Toshiba Qosmio F45-AV412 review: Toshiba Qosmio F45-AV412

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.3
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Battery life: 4.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Eye-catching design; HD DVD drive, volume jog wheel, and other media controls add convenience; built-in subwoofer.

The Bad The 15-inch display can't support HD DVD's full 1080p resolution; no DVI or HDMI ports; dreadful battery life; front-loading optical drive can get in the way.

The Bottom Line Toshiba's Qosmio F45-AV412 offers a wealth of multimedia features, but the HD DVD drive and subwoofer seem like overkill for a 15-inch laptop. You're better off spending a bit more for a 17-inch model for this type of laptop.

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Toshiba's Qosmio line is known for high-end home theater features and high prices, and like the flagship 17-inch

To include an HD DVD drive on the F45 for only $1,499, Toshiba cuts a few corners, including the use of integrated graphics and a slower processor than its 17-inch cousin. The biggest sacrifice is the smaller, 15.4-inch screen, which cannot support HD DVD's full 1,080p resolution. While movies will still look good at 720p, we are less satisfied with that output when we've ponied up for an HD DVD drive. The audience for 15-inch home theater laptops is still something of a mystery to us, but aside from the screen-resolution issue, you can't debate the fit and finish of the white, glossy Qosmio F45. It certainly stands out from the crowd and looks and feels like a much more expensive machine. In fact, aside from our issues with the choice of optical drive, screen resolution, and video-output options, there's plenty to like about this impressive system.

Price as reviewed / Starting price $1,499
Processor 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100
Memory 2GB, 667MHz DDR2
Hard drive 250GB, 4,200rpm
Chipset Intel GM965
Graphics Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate
Dimensions (WDH) 14.9 x 11.1 x 1.9 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 15.4 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter [pounds] 6.7/7.8 pounds
Category Mainstream

The Toshiba Qosmio F45-AV412 has a stark two-tone look, with a black lid offset against a white interior. As on the larger G45, the system has a glossy plastic finish--we generally prefer the matte look as glossy-coated cases can be seriously fingerprint-prone. A huge silver Qosmio logo sits on the back of the lid, so this isn't a laptop for those who would rather not broadcast their brand preference to nearby onlookers.

Like the Alienware m9750 and the Qosmio G45 (both larger desktop replacements), the F45 moves the optical drive bay to the front, making it easier to access--unless, like us, you had the system sitting on a laptop stand with rubber feet that partially block the front panel.

We were disappointed to see that the F45 ditches the G45's touch-sensitive media control buttons in favor of plain old click buttons. It retains the larger model's silver volume jog wheel to the left of the keyboard and an AV control wheel to the right. The controls are fun to use, but we found the blue backlighting annoying, until we figured out which button turns it off (it's on the row of buttons above the keyboard).

While Toshiba includes an HD DVD drive at a reasonable price, we agree with the common assessment that the HD DVD/Blu-ray format wars are far from over, and can't think of too many reasons why you'd want to tie yourself into just one next-gen format at this point. One high-end extra we do appreciate, however, is the 2.1 audio system, with two speakers on the keyboard tray and a subwoofer underneath. It still won't compare to a desktop audio system, but for a laptop, the sound is thick and rich.

More to the point, the F45's screen is not up to the task of playing back hi-def movies. The 15.4-inch LCD display offers a 1,280x800 native resolution that isn't enough to display the full 1080p resolution of HD DVD discs. We had a similar issue with another 15-inch home theater laptop, the Sony VAIO FZ180 and the HP HDX. On the F45, there's no DVI or HDMI output, either, so you can't output the signal to a big-screen TV (unless it has a VGA input, but that's not an optimal choice).

  Toshiba Qosmio F45-AV412 Average for category [mainstream]
Video VGA-out, S-Video VGA-out, S-Video
Audio Stereo speakers w/subwoofer, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 4 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, mulitformat memory card reader 4 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, mulitformat memory card reader
Expansion ExpressCard PC Card or ExpressCard
Networking modem, Ethernet, 802.11 a/g/n Wi-Fi modem, Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi, optional Bluetooth
Optical drive HD DVD DVD burner

We were pleased to see 802.11n Wi-Fi technology, but the lack of Bluetooth is odd for a mainstream system, and we would have expected at least a DVI output on a laptop with a high-def optical drive. Unfortunately, this is a fixed configuration system, so these are not problems that are easy to solve.

With a 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 CPU and 2GB of RAM, the Qosmio G45 is a reasonably powerful performer, on par with Toshiba's recent AMD-powered Satellite A215. Stepping up the CPU a notch to a T7300, as in the Acer Aspire 5920G, yields slightly better results, but in real-world conditions, the performance differences between systems in this range are negligible. We were able to multitask, surfing the Web, playing video files, and working on office documents at the same time, with no slowdown or stuttering, as we'd expect from any dual-core laptop in Intel's T7000-series range.

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Where to Buy

Toshiba Qosmio F45-AV412

Part Number: PQF43U-008004 Released: Jul 28, 2007
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Jul 28, 2007
  • Installed Size 2 GB
  • Color cosmic black
  • Weight 6.6 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM / HD DVD-ROM - fixed
  • Graphics Processor Intel GMA X3100
  • CPU Intel Core 2 Duo T7100 / 1.8 GHz