Toshiba Qosmio X870 laptop priced steeply but packs a punch

The Toshiba Qosmio X870-11Q is a 17.3in high-spec desktop replacementlaptop, boasting a third-generation Intel Ivy Bridge processor, dedicated nVidia graphics and active-shutter 3D display technology.

This giant of a laptop has a matt-black textured finish with embosseddiamond shapes for grip. This all looks okay — until you spot thegarish shiny-red side trim with the tinsel effect of a Christmas treebauble.

To give a sense of just how chunky is this monster laptop, it measures44mm thick and weighs over 3.4kg.

A large backlit keyboard has a separate numberpad, joined by a largeoff-centre trackpad and what Toshiba calls 2×2 Harman Kardon speakers– that is, two drivers on each side.

We found using the Scrabble-style keys easy thanks to their size andnice spacing.

In contrast, we found the trackpad to be annoying. It veered betweenbeing unresponsive and erratic. Two-finger scrolling was smoother andyou can use pinch-to-zoom gestures.

The Toshiba Qosmio X870-11Q has animpressive line-up of hardwarestarting with that Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3610QM clocked at 2.3GHz(3.3GHz with Turbo Boost).

It has a whopping 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM and two storage drives — a128GB SanDisk SSD and 1TB notebook hard disk. Windows Home Premium64-bit is pre-installed.

The overwhelming £1699 price tag gets you top-spec hardware but buildquality simply doesn’t match. The Toshiba Qosmio X870-11Q’s shell isall plastic and somewhat graceless. It was fingerprinted all too easilyfrom touching it and we found the screen to be very flimsy while itstrim felt weak.

Thanks to the goodcombination of Intel, nVidia and SSD components, theToshiba Qosmio X870-11Q scored mostly very well in our lab performancetests.

It managed 170 points in our WorldBench 6 real-world benchmark,narrowly beating the Alienware M14x by two points to achieve ourhighest ever score in a notebook computer.

This score included an estimate for the Roxio sub-test which failed torun on this machine; if it had completed it’s possible the score couldeven by slightly higher.

As you’d expect from a high-end machine with discrete GPU it also faredwell in our graphics tests.

The Toshiba Qosmio X870-11Q has an nVidia GeForce GTX 670M with a huge3GB complement of GDDR5 memory. In our straightforward FEAR test(1024×768, Maximum detail settings) the X870 coasted to a cool 205fps.

Moving on to the more challenging Crysis, we recorded framerates of80fps (DirectX 9, High, 1024×768) and 27fps at (DirectX 10, Very High,1680×1050).

Playing Crysis on the Toshiba Qosmio X870 at native screen resolutionand Medium settings resulted in an average framerate of 76fps.

A headline feature of the X870 is its 17.3in full-HD (1920 x 1080)glossy screen with active 3D technology. We found the 3D quality to bevery good although the supplied nVidia 3D glasses are chunky and stilllook like welding goggles.

Flickering artefacts has been one issue with such eyewear in the pastbut here we found the glasses only flickered when turned on or off.

Other hardware includes a Blu-ray rewritable optical drive, four USB3.0 ports, HDMI and a 3D webcam. We’re not sure of the purpose of the3D webcam. Skype’s press office has confirmed that the Skype servicedoes not include web-conferencing with 3D video.

In addition the Toshiba Qosmio X870-11Q has a VGA port, gigabitethernet, SD card reader, 3.5mm line-in and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.

Toshiba touts a battery life of only two hours from the Toshiba QosmioX870-11Q’s modest 47Wh battery. This pack is easily removable via twocatches.

In our tests we managed marginally better than Toshiba’s short-runresult, logging 2 hours and 14 minutes in the MobileMark 2007Productivity test (134 mins).

In the best traditions of the old desktop-replacement laptop, this is acomputer that will spend more time running from its hefty 180W powerbrick.

Our verdict
The Toshiba Qosmio X870 packs an impressive set of high-end componentsleading to superb applications and graphics performance. Highlights arethe quad-core Ivy Bridge processor, highly capable nVidia graphicsprocessor and active 3D technology. Where this laptop falls flatter isits steep price tag, ugly design and toy-like plasticky build quality.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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