Toshiba Qosmio G50-127 notebook review

Toshiba’s Qosmio range has long been at the forefront when it comes to high-end multimedia laptops, but has recently lapsed with the death of HD DVD and widespread adoption of Sony’s Blu-ray technology.

While Toshiba has yet to introduce a model featuring Blu-ray, the company is soldiering on with the Qosmio G50 range, a laptop capable of matching its rivals spec for spec as long as you can ignore the omission of an HD optical drive.

The G50-127 is a mid-range offering, with enough features to please nearly every type of user. With an 18.4-inch screen, this is definitely a desktop replacement system. Even though the battery life of over 4 hours offers a certain amount of mobility, the weight of around 5kg is simply too heavy to comfortably take it further than the next room, especially with the huge power brick in tow.

Although more expensive models feature a Full HD resolution, the display on our review sample offers 1680 x 945 pixels. It could definitely be sharper, but there’s still more than enough space for working with multiple windows, and the 16:9 aspect ratio is ideally suited to movies. Colour reproduction is excellent, and it’s also a bright panel, although it’s highly reflective when sitting near windows and direct sunlight.

The large chassis offers loads of space for the interface, and Toshiba has fitted an excellent keyboard. With large keys that feature heavily tapered edges, helping you to distinguish between the keys when touch typing, it’s easy to type at speed. The keys are also well attached, moving quietly and adding a sense of quality.

The touchpad is large and responsive, and Toshiba has paid a lot of attention on getting the interface on this machine just so. This means you’ll find a bank of media controls below the screen, making it easy to control your films and music, and there’s also a large volume dial built into the chassis.

The rear of the machine offers VGA and HDMI ports, for both analogue and digital external displays and projectors. It also features audio output and input sockets. To the right of these, you’ll find an eSATA/USB combo port and a Gigabit Ethernet socket. An input for a TV antenna sits on the very corner of the chassis, with a hybrid digital/analogue tuner letting you get the most out of that large screen.

Several of the ports on the left-hand side of the chassis are hidden behind a plastic cover, with an ExpressCard port, flash memory card reader, USB and a 1394 FireWire port all in place. The right-hand side offers a further two USB ports and a Kensington lock attachment, with the tri-format dual-layer DVD rewriter positioned on the corner of the machine. The 320GB hard drive offers a reasonable amount of storage space, but is bettered by many rivals – even at cheaper prices.

When it comes to performance, the Qosmio’s nVidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics card is beginning to look a little outdated. It’s still capable of playing games, but you’ll need to turn down detail settings in the latest titles, and in a machine of this size and price that’s a little disappointing.

Office performance proves a lot better, with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 processor and 4096MB of DDR2 memory resulting in one of the quickest machines we’ve tested. Multiple applications cause no trouble at all, and it also boots quicker than most. If you’re intending on replacing your desktop PC, this is one machine where you’re unlikely to notice a difference in speed.

Verdict

The Qosmio G50-127 is a good machine, but it doesn’t take the Qosmio line any further and no longer sets the pace when it comes to technology. That said, it’s still a lot of machine for the money, and if you want a laptop to replace your desktop PC then few offer better multi-tasking capabilities or comfort.