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Toshiba Qosmio G25-AV513 review: Toshiba Qosmio G25-AV513

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MSRP: $2,499.99

The Good Attractive design; bright, crisp display; complete set of ports and connections including built-in TV tuner; power performance, yet runs cool and quiet; slot-loading, double-layer DVD burner; excellent software and support.

The Bad Pricey; bulky and heavy; small touch pad and mouse buttons; no touch pad on/off button; lesser battery life than other desktop replacements.

The Bottom Line Combining TV, DVR, stereo, DVD player, and high-performance PC in one big laptop, the Toshiba Qosmio G25-AV513 delivers the most complete multimedia experience available in a laptop.

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8.1 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8
  • Support 6

Toshiba Qosmio G25-AV513

Proving that the third time is indeed a charm, the third-generation Toshiba Qosmio delivers the most complete multimedia experience of any laptop we've seen. Built on a state-of-the-art set of components and accommodating virtually every multimedia feature under the sun, the Qosmio G25-AV513, the highest-end model in the Qosmio line, offers a bright 17-inch, wide-screen display, a double-layer DVD drive, and a TV tuner, as well as a full complement of ports and connections, a rocking set of stereo speakers, and a terrific set of multimedia controls. At $2,999, this notebook is not for the casual user. You can certainly get a handful of these features for less in other entertainment-themed notebooks, such as the HP Pavilion dv4000. Still, we think the Qosmio G25-AV513 is well worth the money if you're looking for a premier, all-in-one, digital-entertainment system that's portable enough to move from room to room.

With the lid closed, the Toshiba Qosmio G25-AV513 looks quite similar to the original Qosmio E15-AV101--it's silver colored, has lots of ports and lights around the edges, and is as thick as a King James Bible. But when it's open, you realize that it's a totally redesigned--and unique-looking--laptop. Weighing about 9.5 pounds (just more than 11 pounds with its massive AC adapter), and measuring 16 inches wide, 11.5 inches deep, and nearly 2 inches thick, the Qosmio G25-AV513 is simply gigantic, even for a desktop replacement. Though the shiny, black-plastic interior is a fingerprint magnet (Toshiba includes a polyester chamois for this very reason), it's attractive and makes the Qosmio G25-AV513 as fit for an upscale living room as for a standard home office. It runs quietly and does not get particularly hot.

The keyboard has large, firm keys, though the spacebar and the backspace keys are a bit smaller than those on the Sony VAIO VGN-A690; also, there is no separate number pad, as found on the HP Pavilion zd8000 and the Fujitsu LifeBook N6000. Above the keyboard resides a row of feather-touch system-control buttons that include a full complement of A/V controls: two keys that send you directly to Media Center's TV and DVD players, two keys to adjust the screen's brightness, and two more to send or receive a video signal. All glow a pleasing blue when lit. The Qosmio G25-AV513's touch pad and mouse buttons are far too small for our taste, and there's no way to turn the touch pad off when you're using an external mouse--an extremely useful feature found on the Pavilion zd8000 and one that we'd like to see on every desktop-replacement laptop.

High-quality Harman Kardon stereo speakers sit at the upper corners; they sounded extremely loud, crisp, and clear, though they were muffled when the lid was shut--other laptops with front-edge speakers, such as the Pavilion zd8000 and the Dell Inspiron 9300, sound good even with the lid closed. A particularly nice feature is the prominent external volume control wheel, about the size of a quarter, located to the right of the keyboard; nearby, six dash-shaped blue lights show the volume level.

This notebook has one of the brightest wide-aspect 17-inch displays we've seen on a laptop--on a par with the superbright Fujitsu LifeBook N6000, slightly brighter than the Sony VAIO VGN-A690, and exponentially brighter than the Pavilion zd8000. The Qosmio G25-AV513's 1,440x900 native resolution (also found on the Apple 17-inch PowerBook), affords a large amount of screen real estate without forcing text to a painfully tiny size.

You aren't going to find many laptops with a wider assortment of ports and connections than that of the Toshiba Qosmio G25-AV513. The left edge is home to a modem port, two USB 2.0 ports, a Wi-Fi on/off switch, an optical audio/headphone jack, and a microphone jack. The right edge has both PCI Express and PC Card slots, as well as a 3-in-1 media-card reader and a four-pin FireWire port. In addition to two more USB 2.0 ports, the back edge accommodates S-Video in and out, composite in, component out, Ethernet, and an input for a coaxial antenna (a.k.a. your cable TV wire). Our one beef is that the port labels are small and virtually invisible, blending in with the black plastic of the laptop's edge. The cool, state-of-the-art, slot-loading, double-layer, multiformat DVD drive needs no label, however, and it sits on the front edge.

The Qosmio G25-AV513's Media Center remote control provides a full complement of multimedia controls, though you need to connect the included IR receiver to the notebook before you can use it. We also received a very long USB 2.0 cable, a coaxial cable dongle, a set of composite cables, and a set of optical audio cables. The laptop comes preloaded with Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, as well as a nice package of software, including Nero and InterVideo WinDVD Creator 2.0 for disc burning, plus a number of system utilities.

Toshiba stuffed the Qosmio G25-AV513 full of high-end components to support its wide-ranging multimedia aspirations. Built on a blazing current-generation Pentium M processor running at 2.0GHz, our test unit was equipped with 1GB of 400MHz RAM; two 60GB hard drives, spinning at a brisk 5,400rpm; and Nvidia's midrange GeForce Go 6600 GPU with 128MB of dedicated memory. This strong lineup of parts proved powerful enough to give the Qosmio G25-AV513 a really good run in CNET Labs' benchmarks. It scored well ahead of the Sony VAIO VGN-A690 and the Dell Inspiron 9300 in our SysMark 2004 tests, coming in behind only the Pentium 4-fueled HP Pavilion zd8000.

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