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Toshiba F755-3D150 review: Toshiba F755-3D150

Toshiba F755-3D150

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
8 min read

In the half-year since we reviewed the first version of the Toshiba Qosmio F755, I have seen a grand total of zero new autostereoscopic laptops (3D displays that can be viewed without special glasses). Toshiba has not given up, however, and an updated version for 2012 shows some notable improvement over the original, which was a cool prototype, but not quite ready for prime time.

Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D150 - 15.6" - Core i5 2450M - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - 6 GB RAM - 750 GB HDD

Toshiba F755-3D150

The Good

The updated <b>Toshiba Qosmio F755</b> improves the original's glasses-free autostereoscopic 3D.

The Bad

The 3D effect still works best for a single viewer, and can be finicky at times. While 3D games are supported, the underpowered GPU makes most unplayable.

The Bottom Line

The glasses-free 15-inch 3D display on the Toshiba Qosmio F755 falls just short of being really impressive. The software support and stability are better than for previous models, but low-end hardware needlessly hobbles this laptop.

The Qosmio F755-3D150 is $1,299, about $400 less than the 2011 version I reviewed, but still uses the same special eye-tracking software to track the viewer's head movement and adjust the stereoscopic image accordingly, via the built-in Webcam.

Like the Nintendo 3DS, it's a bit of a novelty, but Blu-ray playback felt smoother and the 3D seemed more stable on this new model, even though the viewing angles are very narrow -- watching over someone's shoulder is tricky. Discs of 3D movies such as "Avatar" and "Tron: Legacy" present themselves well, although you have to use Toshiba's proprietary media player to view them in 3D.

The biggest knock against the original was that the 3D support only extended to Blu-ray movies and some types of video files, leaving out video games and streaming video. Thanks to new Nvidia drivers, games now work in 3D, to a point.

While nearly every PC game we tried worked in 3D (at least as well as it would using Nvidia's 3D Vision platform with active shutter glasses), the low-end Nvidia GeForce 540 GPU prevented every current game I tried from being playable in 3D, although many played fine with the 3D effect turned off.

That's a real shame, as an autostereoscopic 3D gaming laptop could be a fun splurge for gamers, and the F755 is a perfectly fine midrange-to-high-end Qosmio otherwise. As it is, unless you have a burning need for glasses-free 3D Blu-ray, we'd wait for better graphics hardware.

Price as reviewed $1,299
Processor 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2450M
Memory 6GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 750GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Intel HM65
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GT 540M
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 15.3x10.5 inches
Height 1.5 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 7.1 pounds/8.1 pounds
Category Midsize

Physically, this Qosmio F755 is identical to the version we reviewed in mid-2011, and many of our observations still stand. This is a fairly standard-looking Qosmio laptop, based on a slightly older design than the most recent non-3D Qosmios we've seen. The outer shell is a textured bright red, with a glossy black interior.

The keyboard has tightly packed keys, while other Toshiba laptops in general seem to be moving toward a universal island-style keyboard. It's usable, but something of a dated look, although there's plenty of room for a full-size number pad and standalone Page Up/Page Down keys. There is a row of touch-sensitive control buttons right above the keyboard, including volume controls and a button to turn the 3D view off and on.

The smallish touch pad has a lighted strip above it that indicates the pad is active. Press a tiny, flush button above it to turn off both the touch pad and the light. I've never been a fan of the Toshiba style of mouse buttons seen here, with their convex shape and glossy plastic.

The original F755 3D laptop felt like more like a proof-of-concept piece than a practical consumer product. The 3D Blu-ray media player was sluggish, and the 3D effect would work sporadically. When everything lined up perfectly, it was a fun, watchable experience, but more trouble than it was worth.

I'm pleased to say this updated version feels much snappier. The Blu-ray playback software still took a bit too long to load, but the 3D effect kicked in automatically, and stayed in focus as long as I kept my head within a reasonable movie-watching zone. Moving more than a few inches in either direction started to degrade the image quickly.

The 3D effect still isn't as crisp as you may be used to from a 3D movie theater or 3D TV with active-shutter glasses. There is a subtle screen-door effect, which gets more obvious the closer you get to the screen, because while the display is a 1,920x1,080-pixel panel, the 3D effect cuts the resolution to 1,366x768 pixels in order to pump out twice as many frames of visual data.

