The Good: The Qosmio laptop ships with the latest haswell i7 processor, 3GB of Nvidia graphics, and SSD/HDD combo and can handle up to 32GB of RAM.
The Bad: The build quality is sub-par for the price you’re paying for the laptop, I also had a fault with the wifi on my model. The battery life is some what of a joke in todays age.
Overall: If you’re in the market for a 17.3′ desktop replacement, and you don’t mind keeping it plugged in all the time, this is definitely a competitor.
In todays modern age, as a pc and laptop manufacturer you either have to go hard, or go home. With such intense competition the stakes couldn’t be higher, and with the release of every new product there’s a risk of it failing completely.
Toshiba hasn’t done that, failed completely I mean.
The Toshiba X70-A-10W is the laptop that refused to change. It doesn’t go for the latest features (Displayport and thunderbolt) but instead it sticks to what it knows people look for, high end specs (which it has). The X70 is well up there in terms of specs, including the latest and greatest haswell processor, Nvidia GPU and up to 32GB of RAM (16 pre-installed). As well as all this, the X70 comes with a blue-ray disc reader, clearly an indication as to Toshiba’s intentions for the X70 to be used for media consumption.
The specific model that I had costs around €1,399 and for that price it includes the intel core i7-4700, 16GB of RAM expandable to 32GB, Nvidia GeForce 770M GPU, blue-ray burner and a 1TB Hard Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive combo. Whilst using this laptop I can’t help but feel it’s like a, I hate to say it, a half-assed job.
I mean, there’s no doubt that Toshiba worked hard at getting the right components for performance, but then when it came to design, they just sort of rushed through it to make sure it wasn’t too pricey. From the less than satisfactory feel when carrying it, to the keys that just won’t be quiet, this laptop had so much potential that was destroyed by a lack of faith in increasing the price to design it and to give it a more premium feel. Although I like this laptop, I would not buy it, personally. Simply because I bring my laptop everywhere and the X70 is more of a gaming machine or a desktop replacement in my opinion.
Design and Features:
The laptop is designed with a small diamond pattern on the outside lid as well as the area where your hands rest whilst using the track-pad, the diamond effect is soft touch, which is good, but it doesn’t give off a very premium feel. There’s a Qosmio Logo in the lower left hand corner on the lid which glows red when the laptop is in use. There’s a red trim which runs along the outer edge of the laptop, which, despite its metallic feel, doesn’t improve the overall feel of the device when you’re carrying it.
The device itself is huge, in both depth and height. It’s a thick laptop, measuring in at 44mm. You’re definitely going to know this is in your bag as well, weighing around 3.5Kg. Being so big, it has it’s drawbacks, like portability, but it also has it’s advantages, I’ll elaborate below.
Being so big allows this device to squeeze in a fully sized number-pad and also to have a large track-pad. Of course, this means you aren’t going to pull out this laptop at a friends party to show him your new castle in minecraft, but that’s one of the downsides of the laptop.
The whole device is themed with a red tint, which I like, but it could have been toned down a bit, or turned up a bit. What I mean is that I would have liked it more if it was a bit more extreme (The LEDs under the keyboard changed colour like Alienware devices) or if it was less red (The red LEDs at the bottom edge of the laptop to indicate things like battery and wifi).
If you read my first impressions post (You can find it here) you’ll know that I thought the keyboard was “Amazing”, but you’ll have to keep in mind that those were my initial impressions, and these updated opinions are still my own, but after I’ve spent enough time with the device to decide how I feel about the matter.
So, the keyboard. It’s a good keyboard, by no stretch of the imagination is this a bad keyboard, but it isn’t the best out there, and here’s why. First of all, the keyboard makes a lot of noise, not just when you press it in, but when your finger hits the key it makes a sort of clacky noise, which I don’t like. Second of all, The keyboard is made of some form of plastic that has been made specifically to attract fingerprints. I mean, of course, it’s a keyboard, there are going to be fingerprints, but not to this extreme, I really feel like Toshiba has taken a page out of the Samsung book here, going with a cheap plastic rather than a more premium one.
