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Toshiba X775-Q7170 review: Toshiba X775-Q7170

Toshiba X775-Q7170

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Dan Ackerman
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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 semi-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

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7 min read

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Just in case you're getting tired of all the attention being paid at the moment to ultraslim, ultralight laptops, it's time to take a look at the other end of the spectrum. The Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 is about as far from an ultrabook as one can get, with a 17.3-inch display, giant 7.5-pound body, and dedicated multimedia controls.

Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 - 17.3" - Core i5 2450M - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - 6 GB RAM - 640 GB HDD
6.9

Toshiba X775-Q7170

The Good

The <b>Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170</b> is a midprice big-screen gaming laptop that comes from one of our favorite high-end laptop lines. It includes a powerful GPU for gaming.

The Bad

The plastic design looks and feels dated and a bit cheap. Serious gamer and multimedia types would likely spend a bit more for a 1080p screen and Core i7 CPU.

The Bottom Line

With the recent emphasis on better materials and design across all laptop segments, the gaudy, plastic Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 delivers decent performance, but not a look to match.

It's also easily the most garish-looking laptop spotted so far in 2012. Not that this should be surprising news -- the Qosmio X775-Q7170 looks identical to the even more expensive Qosmio X775-3DV78 model we reviewed last year. If there's ever been a laptop in need of a visual upgrade, this is it, unless you're into dorm room chic.

For $1,049, you get a decent set of specs, highlighted by a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M GPU, along with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 6GB of RAM, and a 640GB 7,200rpm hard drive. An Intel Core i7 CPU wouldn't be out of the question, and serious gamers will probably want to trade up to something with a 1,920x1,080-pixel display, rather than the 1,600x900-pixel one here (the same goes for HD video viewers).

As a reasonably priced desktop replacement, the X775 has things pretty set on the inside, but there's a lot to overlook on the outside -- which is a shame, as the world needs more decent, entry-level big-screen multimedia laptops.

Price as reviewed $1,049
Processor 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2450M
Memory 6GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 640GB 7,200rpm
Chipset Intel HM65
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M / Intel HD 3000
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 16.3x10.8 inches
Height 1.1 - 1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 17.3 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 7.5 pounds / 9.7 pounds
Category Desktop replacement

The Qosmio line of laptops from Toshiba has always been about big, powerful desktop replacements. But, year-to-year, or sometimes model-to-model, the various Qosmio laptops often look quite different from each other. This model is a direct continuation of last year's Qosmio look, with textured horizontal lines carved into it and a red-to-silvery-gray lid and interior.

It's clearly meant to be more of a "gamer" look, with chrome plastic speaker grilles above the keyboard, which we previously said looked like pimp-my-ride rims on last year's model (a reference nearly as dated as this design). Red LED lights on the touch pad and the strip of media control buttons add to the Alienware-lite effect. The entire thing looks and feels like overly glossy plastic, and is a sharp break from the current trends in laptop aesthetics toward better materials, one-piece construction, and sophisticated, crossover-friendly designs. As we pointed out about the last X775 laptop we reviewed, this glossy plastic veneer may turn off people looking for higher-quality materials and construction.

The raised island-style keys are similar to what we've seen on other Toshiba laptops, with large Shift, Ctrl, and other important keys, and separate Page Up, Page Down, and other navigation keys. In my hands-on experience, this specific Toshiba keyboard design works better in bigger laptops than smaller ones (such as the Portege Z835 ultrabook). There's room for a full number pad on the right-hand side, which is helpful for some types of strategy gaming.

The medium-sized touch pad leaves plenty of dead wrist-rest space, but is responsive enough, with a pleasant matte finish that doesn't have too much finger drag. A red LED strip along the pad's top edge turns itself off once you hit a small button above it, which also deactivates the pad itself for those times when you're using a mouse.

Previous X775 laptops we've reviewed have had full 1,920x1,080-pixel screens, but this more midprice version has a 1,600x900-pixel display. That's what we'd expect to see in a $1,000-plus 13- or 14-inch laptop. On a 17-inch screen, it just doesn't look right, especially as this isn't inexpensive enough to really be a budget laptop. Screen quality is, as usual for Qosmio laptops, excellent, and the audio from the Harman Kardon speakers (yes, the ones under the ugly chrome-finish plastic grilles) is also impressive.

Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 Average for category [desktop replacement]
Video VGA plus HDMI VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks. Stereo speakers with subwoofer, 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
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner, optional Blu-ray player

One of the things I like about reviewing desktop replacement laptops is the chance to luxuriate in a generous selection of ports and connections. Too many smaller laptops have turned toward minimalism, cutting out video and data connections in an effort to slim down.

The Qosmio X775 does OK in this category, but doesn't go overboard. There are four USB ports, including one USB 3.0 (which includes sleep-and-charge, allowing accessories to charge even when the laptop is off), but no eSATA. HDMI, VGA, and an Ethernet jack are all things we'd expect to see on just about any laptop, but they're starting to vanish on some of the slimmest ultrabooks, so don't take them for granted.

For a machine that is at least partially targeted at gamers, one might be a little concerned that this model only has a dual-core Intel Core i5 CPU, not one of the more powerful quad-core Core i7 processors found in many high-end gaming systems. For most tasks, even games, however, the hardware included here is perfectly fine, especially as it's backed up by a high-end Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M GPU, clearly the highlight of this laptop.

The GPU provides the muscle needed to play most PC games at decent detail levels with good frame rates, especially as the resolution is capped at 1,600x900 pixels (which itself is not ideal for serious gaming). In the very challenging Metro 2033 at 1,600x900 pixels, the system ran at 15.7 frames per second (which is actually pretty decent), or 23.7 frames per second at 1,366x768 pixels. An anecdotal test of Skyrim found that the game ran very smoothly at 1,600x900 pixels, with graphics options set to "ultra." The X775 will give you a good-to-very-good gaming experience, if you don't mind the lower screen resolution.

Annual power consumption cost
Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170
$9.01 
Asus G74SX-A2
$14.64 
Razer Blade
$17.22 

Expecting a lot from a 17-inch desktop replacement laptop's battery isn't really fair, so we temper our expectations accordingly. Still, at only 2 hours and 14 minutes, the Qosmio X775 didn't last very long, even with a bulky battery that raises the entire back end of the system off the ground. Keep in mind that while our video playback battery drain test is tough, there's also not a lot of high-end hardware, such as a Core i7 CPU or full HD display, running -- only the GPU, which our battery test doesn't really hit, relying more on the integrated Intel graphics. Still, it's a step up from the last X775 laptop we tested, which ran for about 20 minutes less, but with more powerful hardware.

Toshiba includes an industry-standard one-year parts-and-labor warranty with the system. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line, and a customized support search page can direct you to online documents and driver downloads for this specific model.

Despite our reservations, the Toshiba Qosmio X775 is a perfectly fine midprice desktop replacement laptop that costs maybe $50 to $100 more than it should (so keep an eye out for retail discounts). With a 1080p screen, it'd be easier to recommend, but even then, the frankly juvenile design will make this a laptop you won't be eager to show off.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170
550 

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170
177 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170
112 

Metro (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
1,366x768 pixels, High, DX11, AAA, 4X AF  
1,920x1,080 pixels, High, DX11, 4X AA, 16X AF  
Origin EON17-S
49 
39 
Alienware M18x
46.7 
29.7 
Asus G74SX-A2
24.7 
20.3 
Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170
23.7 
15.7 
Razer Blade
17.3 
8.7 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170
134 

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations:

Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core i5-2450M; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1.5GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M; 640GB Toshiba 7,200rpm

Alienware M18x
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-2920XM; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; (SLi) 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M (x2) + 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 3000; 750GB Seagate 7,200rpm (x2)

Asus G74SX-A2
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 3GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M; HDD No. 1: 160GB Intel SSD + HDD No. 2: 750GB Seagate 7,200rpm

Origin EON17-S
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-2920XM; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M; HDD No. 1: 500GB Seagate 7200rpm + HDD No. 2: C300-CTFDDAC 128GB SSD

Razer Blade
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-2640M; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M / 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 3000; Lite-On IT 256GB SSD

Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 - 17.3" - Core i5 2450M - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - 6 GB RAM - 640 GB HDD
6.9

Toshiba X775-Q7170

Score Breakdown

Design 5Features 7Performance 8Battery 6Support 7