There's no doubt about it: the Toshiba Qosmio X305-Q706 is not your average desktop replacement/mobile gaming system. Bedecked in flames and shiny bits and glowing with red lights (what the company calls its "Fusion Finish with Rogue pattern"), the design is no doubt an attempt to express the power that potentially lies within. Also, the behemoth laptop contains some top-notch components, including dual 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTS graphics adapters and 4GB of RAM.
In spite of that, we weren't blown away by its capabilities--gaming and application performance was simply good. But if you're in love with its looks and don't mind paying a little extra for them, the $1,999 Qosmio X305-Q706 isn't a slouch and makes relatively quick work of demanding tasks.
|Price as reviewed / Starting price||$1,999|
|Processor||2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400|
|Memory||4GB, 1,066MHz DDR3|
|Hard drive||320GB 7,200rpm|
|Chipset||Nvidia GeForce 9400M|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTS (x2)|
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium|
|Dimensions (WD)||16.2x12.0 inches|
|Height||1.7 - 2.5 inches|
|Screen size (diagonal)||17.0 inches|
|System weight / Weight with AC adapter||9.3/12.2 pounds|
If you're looking for understated or elegant, the Qosmio X305-Q706's design is probably not for you. Its red lid is covered with two-tone flames and the center prominently features "Qosmio" in inch-tall silver letters. Inside, the display bezel is a deeper red, while the shiny black keyboard and deck are bordered with metallic red.
The laptop is also quite massive, measuring 2.25 inches thick at the back (a mere 1.7 inches at the front) and 16 inches wide. By contrast, both the HP Pavilion dv7-1025nr and Gateway P-7811FX top out at 1.7 inches thick and will take up a little less space on your desk.
While the Qosmio's 9.3-pound weight falls within our expectations for a desktop replacement, its 2.9-pound power brick does not; though the system is still technically portable, there's little chance you'll want to carry this very far from your desk.
The 17.0-inch wide-screen LCD offers a 1,680x1,050 native resolution, which is a little lower than we like for this price and a rarity for a screen this size--1,920x1,200 is the current 17-inch default. The Toshiba display can't match the crispness delivered by higher-resolution models we've tested, but text and icons are still easy to read.
A row of red touch-sensitive controls stretch across the top of the keyboard and include not only the expected media player launch key, playback controls, and mute button, but also a button to turn off the LED case lights, one to turn on the Web cam, and one to launch the included Dolby Home Theater software. As with the company's Satellite models, the Qosmio X305-Q706's keys are made of very glossy plastic that fits the overall aesthetic, but is so shiny as to be distracting and fingerprint-prone. Fortunately, the keyboard is comfortable; with your eyes closed it feels like any other full-size board. Because of the laptop's broad case, there's also room for a 10-key numeric keypad.
The Qosmio's wide touch pad could use a bit more height, but it is nevertheless functional for those few times you aren't using an external mouse, and we do like its textured surface. A glowing red stripe marks the top of the touch pad (we've seen it in white on recent Satellite models) that can be disabled with one of the light-touch controls if you don't care for it. We wish the laptop also incorporated a hardware touch pad power button like the one found on HP's Pavilion line.
The Qosmio's case features some additional small design elements worth noting. First, the tray-loading DVD drive is located on the laptop's front edge, which is either convenient or annoying, depending on where things pile up on your desk. Likewise, the headphone and microphone jacks, along with a handy volume wheel, are unconventionally located on the laptop's right edge. A hardware switch for the Wi-Fi radio is within easy reach on the front edge. Also, the back two corners of the keyboard deck, next to the speakers, glow red (as with the touch pad stripe, these lights can be turned off).
|Toshiba Qosmio 305-Q706||Average for category [desktop replacement]|
|Video||VGA-out, HDMI, DisplayPort, Webcam||VGA-out, HDMI|
|Audio||Stereo speakers with subwoofer, headphone and microphone jacks, S/PDIF out, built-in microphone||Stereo speakers with subwoofer, headphone/microphone jacks|
|Data||3 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, SD card reader, eSATA/USB combo||4 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, SD card reader|
|Networking||modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wireless USB ready||modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth|
|Optical drive||DVD burner with Labelflash||DVD burner or Blu-ray|
With four Harman Kardon speakers and a built-in subwoofer, the Qosmio X305-Q706 is one of the best-sounding laptops around, and could easily function as both computer and media center for the space-challenged. Other high-end features around the Qosmio's case include an HDMI port for high-definition video and an eSATA port that's good for hooking up external hard drives. While the Q706 has just three standalone USB ports, the eSATA port will also accept USB devices. All three USB ports feature Toshiba's Sleep-and-Charge technology, which means you can plug in and charge USB devices (iPods, mobile phones, and so on) even if the laptop is powered off, as long as it's plugged into an outlet.
The Qosmio X305-Q706 comes in a single, fixed configuration sold only in retail outlets. Its $1,999 price buys you a fairly powerful mobile processor--the 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8400--backed by a generous 4GB of fast 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM (with 64-bit Windows Vista to take advantage of it) and a 7,200rpm, 320GB hard drive. The combination performed on par with similarly configured systems on CNET Labs' multitasking benchmark. In fact, the Q706 was consistently average on all our system performance tests, doing what was expected of it--no more, no less.
What's more of a head-scratcher, though, is its performance on our Unreal Tournament 3 gaming test. The Q706 uses two 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTS graphics cards connected via Nvidia's SLI technology and hit a very good 91.8 frames per second (at 1,440x900 resolution). The similarly configured (but much less expensive) Gateway P-7801u was in the same neighborhood with 99 fps with its single 1GB Nvidia GeForce 9800M GTS. It's possible the dual-card array may have proved worthwhile at a higher resolution, but the display tops out at 1,680x1,050 while the competition goes up to 1,920x1,200.