In stark counterpoint to small, fast systems like the MacBook Air, big-screened, heavy, packed-to-the-gills desktop-alternative laptops are still alive and well, although sometimes a little hard to justify. Toshiba's Qosmio line of laptops has been a well-known example of that type of massive machine for years, and 2011's update to the Qosmio largely continues the trend with a new design. The $1,899 Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 is bulky, heavy (8 pounds), and expensive, but it's also got top-of-the-line features. A quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 graphics, and dual hard drives with a combined 1.25TB capacity come wrapped in a chassis that's--no joke--smaller and lighter than previous Qosmios, although still far larger than any average laptop.
This Qosmio is part of a small class of stylized large-screen 3D laptops, very similar to the Dell XPS 17 3D Edition or HP Envy 17 3D. It comes packaged with Nvidia 3D Vision technology (the most common way for laptops to display stereoscopic 3D) and a pair of Nvidia 3D active-shutter glasses, meaning it can play 3D PC games and 3D Blu-ray movies. Both look good on the large 17.3-inch 1,920x1,080-pixel display, or either can be output to a 3D-compatible HDTV with Nvidia 3DTV Play software.
Here's the $1 million question for a nearly $2,000 laptop, though: is all that enough? Do 8-pound media-heavy laptops make sense when they're this large? That might be a conversation for a different time, but it's a near certainty that the Qosmio X775-3DV78 won't leave your desk much, even if it's slightly smaller than previous Qosmios. The value of 3D entertainment is also up for debate--honestly, even in the years since 3D laptops were introduced, it's never been more than a high-end novelty, although Nvidia 3D Vision does work (to varying degrees) with most mainstream games and 3D Blu-ray movies.
The Qosmio X775-3DV78 adds up to a superior high-performance laptop, but many will consider the 3D not worth the extra investment. In that case, consider a 3D-free Qosmio instead (which start at $1,199). Otherwise, enjoy the splurge.
Read the full Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 review.