Toshiba has a nice line in carefully targeted notebooks providing proprietary OS enhancements and innovative hardware features. The game- and movie-orientated Qosmio models are no exception. We test the Qosmio G40 under typical home conditions and see how it stacks up as a games machine as will as a media box.
The Qosmio G40 supersedes the G30 but is more than just an incremental upgrade incorporating n all new chassis and a revised set of components including a HD DVD-R drive, the first on a notebook.
The basic feature set is as follows:
- Price: £1,650 and £1,900
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, at 2.0GHz,
- L2 cache: 4MB
- Front side bus: 800MHz
- Memory: 2GB of 667MHz DRR2 RAM, 1GB of Intel Turbo Memory
- Video card: 512MB nVidia 8600M GT
- Hard drive: 250GB
- Display: 17in, 1,920 x 1,200
- Other features: infra-red remote, HDMI cable
- Weight: 4.4kg
- USB ports: 5
- Battery Life: 60 minutes to 90 minutes depending on usage
I suspect the 250GB hard disk will fill up very quickly on a media-machine, either with downloaded material if used in the home or with compositing files if used professionally.
On opening the machine the black lacquer of the lid gives way to a bright white body embellished with sci-fi details. The keyboard lacks a numeric keypad and where this useful feature (which some games require!) would have sat the space is consumed by over-sized volume and media controls.
On touching the on button the flashy details are illuminated with blue highlights. These adorn the status lights along the front rim as well as the circular media controls either side of the keyboard and another row of media buttons behind the keyboard. We’ll come back to these later.
The Qosmio comes with a remote control which requires an infra-red detector to be inserted into the rear of the machine. Use of the remote fires up Windows Media Player or you choice of media player (editable in the control panel) and play a DVD as if you’re using a TV and DVD player.
Unfortunately Toshiba doesn’t seem to have entirely thought out the human side of the movie playback process. Like many people I like to dim the lights in a room if I’m watching a movie. But those blue lights remain lit even when the machine is in full-screen movie playback mode and this is very distracting particularly with status lights on the front rim blinking on and off!. A better decision would have been to switch off the lights while a movie is playing. By the same token a better choice of colour for the machine would have been black all over.
Inserting a DVD into the optical drive proved problematic. The design of the body of the Qosmio is a rectangular beveled white cover on a smaller black base and the DVD drive occupies a space in both of these elements. PC optical drives traditionally have a small button visible on the face of the drive tray. Looking at the face of the Toshiba’s drive tray no button is visible. A scan of the media buttons did not reveal a disk eject button and there was nothing on the media ‘wheels’ to the left and right of the keyboard. Nothing in the row of lights on the front rim of the machine either. My wife also had trouble and she’s much more PC-orientated than I am. Eventually I found the button on the black portion of the drive tray fascia made difficult to find by the fact that the black portion of the machine body is recessed back from the white. You won’t find by simply looking you have to run your finger pretty hard along the front of the drive tray to realize there’s a button there.
Perhaps to be expected in a high spec machine is the miserly battery life which runs out after barely more than an hour. That’s not enough to view a standard DVD and the juice will run out even faster viewing a HD DVD so this notebook isn’t looking very portable.
The sound is fantastic. The built-in pair of tweeters and under-body woofer provide realistic sound for casual movie playback. A proper speaker setup would improve the quality for audiophiles but for the rest of us its good enough for a quick flick.
The 17-inch display is ideal for playing movies and games: it’s sheer size allows the player/viewer to immerse themselves in the action in all its crystal-clear details as the resolution is enough for full 1080p HD DVD playback. The contrast could be better but, all in all, I’ve never seen another notebook display this good.
At lower resolutions (1680 x 1050) the Qosmio G40 performed very well with a range of games. In older games such as Dungeon siege II the frame rate rarely fell below 60 fps even with full shadow complexity, filtering and textures.
Here are the main facts revealed by our usage:
- It’s not portable because it’s too heavy and the battery runs out too quickly
- The display works well and movie watching is a treat
- Game-playing is fine at lower resolutions, enhanced by the large quality display
- Great sound
- Annoying light display (can be switched off manually but you shouldn’t have to)
The ideal use of this machine would probably be for a child’s bedroom or a parent’s study. It’s good for games, great for movies, has all the connectivity that could be required and being a notebook you can move it to another room or the garden with very little trouble.
