capsule review

Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 Review: Is 'Entry-Level Desktop Replacement' an Oxymoron?

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Toshiba Qosmio X775-Q7170 Notebook

    PCWorld Rating

    The Qosmio may look like a gaming rig, but it fails to deliver on performance and has an unimpressive screen.

The Qosmio X775-Q7170 is the entry-level model of the Qosmio X770 series of desktop replacement laptops. The Q7170 sports the same snazzy design as other laptops in the series: a 17.3-inch widescreen, a red-backlit keyboard, and a fade-to-red color scheme. However, it comes packed with some less-impressive hardware components and no 3D display.

Our review model, priced at $1150 (as of March 23, 2012), has an Intel Core i5-2450M processor, 6GB of DDR3 memory, a 640GB hard-disk drive spinning at 7200 rpm, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M graphics card. Since the graphics card doesn't support 3D Vision, Toshiba offers a tray-loading DVD-SuperMulti drive in lieu of a Blu-ray disc player. The X775-Q7170 has built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth 3.0, and it runs 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium.

The X775-Q7170 earned a score of 82 on our new WorldBench 7 benchmark tests, which means that it was approximately 18 percent slower than our baseline configuration, which has an i5-2500K processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB hard drive, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card. This score isn't stellar for a desktop replacement laptop, but it's not bad for the price.

The Qosmio looks like its brothers in the X770 family, which is a good thing if you favor the chunky, plastic, super-polished gaming rig look. The chassis is almost entirely dressed in striated gray plastic, except for the very bottom of the lid (when the computer is open), and the very top of the keyboard deck, where the gray gives way to shiny metallic red. My colleague Jon L. Jacobi likens the Qosmio's casing to a tricked-out street racing car, and that's exactly what it looks like: shiny, fast, and a little tacky.

Toshiba also slaps the Qosmio logo on the lid of the machine in red mirrored plastic, which only serves to make the entire thing look cheaper and more garish.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm not a fan of the Qosmio's overall look. But if you like gaming rigs with lots of shine and pretty lights, this may be the machine for you. The X775-Q7170 has a large keyboard with red backlights.

Turning the keyboard light on doesn't just light up the keyboard; it also lights up a strip across the top of the touchpad and six of the seven touch buttons located above the keyboard. I admit that the red lights look pretty cool when the entire machine lights up.

Aside from the full-size keyboard with ten-key number pad, the Qosmio's keyboard deck contains a large touchpad (with two discrete buttons and an on/off switch), and seven touch buttons (Eco Mode toggle, Wi-Fi toggle, Keyboard Light toggle, Play/Pause, Mute, Volume Down, and Volume Up). On either side of the touch buttons are two Harman/Kardon stereo speakers (Toshiba also supplies a bottom-mounted woofer for extra audio kick).

The keyboard's Chiclet-style keys are smallish, but they provide good feedback and are less stiff than smaller keys tend to be. The touchpad has a slightly rough texture, which seemed to trip up the smoothness and precision of my typing. The touchpad's large buttons are composed of shiny plastic and feel a little flimsy, as though they might break within a year. Since this is a desktop replacement, I suggest using an external mouse.

The Qosmio X775-Q7170 offers a generous selection of ports, considering that a large battery, fan, and optical drive occupy most of the back end. You get four USB ports (three USB 2.0, and one USB 3.0 with Sleep and Charge), VGA- and HDMI-out, gigabit ethernet, headphone and microphone jacks, and a lock slot. You'll find a memory card reader on the front of the machine.

This desktop replacement sports a glossy, 17.3-inch LED-backlit display with a native resolution of 1600 by 900. The screen generally looks good, with bright colors, good contrast, and decent off-axis viewing angles, but it falls short of full HD, and that fact is noticeable on such a large display. You can distinguish individual pixels, which makes content--including images, video, and text--look slightly fuzzy. At the desktop replacement level, this is definitely a bummer.

Video played smoothly on the laptop, despite the fuzziness. Basic HD streaming and DVD playback worked without a hitch, but you may want to consider another machine if you're looking for a strong gaming rig. In our Crysis 2 gaming test, the X775-Q7170 earned a mark of 69 out of 100, and managed frame rates of around 46 frames per second (at high quality, and 1366 by 768 resolution). Audio sounded good, however, thanks to the bottom-mounted woofer and the top-mounted speakers. The headphone jack delivered excellent sound, too.

The Qosmio X775-Q7170 disappoints as a gaming machine/desktop replacement, and it's too big to function well for any other purpose. Thanks to the extra-large battery that protrudes from the bottom of the laptop, the machine does get decent battery life for its category (about 4 hours, 30 minutes in our tests), but that means little when you're lugging around an 8-pound machine. Still, if you're looking for a laptop that you can play games on in a pinch, this model might be worth considering.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The Qosmio may look like a gaming rig, but it fails to deliver on performance and has an unimpressive screen.

    Pros

    • Comfortable keyboard with ten-key number pad
    • Cool red lights

    Cons

    • Low-res screen with fussy images and text
    • Mediocre performance
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