Review: Toshiba Qosmio G40

Review: Toshiba Qosmio G40
Review: Toshiba Qosmio G40

There are people in the world that have to have the best "everything". They want the best car, the best camera, the best video game system, fashion, phone... we could be here for ages.

Wanting the best portable computers is actually a lot easier to do than searching through the sheer amount of models that come and go with time. Today we're going to look at one such "best portable computer" that Toshiba has to offer. For the people that want a laptop for video, gaming, business applications, sound, and a lot of style, Toshiba took their already high-end Qosmio series of laptops and made them just that much better.

Now this could be seen as a bit of a warning by many, but the Qosmio G40 is pretty big. While the screen size is 17", it's actually bigger than that of a regular 17" widescreen notebook due to the extra space around the frame. This isn't a bad thing though unless you're someone who doesn't like carrying a big laptop with you. That seventeen inch screen is nothing short of spectacular though. It gives you a beautifully rendered 1920 x 1200 resolution as well as a full 1080p screen. In case you weren't aware, 1080p is the Holy Grail of high-definition screens and this laptop is equipped with it.

And of course a beautiful screen would be wasted without something excellent to use with it so the Qosmio G40 comes with an Nvidia 8600M GT with 512mb of video RAM and a HD-DVD burner. Yes, you read right.
Sure, the graphics aren't the highest you can get on a laptop, but they're high enough and they run games pretty well. The HD-DVD burner is an excellent feature and the 1080p screen looks absolutely brilliant when watching movies through it.

To be completely honest, I wasn't someone who was too thrilled with the whole DVD vs. High-Def Formats issue before I took this notebook home. I now see the error of my ways. Long live High-Def Formats.

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The feature list just doesn't stop there, however. Toshiba literally packed this laptop in with as much as it could. The Qosmio comes equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 clocked at 2.20GHz, 2GB of DDR2 RAM, and two 200gb notebook drives. That's a lot of power for a laptop!

There's actually a whole slew of features that I'd never make it through suffice to say they include wireless access through pretty much ever standard known to mankind (802.11a/b/g/n), Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, four speakers & a subwoofer, an intergrated webcam, a TV tuner, HDMI, Windows Vista Home Premium, and a fair amount more.

After you're done ogling the tech specs, it's time to open her up and feast your eyes on the sheer awesomeness of her design: she is beautiful.
Toshiba's design team have done an excellent job. The white finish with blue rim lighting on many of the controls looks very stylish and the whole feel of the device is one of "professionalism". It exudes an expectation of quality and excellence and if opened in a room full of stock-standard ugly grey notebooks, you'd probably find every other person looking up from their notebook to basque in the glory of the Qosmio G40.

A computer however is nothing if not used so we decided to use it in a variety of circumstances.

First we tried the unit as a games computer. I took it home and discovered how it performed with some modern games that certainly can take modern computers to various extremes and back. For this I used Codemasters' Colin McRae DiRT and 3D Realms' Prey. Now while Prey ran really well, DiRT ran with less enthusiasm. I had to pull DiRT down to lower resolutions to get it to perform at playable frame rates. It's probably best to keep in mind two things:
1. The Toshiba Qosmio G40 is not a games machine and,
2. DiRT is one graphically intensive game

Now DiRT did run better than I had expected of it and I anticipate that had I turned Windows Vista's graphic-based functionality off, I would have gained a decent speed increase. Regardless, the test showed that the Qosmio could handle modern games if thrown at it, though I wouldn't expect it to run them at the full 1920 x 1200 resolution.

The next test we decided to run it through was the commuter test. So I grabbed my notebook bag and tried putting it in. Unfortunately, I don't have a big big enough to fit it in comfortably. I'm also not sure if I have the strength to carry it everyday: it's 5.5 kilograms.

This really isn't a computer you'd want to carry with you to and from home. It'd probably be an excellent choice on a business trip or a vacation, perhaps also if you were looking for a new computer to sit at home but didn't want a big desktop. It's just way too large and heavy to carry with you from place to place, unfortunately.

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Finally, we were curious how it took general use. We tried it for surfing the web, using the keyboard, wireless connectivity, video editing, hard drive speeds, webcam, TV-tuner & video capture functionality, and ports. The only time the laptop failed to perform out of all of those was with the TV-tuner & video capture and we're still not sure why on that. The understanding we came away with for the problems associated had more to do with Windows Media Center - which is the software controlling both types of functionality - and less to do with the laptop.

Using it as an HD-DVD player is excellent and the sound on this laptop is nothing short of spectacular. With technology supplied by Harmon Kardon, your ears really are given a treat. The included proper surround system complete with a subwoofer will let you enjoy movies the way they were intended to. If you want to go that extra step further, plugging your laptop into a proper home theatre is likely to yield better results of course, but they're pretty good without it.

Now if you're up to this point (still with me?) and it's sounding more and more like you've found your dream laptop, then I feel I should mention the weaker points now: battery & price.

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The battery could be a lot better. To be honest, I can understand why the battery life is so poor especially with how impressive the feature and specification set is. That said, an estimated two hours is what you'll pull from this when it's running on its highest settings. You can pull a bit more out of it if the screen gets dimmer and you put it on a power-saving mode, but don't expect to stray too far away from a power socket when you're with the Qosmio.

And then there's the price, and look if you really want a laptop loaded in functionality and design, a Recommended Retail Price of $4999 might be fine for you.

Otherwise the Toshiba Qosmio G40 delivers in a lot of ways. If you're looking for a laptop that essentially gives you the power to do as much as you want - whether it be gaming, multimedia, watch high-definition movies, or just something to replace that big desktop tower - I certainly would advise that you take a look at the Toshiba Qosmio G40.

Pros

  • Brilliant feature set
  • Excellent screen
  • A fantastic design to it
  • There isn't a lot that laptop can't do

Cons

  • Big & heavy
  • Battery could be better

Product: Toshiba Qosmio G40

Vendor: Toshiba Australia

RRP: $4,999

Website: Toshiba Qosmio G40 (Press Release)

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark

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