Toshiba is best known for its rather staid and business approach to notebooks but on occasion it throws in a curve ball both in terms of design and performance. The Toshiba Qosmio X300-11s is a great example of that curve ball.
This is a gaming notebook that also wants to be taken seriously as a home entertainment system. The design is all about making an impact, whether it's the red and orange flames on the lid, the red trim around the edges of the high-gloss black of the main body, this isn't a subtle notebook.
Weighing 4.1kg, this is a machine not intended for carrying around. The build quality is reasonable but the plastic used does tend to flex in places, such as around the optical drive bay. While not designed for the mobile user, being able to use it around the house is a nice option, but sadly this machine lasts less than 2 hours, so won't get you through an average movie.
It is built around a 17-inch Super-TFT panel that has a native resolution of 1440 x 900 pixels, so images look sharp and the colour balance is fantastic. Sadly, Toshiba hasn't moved with the times, so the panel is 10:6 instead of opting for native 16:9, which is becoming all the rage. In reality, this won't be a problem as you won't find an HD optical drive onboard as Toshiba still hasn't signed up to use Blu-ray drives yet.
It's gaming prowess is based around the use of the Nvidia GeForce 9700M GTX, which is a serious high-end card that is more than capable of handling the latest games with ease.
The rest of the specification is stop-notch too, as it's been loaded with an Intel Core 2 Duo P8600, which runs at 2.4GHz and is backed by 4GB of memory. We found performance was quick and it handled our tests with relative ease. Storage is provided by a 320GB hard drive and overall we were satisfied with what was on offer for the asking price.
The keyboard is the same high-gloss as the body, so it can be difficult to see which keys you are actually striking, especially the secondary keys around the edges. However, the keyboard is near full size and we found the keys responded well, though occasionally you'll need to press hard for them to register.
The extras are competent, as you'll find the standard array of ports on offer and there is also an HDMI port for connecting to digital devices. 802.11n wireless LAN and Gigabit Ethernet is fitted as standard. There is even five-speaker support provided by Harman Kardon speakers that we found worked really well, especially for games.
The Toshiba Qosmio X300-11s manages to bring the notion of media centre and gaming machine together in a striking notebook design. It's not without its flaws but there is no denying the power and performance of this machine.