Toshiba has often set the standard when it comes to multimedia laptops with its Qosmio brand, but it also has other machines that fit the bill.

Its Satellite X200-24V (£1399 inc. VAT) features a 17- inch display that’s every bit as impressive as the other machines here, with excellent colour reproduction that helps images appear larger than life.

It’s great for watching movies or editing photographs on, although it’s not quite as crisp as the panels found on the some of the competition.

Impressive audio

It’s a suitable machine for family use, and its mid-range nVidia graphics card offers enough performance to run applications and games.

You may have to turn down detail settings in the latest titles, but we found most games ran with ease.

Those wanting to watch movies will benefit from the impressive audio in the form of speakers by Harman Kardon, and a row of multimedia buttons above the keyboard lets you control your CDs and DVDs at the touch of a button.

Solid Toshiba build

The X200 takes design cues from other Satellite laptops, with curved edges, silver palm rests and glossy styling. The lid has a two-tone red and black finish, giving it a distinctive appearance.

The keyboard is large and comfortable to type on. It’s not particularly sturdy, however, flexing under pressure.

The rest of the machine is well built with robust plastics used, and the thick screen surround affords plenty of protection for the display.

Not the most portable

Weighing in at 4.1kg, the Toshiba is one of the bulkier machines in its class, making no concessions to mobility.

It measures 61mm at its deepest, so it’s unlikely to be moved much from your desk.

The big chassis offers plenty of space for ventilation, however, and remained cool to the touch at all times.

Outstanding performance

This machine makes an excellent replacement for your desktop PC. It couldn’t match its quad-core rival in our benchmarks, but it proved more than capable in everyday use.

Applications launched in a minimal amount of time, thanks to a high-end Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4096MB of system memory, and we found the system ran smoothly.

Features include a biometric fingerprint scanner, making it possible for different family members to log in and out of their accounts at the swipe of a finger, without the need for passwords.

Networking capabilities are also comprehensive, with an 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi card providing speedy connections, and Bluetooth for transferring files wirelessly.

A reliable laptop

It doesn’t offer the best performance, but the big Toshiba remains a reliable choice for family use.

The large size restricts portability, but it’s fast, comfortable and well equipped.