Friday, December 30, 2005

Toshiba Qosmio G25-AV513 notebook review

The third-generation Toshiba Qosmio delivers the most complete multimedia experience of any laptop we've seen. Built on a state-of-the-art set of components and accommodating virtually every multimedia feature under the sun, the Qosmio G25-AV513, the highest-end model in the Qosmio line, offers a bright 17-inch, wide-screen display, a double-layer DVD drive, and a TV tuner, as well as a full complement of ports and connections, a rocking set of stereo speakers, and a terrific set of multimedia controls. At $2,999, this notebook is not for the casual user. You can certainly get a handful of these features for less in other entertainment-themed notebooks, such as the HP Pavilion dv4000. Still, we think the Qosmio G25-AV513 is well worth the money if you're looking for a premier, all-in-one, digital-entertainment system that's portable enough to move from room to room. With the lid closed, the Toshiba Qosmio G25-AV513 looks quite similar to the original Qosmio E15-AV101--it's silver colored, has lots of ports and lights around the edges.

The keyboard has large, firm keys, though the spacebar and the backspace keys are a bit smaller than those on the Sony VAIO VGN-A690; also, there is no separate number pad, as found on the HP Pavilion zd8000 and the Fujitsu LifeBook N6000. Above the keyboard resides a row of feather-touch system-control buttons that include a full complement of A/V controls: two keys that send you directly to Media Center's TV and DVD players, two keys to adjust the screen's brightness, and two more to send or receive a video signal. All glow a pleasing blue when lit. The Qosmio G25-AV513's touch pad and mouse buttons are far too small for our taste, and there's no way to turn the touch pad off when you're using an external mouse--an extremely useful feature found on the Pavilion zd8000 and one that we'd like to see on every desktop-replacement laptop.

This notebook has one of the brightest wide-aspect 17-inch displays we've seen on a laptop--on a par with the superbright Fujitsu LifeBook N6000, slightly brighter than the Sony VAIO VGN-A690, and exponentially brighter than the Pavilion zd8000. The Qosmio G25-AV513's 1,440x900 native resolution (also found on the Apple 17-inch PowerBook), affords a large amount of screen real estate without forcing text to a painfully tiny size.

The system also held its own in our gaming tests, beating all comers in our Unreal Tournament 2004 benchmarks and holding its own in our Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 tests. Though it lasted for only a scant 109 minutes in our battery-drain test, the Qosmio G25-AV513 turned in a 235 in our MobileMark 2002 test, even besting our top gaming machine: the Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2. The moral of the story: the Qosmio G25 delivers enough power for virtually any task--from gaming to office productivity--but don't leave it unplugged for long.

Windows XP Professional; 2GHz Intel Pentium M 760; 1GB PC 3200 DDR2 SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 6600 128MB, 120 GB HardDrive Serial ATA, 10x (CD) / 4x (DVD±RW) / 5x (DVD-RAM), TV tuner, Stereo speakers, Bluetooth antenna, Wireless LAN antenna, weight 9.5 lbs, Display- 17" TFT active matrix (Trubrite).

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