Toshiba's Qosmio range aims to pack all the fun of a desktop PC into a laptop chassis. The machines in the Qosmio X500 series offer a huge 18.4-inch screen, a muscular Intel Core i7-720QM processor and a speedy 3D graphics chip. Obtaining all this power will cost a fair amount of your hard-earned cash, however. The configuration we review here, the X500-116, costs around £1,700.
Elephantiasis of the laptop
Weighing in at a back-breaking 4.6kg and packing a humungous, 18.4-inch display, the X500 is a real beast of a laptop, and one you're certainly not going to want to lug around too much. Even its power supply is the size of a small house. But this is partly the point of the X500 -- it's meant to cram a desktop computer into a laptop form factor. When it's not in use, you can just close the lid and store it in a drawer or on a shelf.
It's not just this laptop's size that makes it far from inconspicuous -- the loud red and black colour scheme also makes it hard to miss. We find the styling far too showy. It reminds us of the cheap boomboxes found in teenagers' bedrooms in the '80s.
Nevertheless, the laptop's full-sized keyboard makes it quick and easy to rattle off long emails, and it comes complete with a separate numerical keypad. There are also backlit media-playback controls on the left-hand side, and you'll find a fingerprint reader nestled between the two buttons on the big, smooth trackpad.
The X500-116 is designed to deliver on the performance front, and this is reflected in its specification. It has twin 500GB hard drives and runs the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium, so the operating system can use all of the 8GB of pre-installed memory. Toshiba has also provided a 1.6GHz, quad-core Intel Core i7-720QM processor, which proved to be blisteringly fast. The laptop achieved a massively impressive score of 7,013 in the PCMark05 benchmark test.
The X500-116 is no slouch when it comes to 3D gaming either. The Nvidia GeForce GTS 360M graphics chip is an impressive polygon shifter, delivering a score of 11,429 in 3DMark06, which means it'll really do justice to the latest games.
As Toshiba has finished mourning the passing of its HD DVD format, the X500-116 also comes equipped with a Blu-ray combo drive so you can watch high-definition movies and burn files to DVD discs. Blu-ray movies look really stunning on the big, impressive screen. Colours are fantastically vivid and, as the display has a 'Full HD' resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, you get to savour every bit of detail that the Blu-ray format has to offer.
The X500-116 also does a good job when it comes to audio. It has larger-than-usual speakers that are visible through light metallic grilles on the front. The extra size certainly helps the speakers kick out more bass, and, while we wouldn't exactly describe them as hi-fi quality, they are better than the ones you find on the majority of laptops.
The Toshiba Qosmio X500-116 succeeds in packing pretty much everything you could want into a laptop chassis, and also offers excellent performance. At around £1,700, however, we think its asking price is slightly too high, especially as its design lacks refinement.
Edited by Charles Kloet