On the bright side, the keys are separated individually and the keyboard comes with a fully sized number-pad, thanks to the devices size. The red LEDs are still a nice feature to have, and you can turn them off, but I prefer to keep them on. As well as this, the function keys are reversed, so you don’t have to hold the FN key to turn up brightness or lower volume, I find this is a really nice touch by Toshiba and honestly it’s one of my favourite features on the laptop.
The touch-pad is very smooth and responsive to my touches, it consists of a non-separate button configuration, which can be tricky to get used to at first, but I got used to it after a while. The touchpad is large enough for me to manoeuvre my hand to pinch to zoom and scroll, but small enough and well placed so that I never accidentally touch it. While the laptop lacks a touchscreen, there are build in swiping gestures to the touch-pad, such as swiping left to open your last app and swiping right to open the options menu. If you’re a gamer, I assume you’ll have a mouse connected and so won’t have to worry about using the touch-pad at all.
The device ships with a 17.3 inch display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The screen is not a touch screen, which is a move by Toshiba that I’d question considering that it ships with windows 8, an OS designed for touch. Although, I haven’t seen any other gaming laptops with a touchscreen yet, so maybe Toshiba made the smart choice to leave out touch as the main users would be gamers. Despite this, HD movies and YouTube videos looked absolutely fantastic on the display, even if I sit at angles to the display, I’ll get an almost perfect view, but if I move more than a few inches above the display the colours start to change. I also had a slight issue with glare on the display, as I usually sit with a window behind me, I did find myself having to move so that I could see the text on the screen.
The Harman/Kardon speakers, which I could only describe as “WOW” in my initial impressions, are really good. The only thing that I found they were lacking was bass. There was almost no distortion in the tests that I ran, and that was at full volume, which is enough to fill a small room whilst listening to music. I don’t know if I would describe them as “WOW”, but they certainly are exceptional speakers, props to Toshiba here.
Connections, Performance and battery:
The X70 ships with plenty of connections for everyone. With dual video outputs (both HDMI and VGA), 4 USB 3.0 ports, 2 of which have build in sleep-and-charge, and both a microphone and a headphone port for those of you who require both. The X70 also has a blue-ray recordable drive, something that may be useful to the editors among you.
One feature that I found interesting was the sleep-and-charge, it meant that while the laptop was in sleep, I could still charge my phone, which came in pretty useful during my usage.
To battery life now, where things don’t look so good, at all. My experience was, well, quite frankly, disappointing.
I expected to be able to get the 3.5 hours that I was supposed to get, but I guess I’m just a heavy user. I got, at most, 1 hour and 30 minutes out of my battery with constant usage, yeah. I’m not sure what ate up the battery so much considering that I wasn’t doing anything intensive (Writing this article), but I have my suspicions that the keyboard had something to do with it.
Luckily, it’s not all bad with this laptop. The X70 may not have a premium feel or good battery life, but what it does have, is performance. The X70 took everything I threw at it, and it faired better than I expected it to. For example, I edit videos, either as a hobby or work related, and usually I have to wait about 1 – 2 hours for it to render, so I can go and do something else while I wait, but the X70 refused to let me go, and finished the same job in around 15 – 30 minutes.
As well as this, I was getting pretty good frame rates in games, I benchmarked a few and here are the results:
Just cause 2 – 60.19 fps.
HAWX 2 – 59 fps.
Benchmarks aside, gameplay was almost perfectly smooth, with minimal lag here and there with the highest settings enabled.
Overall, this is a good laptop, to be used as a desktop replacement or a gaming device. I wouldn’t recommend it to students looking for a powerful, light laptop, as this machine is way too heavy and thick. Toshiba are getting better with their laptops, but they still have a few kinks that should be fixed.
Thanks to Toshiba and the Keogh Partnership for providing the laptop for me to review, I look forward to see what Toshiba looks to do next.