Toshiba Qosmio E10

Toshiba isn't afraid to take a few chances with its notebook range. All you have to do is look back at last year's P20 - the first mobile Media Center in the UK. The P20 was a hulking silver and red machine designed to replace your living room's TV and hi-fi with the addition of added computing functionality. The Qosmio, which means "My Personal Universe" isn't so much of a replacement but a whole new approach. What it brings is a larger degree of portability and more in the way of functionality.

Toshiba is keen to be seen as leading convergence in the notebook market by designing the Qosmio E10 as a 4-in-1 system by incorporating TV, audio, DVD and PC technology into one compact box. Although coming pre-installed with Windows XP Media Center Edition, one of the key selling points of the Qosmio E10 is the use of a small program that boots the TV up in less than eight seconds at the press of a button.

An integrated TV tuner in a notebook isn't exactly something new but the instant-on function certainly is. Furthermore, it helped convince us that the Qosmio wasn't just another notebook with a gimmick, as this function actually works in the same way as a normal TV - no longer do you have to wait around while Windows boots-up before you can watch your favourite programmes.

What makes the TV and DVD playback really stand out on the Qosmio is the quality of the screen. Using an ultra-bright, Clear Super View (CSV) LCD display panel, the Qosmio has the brightest screen currently available on the market. Toshiba informed us that it is twice as bright as any screen currently available and achieves this by the use of two lamps fitted behind the screen, one on either side. The use of an anti-glare screen also means that it can be viewing at a 90-degree angle with ease.

Inevitably, such a level of brightness comes at a price, and in the case of the Qosmio, which comes in the form of reduced battery life. With a battery life in the region of 135 minutes from a single charge, the Qosmio will end up spending most of its life connected to mains power. Additionally, due to these power considerations, the brightness is cut down by roughly 35 percent when powered by battery.

Built around an Intel 1.7GHz Pentium M processor, with 512MB DDR RAM and an ample 80GB hard drive providing plenty of storage space, the Qosmio E10 has plenty to recommend it. In use we found that the system was rather sluggish and many applications took a long time to load. If it weren't for the extra functionality of this notebook, we would be disappointed.

Verdict

It's not the lightest of notebooks on the market but its screen is certainly the brightest. When it comes to using the Qosmio, it proved to be a mixed bag. Its multimedia functions are impressive and make it ideal as a second TV in the bedroom, but as a notebook it proved to be rather under whelming. That said, those looking to combine everything in one compact box will be hard pushed to find anything on the market as appealing as the Qosmio.