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Hands on: Toshiba Qosmio G30 HD DVD laptop

The first HD DVD laptop has arrived and at 4.5kg it's an absolute beast -- but how does it compare to the Blu-ray laptops we've seen?

Holy blue lasers Batman, here's an actual HD DVD device in the flesh! The Toshiba Qosmio G30 laptop landed in our offices last Friday just as we were walking out the door and almost made us not go to the pub.

Sadly, the lure of the weekend and premium-strength continental lager was too strong to resist, but now Monday has arrived we can bring you a full hands-on write-up.

First impressions aren't positive: it comes across as 4.5kg of aesthetic bizarreness. The silver lid is cool, but the inwardly sloping edges are not a good look. Things are slightly better inside though -- we're feeling the all-black interior, boy-racer-style speakers and the circular volume knob, which lets you adjust the loudness quickly and easily.

The screen's pretty impressive, too. Though it's only a 17-inch widescreen model it runs at a monster 1,920x1,200 pixels, so it'll happily play 1080p movies. The G30 has an HDMI port so you can play flicks on a big screen if you fancy making the most of your investment.

Specs-wise, the laptop packs 1GB of RAM, a pair of 100GB hard drives, a digital TV tuner and an Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 graphics card. Bizarrely though, it's using an ordinary 2GHz T2500 Core Duo CPU -- not the more advanced Core 2 Duo. Why, Toshiba, why?!

As for the performance of HD DVD movies -- we're not that impressed. Happy Gilmore looked little better than a DVD and King Kong, while certainly impressive, wasn't as gut-wrenchingly awesome as we remember it at the cinema. We were definitely more impressed by the initial batch of Blu-ray flicks running on the Sony Vaio VGN-AR11S, but we'll reserve final judgement until we see the same film running on both formats.

Watch out for a full review of the £1,429 Qosmio G30 soon. -RR