Toshiba Qosmio F755 Average for category [Midsize]
Video VGA plus HDMI VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0, SD card reader 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, SD card reader, eSATA
Networking Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband
Optical drive Blu-ray ROM/DVD burner DVD burner

The dual-core Intel Core i5-2450M CPU is a step down from the quad-core Core i7-2630QM in last year's F755. That, plus trading the original Blu-ray Disc-burning drive for a Blu-ray ROM/DVD burner, helps account for the $400 price drop.

It's still more than fine for just about any task, and still sufficient for the intensive work required for glasses-free 3D video playback. The later half of the year may see an update to Intel's third-generation Core i-series CPUs (also known as Ivy Bridge), but then again, it may not.

I called the Nvidia GeForce 540M graphics midlevel (somewhat charitably) last time. The graphics chip is unchanged in this new version and it's the single biggest problem with the F755. It can certainly handle Blu-ray playback, even in 3D, but gaming is another story.

With the 3D effect turned off, games played fine, especially with detail levels set to medium and the screen resolution knocked back from 1,920x1,080 pixels. With the 3D effect turned on, it was a different story altogether. First, the games all needed to be set to full 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution for the 3D effect to kick in (even though that would lower the effective resolution to 1,366x768). Then, nearly every game I tried was simply too choppy to play, even with details set to absolute minimums.

Skyrim was very playable in 2D, too choppy to play in 3D. The same went for Battlefield 3. In the older game Mafia 2, the system ran at 20.3 frames per second in 2D mode, and only 10.3fps in 3D mode -- both at the required full 1080p resolution. Batman: Arkham City was a bit better, just a step below playable in 3D, with every detail option turned to the lowest settings. In our relatively easy Street Fighter IV test, the F755 ran in 2D mode, at 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, at 44.3fps, and 21.6fps in 3D mode. Portal, a game that nearly any laptop can play, worked fine in 3D, even at 1,920x1,080.

In the performance charts below, you'll see the GeForce 540M ran Metro 2033 at a reasonable 24.3fps in 2D mode at 1,366x768 resolution, so it'll do for mainstream, somewhat casual gaming -- but so will many less expensive laptops.

The upshot is that, while it's great that Nvidia and Toshiba have gotten together to work out the kinks in this autostereoscopic system and allow for 3D gaming, a better GPU is needed to make it work on anything above the level of Plants vs. Zombies. That's a shame, because the little bit of successful gaming I experienced was quite fun, and 3D gaming is arguably much better and more flexible on a PC than on current game consoles.

Juice box
Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D Avg watts/hour
Off (60%) 0.7
Sleep (10%) 1.36
Idle (25%) 11.3
Load (05%) 53.55
Raw kWh number 53.07
Annual power consumption cost $6.02

Annual power consumption cost
Toshiba Qosmio F755 3D

No one expects a desktop replacement laptop to have great battery life, but even though this hulking box has that expansive feel, it's actually a midsize 15-inch system, so it's not unreasonable to ask for a certain minimum level of running time. It ran for 2 hours and 14 minutes in our video playback battery drain test, in 2D mode. You shouldn't expect to be able to watch a 3D movie during an airplane flight, but then again, the F755 probably wouldn't fit on your tray table anyway.

Toshiba supplies a standard one-year mail-in parts and labor warranty with the system. Adding on-site coverage for that one-year term is an extra $89, while a three-year plan is $149 for basic coverage and $249 for three years of accidental damage protection.

The updated Toshiba Qosmio F755 definitely works better than the original version, and the new lower price makes it a more reasonable splurge if you're a fan of all things 3D. But 3D gaming remains tantalizingly out of reach, thanks to a GPU that can't handle the workload.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio F755 3D

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio F755 3D

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio F755 3D

Metro 2033 (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,366x768, High, DX11, AAA, 4X AF  
Toshiba Qosmio F755 3D

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio F755 3D

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Toshiba Qosmio F755 3D
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2450M; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 750GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Dell XPS L702X
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 3GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M; 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Sony Vaio VPC-F215FX/BI
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 640GB Toshiba 7,200rpm

Lenovo IdeaPad Y570
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1 GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M; 500GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite P755-3DV20
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1 GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 750GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D150 - 15.6" - Core i5 2450M - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - 6 GB RAM - 750 GB HDD

Toshiba F755-3D150

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 7Battery 4Support 7