When it comes to notebooks specifically for the living room, there are very few companies that come close to the various offerings from Toshiba in the last two years. The initial Qosmio, released in 2004, tried to be more than a simple laptop but tried too hard to balance consumer and corporate. There is no mistaking this year's take on the Qosmio, as the G20 is all about making a statement in your living room.
If white was so 2004, black is the new “now” colour, and nothing quite defines that better than the black lacquer finish of the G20. True, you'll find yourself wiping fingerprints off it every day or so but it's a price worth paying.
Toshiba realised quite early on with the Qosmio that by offering three different specifications, you can please all the people, all of the time. With an entry-level model weighing in at £1799 (inc. VAT) you'll still need to seriously consider a second mortgage but we think it's worth it.
We looked at the top-of-the-range model, which weighs in at £2399 (inc. VAT) but it's powered by an Intel 2.13GHz Pentium M 770 processor, so takes full advantage of the latest chipset.
Supported by 1GB of DDRII memory and shipped with two amazing 120GB hard drives, you won't need to worry about performance or storage space (or having a full-sized PC, it would seem). As the hard drives are built around a RAID controller, you won't need to worry about fatal crashes either, as your main information will be backed up on the second drive for safe keeping.
You'll need that much storage space to take full advantage of the built-in TV tuner. It isn't digital, so doesn't support the Freeview channels, but we are still some six-months away from seeing such adapters in notebooks anyway.
One of the saving graces of the Qosmio line has been the use of high-contrast screens. You wouldn't see a dull TV screen, so why should you watch TV on a notebook with an inferior panel? This is the question, and as a result the 17-inch panel not only comes with a LiteBrite layer for greater contrast and sharp images, but with a 500 NIT brightness rating, it's twice as bright as almost any other notebook on the market. The result is stunning images under any lighting conditions.
If you want to ignore the computer aspect of the G20 and just watch TV, it'll switch on in eight seconds, making it a fast and responsive media centre. Adding to the multimedia slant of the G20 is the use of an nVidia GeForce Go 6600 graphics chip. A PCI-Express GPU, the 6600 is currently the second most powerful mobile graphics chip from nVidia, and uses up to 128MB of video memory. As a result, the G20 can be used to play the latest games at the push of a button.
Where most laptops struggle to deliver audio of any substance, the G20 packs a pair of Harmon Kardon speakers below the screen for a fuller sound.
If you really want to make a statement in the living room, the Toshiba Qosmio G20 is the one you want to be making it with. When you’re not using it as the hub of your entertainment system, you can even do some extra work on it - after all, you’ll need to in order to afford to pay it off.