The Qosmio X770 is expensive, let’s make that clear up front. It tips the scales at the best part of two grand, and for that sort of money, you’d expect something special. Exactly how special is this high-end Toshiba offering? And what sort of value for money does it represent, at £1,700?
The notebook certainly looks the part, with a textured finish of metallic black that gradually turns into red tones, at the top of the unit. Its overall appearance is rather slick, with added touches such as chrome grills fitted, over the integrated stereo speakers. A little “boy racer” for some tastes, perhaps, but we rather liked them. The X770 is a hefty desktop replacement sized unit, weighing in at around 3.5Kg. As a result, it feels solid in terms of the overall build, although there is a degree of flex in the laptop lid.
Unsurprisingly, there’s quite a spec packed inside this bulky and expensive machine. Centre stage is an Intel Core i7-2670QM processor, running at 2.2GHz with turbo to 3.1GHz, backed up with an ample 8GB of 1333MHz system RAM. A Geforce GTX 560M graphics card rounds off a compelling core of specification, with enough grunt to handle contemporary games.
The 17.3 inch display is full HD (1,920 x 1,080 resolution) TruBrite panel with LED backlighting. It’s designed with high levels of brightness in mind, and indeed the panel produces suitably crisp and vivid colours. It performs nicely, even under brightly lit conditions, although as with all glossy notebook screens, there’s a bit of reflection evident. In this case, it’s kept to a relative minimum, with good all round viewing angles to boot.
The trump card of the Qosmio X770’s display is that it’s 3D ready, and the laptop comes bundled with a pair of Nvidia 3D Vision active shutter glasses. All this means that the machine is 3D capable, when it comes to gaming and movies, with a Blu-ray drive on board for playback of the latter.
The wireless 3D Vision glasses are fairly chunky and seriously overdrawn when it comes to street cred, looking something like a cross between a pair of ski-goggles and Lenny Henry’s Trevor McDoughnut glasses (remember Tiswas?). On the plus side, these easily fit over a pair of prescription glasses and are comfortable enough to wear. There are also two additional nose pieces provided, to ensure a good fit with everyone’s hooter.
The Qosmio’s 3D display is very impressive. There’s some genuine depth visible, even with the 3D slider (which adjusts the effect) on lower settings. Not only is there depth going into the screen, but also with objects popping out and appearing to float halfway between the display and the viewer’s eyes in some cases.
Taking a couple of 3D-ready games for a spin; Civilisation V’s landscapes were a good deal more majestic with 3D snow-covered mountain peaks. The interface stands out at the front of the screen, although when the cursor is moved from the map to the UI boxes, it sort of jumped awkwardly in terms of perspective, which is a little off-putting.
Jumping into Battlefield 3, the 3D effect proved yet more potent and immersive in a shooter, backed up with some great gunfire and explosion sound effects from the on board Harmon-Kardon speakers. These are pretty good with music and movies too, delivering a nice clean sound with some bass presence – far better than your average notebook can muster.
The downside to three dimensional gaming is that it slows the frame rate down, particularly in more demanding games. Using high detail levels in Battlefield 3, we achieved a nicely playable 30 to 35 fps (frames per second) with the X770. However, turning on 3D mode dropped that to a somewhat jerky 20 fps, meaning we had to switch to medium details to get a smooth frame rate. In fairness, the 3D effect really is a big visual boon in itself and EA’s shooter looks darn good in three dimensional medium settings, anyway.
Other gaming benchmarks saw the Qosmio acquit itself well, hitting a fluid average of just over 50 fps, in our run-of-the-mill tests such as Stalker and Dirt 3. Game loading times also seemed reasonably nippy, with the Qosmio benefiting from a Seagate Momentus XT 500GB solid-state hybrid drive.
Hybrid hard disk
This hybrid drive uses 4GB of NAND flash to cache commonly used files. That’s quite a small amount and it’s difficult to quantify its exact performance, but under Windows applications, it certainly seemed to load fast. Overall, the machine was responsive and there’s an additional standard 500GB hard drive on board, for extra storage. Although at this price point, we’d like to have seen an SSD on board, ideally.
The X770 also boasts a 3D HD webcam, a multi-touch capable touchpad, and a full-size keyboard with well-spaced keys, which are very pleasant to type with. Ports include 3 USB, one USB 3.0, an HDMI port, a multi-card reader, Ethernet and VGA ports. There’s also a headphone and microphone jack.
Toshiba has included the usual technological goodies generally found on its higher-end laptops, such as hard disk protection (which parks the drive head temporarily for safety) and a power saving eco mode. Speaking of power, using a balanced power plan with light Windows usage, the battery only managed to last for one hour. That underlines this machine’s nature, as a mains-happy desktop replacement unit.
This is without doubt a great gaming machine, with some considerable 3D chops, but to return to our initial question: Is it good value for money? We feel the price tag is a bit of a stretch, but should you purchase this Qosmio, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
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- Excellent display and 3D capabilities; very well featured.
- The price tag is a bit of a wallet-worrier; battery life is poor.