First Looks: Toshiba QOSMIO X500
If you're wondering what's with our title, it's because Toshiba's QOSMIO series does sound like the word cosmic, while its shiny exterior speaks to us of a heavenly body that blazes in it the cosmos. As a step up from the older QOSMIO X300, the Toshiba QOSMIO X500 comes packed with the latest Intel Core processors, and sports powerful discrete graphics for gamers.
Exterior-wise, the 18.4-inch X500 is gorgeous to look at, and clearly looks like a gaming notebook. While it's certainly huge and heavy (as can be expected from a 18.4-inch notebook), it doesn't convey the impression that it's clunky until you start trying to move it. Then you'll feel the full weight of its 4.6kg frame, which makes this a unit you don't want to be lugging around on a daily basis.
The interior of the Toshiba QOSMIO X500 resounds with cosmic goodness, and you'll find all the distinctive Toshiba design touches on this notebook. From the glossy screen to the rest of the glossy interior, you'll know that the unit strikes a deep space impression on your senses. That said, we're no fans of a glossy surface, especially one where you have to constantly touch, so bear this in mind. Now, since this is an 18.4-inch notebook, we were expecting an 18.4-inch screen that's Full HD, but this isn't the case for the X500.
Unlike the other Desktop Replacements (DTRs) around, the X500 uses a lower resolution screen that's 1680 x 945. It's not Full HD, it comes close, but the situation here is akin to giving a cake to a person, but only letting that person eat 90% of the cake, and not the full slice. Toshiba did mention to us, that the Full HD version is not available in the region as they feel it should be able to satisfy most gamers and entertainment users, but we feel that as gamers and entertainment users ourselves, we tend to be picky, so the slight resolution difference does matter.
Since the X500 also comes packing a Blu-ray drive, it would make sense to have a Full HD screen but again, this is not the case for the local SKU. If you can live with a lower resolution 18.4-inch screen, then this shouldn't be an issue, otherwise it's one that we would seriously consider avoiding and settling for another 18.4-inch DTRs available in the market.
While we do have some issues with the unit, we definitely can't fault Toshiba when it comes to the performance of this machine. It's not too surprising given that it's packing a quad-core Intel Core i7-720QM (1.6GHz), 4GB DDR3 RAM and NVIDIA's GeForce GTS 250M. This should deliver quite the performance for gamers, so let's fire up our trusty benchmarks to see how they do.
Both PCMark Vantage and 3DMark06 showed very impressive results, with the Toshiba notebook scoring 6300 PCMarks and 9732 3DMarks in our tests. This is quite comparable to other gaming notebooks such as the previously reviewed Sager NP6390. While the Sager did have better 3DMark06 scores, bear in mind it's using very high end discrete graphics. On the other hand, the performance of the Toshiba QOSMIO X500 is nothing to scoff at either.
Battery life plays an important part for notebooks in general, but DTRs are the exception to the rule as they tend to remain plugged in all the time. As such, on our DVD loop tests, the X500 lasted 1 hour 7 minutes, which isn't any good at all. Then again, we're expecting such a result and since it's likely to be plugged to the socket full-time, battery life isn't the issue for this notebook.
At the end of the day, the Toshiba QOSMIO X500 is a pretty decent notebook that delivers the performance that a gamer will have no problem with, though the screen resolution issue can be a make or break factor for some. We fall into the latter category, and the S$3999 price point doesn't really help Toshiba's case.