Toshiba Qosmio X300

My first impressions of the Qosmio X300 laptop all related to size. It’s big, and it’s heavy. Even the AC adapter is hefty. This is a laptop designed for gamers though, and that’s where Toshiba has focused its attention.

The X300 weighs 9.1 lbs and measures 412 x 306 x 43.2/62.5mm, so its clearly not designed for road warriors (Add just under two pounds for the AC adapter). For the gamers looking to bring their machine to a friend’s house though, it’s portable enough, and the 17.1” WXGA+ LCD display with TruBrite certainly provides a nice gaming experience, although I found it holds smudges easily.

The laptop is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo P7450 2.13GHz processor, and runs the 64-bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate. My test system came with 4GB of RAM, but 2GB is the entry-level configuration and it can be expanded to a maximum of 8GB. A 320GB SATA hard drive is standard, as is the NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTX graphics controller with 1GB of dedicated VRAM. It was good enough for my test model to achieve a Windows Media Experience score of 5.0, weighed-down by the processor score.

A DVD Super-Multi Double Layer Drive is located in the front of the device, along with an on/off switch for the WiFi. The right side features two USB ports, headphone and mic ports and a volume dial, and hidden under a tricky to remove tab is a fax modem jack and a 5-in-1 Bridge Media Adaptor/card reader. On the left side are two more USB ports, one of which doubles as eSATA, and an express card slot. All four USB ports allow charging while the laptop is in sleep mode. And on the back, the Qosmio has a LAN port, VGA, HDMI and a number of other ports.

Specs aside, how does it look? Very red. Most of the body is red, with offsetting black for the keyboard. I didn’t care for the lid design, which features faux flames and Qosmio written in silver, but the inside is quite attractive. The keyboard is a glossy black that offers a texture I haven’t seen on other laptops, and that I enjoyed, and the red on the inside is a darker, more attractive shade of red than the lid. The integrated, five-way (including subwoofer) Harman/Kardon speakers, in addition to offering excellent sound quality, also light up, reminding one of car headlights.

The size of the X300 allows it to feature a full-sized keyboard, including a numeric keypad. The mouse trackpad looks off centre at first, but that’s because it’s aligned with the main QWERTY keyboard (minus number pad). In the middle of the mouse buttons is a fingerprint scanner for added security, and above the keyboard is a ribbon-strip of buttons for multimedia and other functions. Above the display is an integrated Web cam.

I’m not a hard core gamer, but I was pleased with the performance the X300 offered. I installed a copy of the latest release of my all-time favourite game, Civilization, and the game-play was a breeze, taking no time at all to launch the program and offering smooth performance throughout.

I wasn’t impressed with the battery performance, particularly with the WiFi active, but then this is a big notebook to power. I suspect, though, that most users will be sticking near an electrical outlet, so battery life is probably a minor issue.

With prices ranging from $1,849 to $2,199, depending on configuration, the X300 is certainly on the high-end of the range today for consumer notebooks, but it does offer a lot of bang for that buck. Obviously its specs can’t compare to a dedicated gaming desktop, but if you’re a gamer looking for a balance of portability and performance, the X300 is a good option.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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