With its heavyweight components (Core i7 and GTX 770M) and 17-inch screen, the Toshiba Qosmio X70 is clearly a laptop designed for gamers and lovers of all things multimedia. But the competition is fierce; it has to contend with the likes of the Asus ROG G750 and Alienware 17, which have sold well among the gaming community. Can it compete?
The Qosmio X70 is a lead brick of a laptop that weighs 3.6 kg. Not something you'll be carrying on a leisurely hike. More like that pain-in-the-neck at the bottom of your backpack you wish wasn't so heavy. Toshiba stayed faithful to the textured material it uses on most of its laptops; it's robust, elegant and doesn't retain smudges. The keyboard and touchpad panels are made of brushed aluminium.
The chiclet keyboard has red backlighting that the non-garish can thankfully turn off. The spacious 17-inch form factor gave Toshiba enough wiggle room to include a numeric keypad, a huge plus for those who can't live without them. The keystroke is responsive, with very little resistance.
The palm rest is comfortable for any size hands and the respectably sized 10.5 x 8 cm multipoint touchpad provides comfortable navigation and support for scrolling, zooming and the Windows 8 touch gestures. The clickpad buttons are responsive and discreet.
The ports are fairly multitudinous with four USB 3.0 ports, a VGA out, an HDMI out, a headphone jack, a microphone jack, a Gigabit Ethernet port and an SD/MMC card reader. For wireless connectivity it has Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth 4.0, and there's a 2 Mpx webcam and a Blu-ray player.
Heat readings with the components under stress (°C)
Images taken using a Fluke Ti25 thermal imaging camera
The Qosmio X70 manages its heat well, with the right-hand side (where the processor and air vent are located) never exceeding 39°C. The bottom of the chassis can go up to 48°C, but, again, only around the air vent.
The fan becomes audible (44 dB(A), on average) any time you run a game, and it could get annoying for anyone sitting nearby.
This is easily this computer's low point. It's a 17.3" TFT display with Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) and LED backlighting. The high res is cool, but the ultra-glossy surface causes reflections and glare anytime you're in a well-lit room or have a light source behind you. That's made up for, to a certain extent, by the pretty good brightness (330 cd/m²), but that can only go so far. The average contrast ratio is 682:1, which frankly isn't very impressive; it's nowhere near the Asus G750's 1060:1.
Grey colour temperature
There's a major problem here for a gaming/multimedia-oriented laptop: the colours are completely out of whack. The screen has a Delta E of 10! When the Delta E is 3 or below, the colours are considered faithful, and 4 or 5 is close to accurate, so 10 means that they're just incredibly exaggerated. The colour temperature is extremely cold (12,541 K), creating heavy blue overtones on any image you watch. Not ideal for games and movies!
Luckily, the sound quality is much better. With all the space on this large laptop, Toshiba was able to give it nice speakers with loud volume. The DTS software helps the overall sound, as long as you don't futz with the settings.
The Qosmio X20 is that rare breed of laptop to have separate audio in and audio out jacks. In both cases the signal is clean, the harmonic distortion isn't obtrusive and the stereo image is satisfactory, with good volume on the headphone output.
Each model of the Qosmio X70 has an Intel Core i7-4700MQ Haswell quad-core processor, which provides outstanding power, a boon for a gaming laptop. It's just a hair slower than the Core i7-4700HQ found in the Asus G750.
In detail: we exported a batch of photos on the X70 and it took 198 seconds, whereas it took the G750 185 seconds to export the same photos. Both computers pretty much equalled out with h264 encoding, at 170 seconds for the X70 and 174 seconds for the G750. But when it came to exporting a video project, it was like day and night: the X70 took 188 seconds and the G750 took just 63 seconds. MP3 encoding was practically identical (74 seconds on the X70, 72 seconds on the G750) and the X70 was slower at compressing files at 167 seconds compared to 139 seconds on the G750.
But all in all, the Core i7 makes for excellent processing power and can handle any task you throw at it.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 770M (3DMark06 score: 22093) is a great graphics card that can run most any game perfectly in the screen's native 1920 x 1080 resolution. Of course, with the most demanding games, like Crysis 3 or Far Cry 3, you'll have to be lenient and lower the detail settings a bit to keep the gameplay fluid, but otherwise it's all good.
MOBILITY / BATTERY LIFE
It's hard to get a laptop with specs as beefy as these to have long battery life, but even for this type of computer the Qosmio X70 isn't all that impressive. It lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes (in airplane mode with headphones plugged in and the screen brightness at 100 cd/m²), 45 minutes less than the Asus G750.
At 3.6 kg, you're going to be staying home with this device, perhaps moving it from one room to another, or from your house to a friend's, but you won't want to carry it on your daily rounds around town.