- Intel® Core™2 Duo processor T7100 (1.8GHz, 800MHz FSB, L1 Cache 32KB/32KB, L2 Cache 2MB)
- Operating System
- Microsoft® Windows® Vista Home Premium
- Standard Memory: 2x1GB, 667MHz
- Maximum Memory: 4GB DDR2
- Expansion Modules: 256MB, 512MB, 1024, or 2048MB
- Hard Disk Drive
- 250.0 billion bytes, 12.5mm height, S-ATA, 4200rpm.
- Optical Drive
- Built-in HD DVD-R Super-Multi Double Layer Drive
- Maximum speed and compatibility: HD DVD-ROM (1x),
- HD DVD-R (1x), CD-ROM (24x), CD-R (16x), CD-RW (10x), DVD-ROM (8x), DVD-R (4x), DVD-RW (4x), DVD+R (Double Layer(2x)), DVD+RW (4x), DVD-RAM (3x)
- Display System
- Type: TFT Active Matrix colour LCD display
- Size (diagonal): 17.0” Wide UXGA TFT with Ultimate TruBrite™ Screen Technology
- Brightness: When Plugged into AC – Up to 350 Cd/m2
- Brightness: When in Battery mode – Up to 146 Cd/m2
- Contrast: – 450:1
- Native LCD Panel Resolution: 1920x1200x16.7 million colours
- Qosmio Engine: Digital Sharpness, Black / White Extension, LCD Over Drive,
- De-Interlacing, Color Adjustment, Edge Enhancement, Digital Noise Reduction,
- De-ringing, De-blocking and Dynamic contrast adjustment, Picture Enhancement Utility
- Graphics Controller
- NVIDIA® GeForce™ 8600M GT Graphics
- Video memory: 256MB dedicated VRAM
- Sound System
- V.92 56K Data/Fax Modem
- 10/100/1000 integrated Ethernet LAN,
- Intel Wireless (802.11agn)
- Built-in Bluetooth V2.0 plus Enhanced Data Rate (EDR)
- Integrated 2.0 Megapixel Web Camera for Video over IP
- Integrated microphone for Voice over IP
- TV Tuner
- TOSHIBA TV Tuner
- TV Tuner Enhancements: 3D Y/C separator, Digital noise reduction, 10-bit A/D conversion, Time-based correction
- Parental Control and Closed Caption – Yes
- 2 memory slots – each slot has a 1GB. Zero free slots. Slots can be filled with 256MB, 512MB, 1GB, 2 GB modules
- 1PC Card slot supports one Type II PC Cards; supports CardBus. 1 ExpressCard Slot.
- Ports: 1 Bridge Media Adapter (Secure Digital®, Memory Stick™, Memory Stick PRO™, Multi Media Card, xD Picture Card [shared slots]), 5 USB 2.0, RJ11, RJ45, IEEE1394, external microphone port, headphone port, S/P DIF, RGB, HDMI output port, S-Video Out, TV Antenna In, Video-In.
- Full sized 87 keys with 12 function keys
- Dedicated Windows Keys.
- AV Button, TV Button, Presentation Button, Play/Pause, Stop, Previous, Skip/Next
- Pointing Device
- Additional Software
- Toshiba ConfigFree™
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- TOSHIBA Disc Creator
- TOSHIBA DVD PLAYER
- Norton Internet Security™ 2007 – 90 day trial
- Physical Dimensions
- Dimensions: (WxDxH) 440 x 299.4 x 38.1/45.3 mm
- Weight: 5kg (11lbs)
- AC Adapter
- 120W external Universal AC adaptor input voltage (100 – 240V 50/60Hz Frequency (Universal), output voltage (15V, 8A),
- Dimensions : (WxHxD) 145 x 55 x 45 mm
- Weight: 1.43 lbs
- Battery Type: Removable, Rechargeable 9-cell
- Lithium Ion (Li-ion) 7050mAh capacity
- Dimensions: (WxHxD) 141 x 98 x 20.4 mm
- Weight: 320g
- APM Support, ACPI support, PnP support, VESA support,
- DPMS support, DDC Support, SM BIOS support, PCI BIOS Support,
- Cable lock slot, power on password, supervisor password
- Built-in Fingerprint sensor