"Does not Wow"on by dontspammecnet
Pros Good screen, speakers, etc., etc.
Cons Many missed opportunities and annoyances
Summary Listen up, this is the real deal. I actually own and use a G25 and I am not a shill or plant. Bottom line, after three weeks this computer does not wow me. I’ll focus here on the negatives that the specs don’t tell you about—what a perspective buyer wants to know. I even put up with the CNET registration crap to let you know. There are so many little things I’m sure I’ll forget some.
The LED indicator lights are too bright. I had to tape them over (can still clearly see them) since it was hard watching video with bright lights at the bottom of the screen. The screen is very bright, usually a good thing, but it might be too bright. Regardless, it cannot be dimmed very much so if you use your notebook in a situation where you need a dim screen, this machine is not for you. The touch sensitive buttons above the keyboard are often triggered inadvertently such as when I’m using the F keys causing a painful pause while the TV starts up.
I had been eyeing a wireless mouse so with this computer I also bought a bluetooth mouse so no adaptor would be required. I did get it to work BUT after every boot, restart, wake-up, 20 minutes, or just randomly I have to use the touchpad to make three separate selections, press a TINY recessed button on the bottom of the mouse and then make another mouse selection. It is such a bother I’m eyeing a wired mouse now. Speaking of adaptors, TV use requires one but to my surprise it is not an industry standard one. Good luck finding a replacement if it gets lost or when it wears out (no replacement listing on the Toshiba web site).
Toshiba really dropped the ball on this—while the computer has an IR port and the TV remote is IR (should have been bluetooth), you must plug in a separate USB IR receiver box to use the remote. So while unlike competing computers a separate tuner box is not required, doesn’t having a separate IR receiver box turn out to be the same annoyance?
On to Windows Media Center 2005. They say 2005 is a great improvement over 2003. In this case 2003 must have been a real pile of crap since WMC2005 is no prize. Just as MS Works is a watered down MS Word and Celeron is a watered down Pentium, WMC is a poor watered down version of TIVO marketed by Microsoft to people who don’t know any better. In typical MS fashion, the commercial skip feature seems to have been purposely made to make it hard to skip commercials. Select fast forward and the video speeds to maybe 3X, so six minutes of ads takes two minutes to skip through. Select fast forward again and its more like 40X, so in twelve seconds you’ve skipped the ads AND two minutes of show. Not having an overshoot backup feature like TIVO is inexcusable. The TV guide only displays seven stations by 1 and ½ hours using something like a 36 point font—why can’t I make the font 12 points and glance at 21 stations by 5 hours. Even the cheapest free five-year-old web browser lets me change the font size. And use of the very-space-inefficient DVR-MS video storage format (10X MPEG-4) seems just a way to get you to buy conversion software and most storage hardware. Given that it runs on a general-purpose computer, WMC should have a number of user configurable settings and an API as well.Updated
Oh, I forgot to mention that rather than a door flipper, the PCMCIA slot uses an annoying plastic filler piece. Certainly a disappointment on a high end $$$ machine. Also, there is some other slot above it so I have to fiddle with the ejection buttons to get to the PCMCIA one. Practice with the PCMCIA slot in the store and you will see what I mean.
On to other's comments. First, I did not see anything much factually wrong with any of them, just differences of opinion. This is the point, if you read my info and say, for example "so you think Media Center sucks, why should I care since I am not going to use it" that is fine. I just wanted to give a heads-up to those who, like me, would choose this model for that feature.
Screen too bright--yes, you can dim it but not very much compared to any other notebook I've used. If you, for example, were planning on watching movies on a night flight, be advised it will still be quite bright (or take notes in a dark lecture hall or ...). If this does not apply to you then of course ignore this info.
LEDs too bright--I doubt you would notice this in the store. However, when viewing the screen at a distance such as to watch video the 3 LEDs at the front of the unit appear at the bottom of the screen and their great brightness do distract greatly from viewing videos. I did put a piece of white cloth medical tape over them and this fixed the problem quite nicely as they can still be clearly seen but are no longer distractingly bright. Same with the volume light but I'm living with the power switch and TV+DVD lights as these are bright but in less prominent positions.
Separate remote control box--I bought this specific model because I wanted a unit that was complete and self-contained even if that meant a large heavy unit. I wanted a change from my prior system where I could set it up and move it around without all the recabling and separate loose pieces to keep track of. I wanted just the power cord if I could find such a machine. I specifically searched for such a unit so a separate plug in box and cable is annoying to me in general but in this context it is curseable. I still say the remote should have been Bluetooth away.
Bluetooth--I have gotten the mouse to work a little less bothersomely so it is not as bad. Still, in fact just today, Bluetooth turned itself off internally on its own and good luck figuring out and correcting the problem. I am now also using Bluetooth stereo headphones (the Toshiba ones which are cool) but these are too a bother. For example, mute the TV viewer and in short order they disconnect and I have to go through the gyrations I used to have to do with the mouse to get them running again. Unfortunately, the fixes I did with the mouse will not work with the headphones.
Touch keys--sure they are cool but do this in the store--hold your right hand out and place the pointer finger over F1. Look at your middle finger and see that it is over the TV button. Pointer finger on F2 and middle over the DVD button. Trouble is, these buttons activate without being pressed down, only touched, and their activation locks up the computer for at least 10 seconds. Note that only the LAST five buttons, not the first six can be reprogrammed/turned off.
