For the past couple of years, Toshiba’s Qosmio was the machine of choice if you needed a media centre laptop. It has recently faced stiff competition from its rivals, but with a powerful specification, excellent comfort and great multimedia credentials, the Qosmio G40-108 (£1999 inc. VAT) looks as good a choice as ever.
It offers a 17-inch display, with crisp and smooth images. The glossy Super-TFT coating helps to produce accurate colours, which is ideal when watching movies or editing photographs. Reflections and fingerprints were apparent when the screen was in direct sunlight, but was fine at all other times.
3D performance was less impressive. We were still able to play games, but found ourselves turning down detail settings occasionally in newer titles in order to get them to run smoothly.
Movies can be watched in high-definition, thanks to the built-in HD DVD drive. The Harman Kardon speakers also provide impressive sound quality, offering a better movie experience than its rivals. The G40 is also capable of writing to blank HD DVD discs, allowing you to store up to 15GB of TV programmes, movies or files on a single-layer disc. Touch-sensitive hotkeys sit above the keyboard, allowing you to control movie and music settings. There’s a large volume dial to the left of the keyboard, along with a dial for navigation to the right.
The keyboard itself is brilliant, and is one of the most comfortable we’ve seen so far. The large keys offer just the right amount of travel, and are firmly attached and responsive. The touchpad is large, and a fingerprint scanner in the centre sits between the mouse buttons.
The chassis is too bulky to offer any real mobility, weighing in at an unwieldy 4.6kg, but the thick chassis offers plenty of space for cooling. As such, this is the best machine if you’re planning on using it for longer periods, the palms rests and chassis remaining cool to the touch.
All the features you’re likely to need are included, from an integrated webcam above the screen to Bluetooth. Wireless networking is as comprehensive as it gets, with a cutting-edge 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter.
It’s far from cheap, and doesn’t offer anything in the way of portability, but the Qosmio remains one of the best media centre laptops available. It’s possibly the most comfortable laptop we’ve seen, the screen is as good as its rivals, and it’s packed with features.