When it comes to desktop replacement machines, few are as accomplished as Toshiba's Qosmio range. The Qosmio G30-204 (£2200 inc. VAT) is a big laptop with cutting-edge components, a spacious screen and large and comfortable controls.

The 17-inch display is as good as any other in the group, offering excellent colour reproduction. It features a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels (WUXGA) - so images appear sharper and there's more space onscreen for your photographs, windows and documents. It's also ideal for watching movies and playing games in high-definition.

To this end, there's a HD DVD optical drive included. The clarity of the HD DVD movies we watched was excellent. To get the most out of high definition content, a larger screen is needed, and there is an HDMI port enabling digital connections to external displays.

Graphics come courtesy of Nvidia's GeForce Go 7600 - a mid-range graphics card. We had no trouble at all playing the latest games or running presentations.

Multimedia use is enhanced by an integrated digital TV tuner and a pair of decent-sounding Harman Kardon speakers. A range of hotkeys make it easy to skip scenes, pause and even adjust brightness.

The keys are large and well-spaced, and tapered edges make it easier to avoid typing mistakes. With a good amount of travel, the keys are also firmly attached and move near-silently, giving this machine a quality feel. This extends to the palm rest, which is finished in black brushed aluminium, and remains cool to the touch, even after prolonged periods of use.

Multimedia buttons

Build quality is excellent, and with a thick, strong screen surround, this machine is built to last. A downside of this is extra bulk. It's huge in comparison with the svelte HP and, at 56mm, the Toshiba is quite thick. At 4.8kg, it's also a heavy machine, and you won't want to carry it further than the next room.

This machine proved surprisingly quick on test. With a high-end Intel processor - the 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo T7400 - applications opened rapidly and smoothly. The Qosmio comes with two hard drives, offering a total 400GB of storage - more than we've seen before in a laptop. The disks are set up in a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) configuration, which allows you to back up your files to the second drive.

The Toshiba is a good choice, but with a thick chassis and considerable weight, it's starting to look a little like a laptop from a bygone era.