Window MCE--stills sucks but the more I have used it the more work arounds I have found to make it better while finding more things that suck. For example, the TV guide displays a TIP rather than the program so I have to move to another program to get rid of the tip and then back to the first program to see what it is--what a pain and it cannot be turned off. Also, leave it in the background for a while and 2/3 the listings go blank so I have to exit and restart (don't you love troubleshooting Bill's sucky software for the world's richest man). I discovered on the remote only, there is a 30sec. skip which was my salvation given how truely sucky the fast forward does not work. So how come I can't have a 30/60/120/240 selection (with 240 being the most needed)? Oh well, TV sucks and I imagine as with TIVO as well, the new TV season brought with it several anti-TIVO/MCE schemes so enjoy TIVO/MCE while you can. For example, more and more programs that used to give episode info no longer do so duplicate show recording prevention cannot work. Also, some change lineups the day before so the guides are off and record the show you don't want but they tricked you into recording.
After five more months of use I have warmed up to the machine--a little. Compared to one other computer I used, the WiFi seemed to have better range, FWIW, though of course I wish it were more. At 2Ghz it does not seem that fast, more like 2X my old system than 5X but this has not been a big deal for me. I have been using the bundled SW to convert saved TV shows into MPEG2 (and then on to 1/10 sized MPEG4) but get this--it ties up the entire screen and if you don't let this happen it looks like it is still working but when it is done hours latter you find out it stopped converting. So I run one conversion at a time overnight. A big pain but it does work.
Pros Super Bright Screen, Harmon Speakers are awesome, solid gaming performance
Cons battery life is a little short
Summary I finally had a chance to test out the DELL XPS and the G25 at the same time. Here is what I found from my personal experience. The DELL has great gaming performance, and it was a bit faster than the G25. After watching DVD's for more than 20 minutes the Toshiba's screen was a lot nicer than the DELL. I found the colors on the Toshiba to be brighter, and the clarity on the toshiba's 1440X900 resolution better for everyday use than DELL's higher resolution screen. The icons on the DELL were way to small, and then when you adjust them to a lower setting to make them bigger, the icons are fuzzy. I would say with confidence Toshiba's screen is better. As for the speakers I would go with Toshiba. Even though the DELL has a built in sub, the Toshiba's sound at high levels was crisper. The reviewers that give Toshiba a score of 1 obviously havent touched the notebook. This notebook was just released, and please dont review until you have played around with it for a little while. The XPS Gen 2 is a great machine, but you gotta give credit to Toshiba for making a great all around notebook. Both are high powered machines, and while the Toshiba might be a touch slower for gaming, DELL's screen is not that great. Who wants to spend $3,000 + with a below standards screen? For a 17" screen the 1440x900 is way better than a higher resolution screen. I dont like DELL's fuzzy text at lower resolutions.
A lot has to do with personal perference, so check them out for yourself Like I did.
Pros Excellent performance (from gaming to video editing), feature packed (hey it's even a TV), beautifully designed (if even my fiancee likes it... well it must be perfect)
Cons It can't be autonomous for long, It's expensive (but you get what you pay for)
Summary This notebook is really something. I am working as a video editor and needed something speedy, something that will replace my desktop completely. After months of researching I've come upon this gem. Not only does it measure up to a demanding task of running complex video editing (plus 3D modelling) software, it's great performance in 3D graphics make it a great gaming machine.
LCD is sharp and color rendition is accurate. Viewing DVD's on it is a real pleasure.
Also, an important note, I'm experimentally editing High Definition (HD) video on this unit and it's working flawless. What more could I ask for?
One downside to the whole deal is the battery autonomy time; it's short. But all these features, fast processor, huge LCD, optical drive and GPU need power so if you need autonomy this is not a notebook for you. I need absolutely no autonomy so these few hours I sqeeze out of my Quosmio are a bonus for me.
I bought this unit to use it as an easily movable workstation/multimedia and/or entertainment center not something I intended to use without nearby power outlets and that's the reason I give it a 10 - it deserves even higher.
P.S One more thing, this particular notebook gave me absolutely no problems in terms of crashes or other misbehaviour - something I was more than used to while working on my desktop.
Pros clean simple look high performance
Cons over priced for the hardware
Summary this looks like an amazing machine but why would someone rather buy this than the zd8000 which you can customize to have 100gb at 5400rpm and a 1680x1050 screen resolution for 1grand less? and they benchmarked unfairly. they should have all the products customized to the 3 grand range to test them with each other. Sony could have easily gone to 2ghz and had a 1920 x 1200 screen resolution for almost 3 grand which would easily beat this toshibas screen with its "special qosmio engine" sony makes one of the best and brightest screens out there. this product is good but i wouldnt recommend it for the price. other options which are better out there.
Pros Nice speakers, Good display
Cons Not sure about its quality, Bad customer support and clumsy TV remote sensor which didn't work with our sat tv
Summary The CD/DVD drive stopped working the very first day of use. Toshiba and its reseller refused to do defective one on one exchange, Toshiba send in a part with a technician who doesn't know about this model. The whole unit was disassembled to fix the CD/DVD drive and when he fixed it the volume control didn’t work. Finally he made it to work but we wonder what will break next as it was ripped apart to replace the drive by some one who hasn’t even seen this mode earlier. Now we are thinking of just returning it back to the seller and have peace of mind even though he will charge us 15% as restocking fee. Beware of the online merchants who offer to sell the system cheap. We have learned it hard way.