether inside or outside of the main operating system, but it's not possible to play HD DVD movies unless you start Windows.
Littered around the side of the laptop in no discernible order are a range of ports. There are two USB ports on the left, PC Card and ExpressCard slots, a 3-in-1 memory card reader, 4-pin FireWire port and three audio ports. On the right side is a video-in port, S-Video output, a modem port and a Kensington port, should you feel the need to chain the laptop to your desk. Most impressively though there's a circular volume knob that lets you adjust the sound level quickly and easily. The rear of the laptop has TV-output (S-video and component-out), D-Sub VGA output and an HDMI port -- but there's no DVI. You'll also find a socket for a TV aerial, a LAN port and two further USB ports.
On the whole it's a functional and, in places, attractive design that has only a few drawbacks.