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The keyboard is quite good but I would have liked a slightly firmer feel to the keys and I sometimes caught the edges while typing. The size of the machine means that there’s room for arrow keys but the Windows key has been moved to the top right, which takes some getting used to. A function key provides quick access to the usual function such as screen brightness and TV output but above this are actual hardware buttons for direct access to Media Center. You don’t even have to have the MCE shell running – all you have to do is press the music button and it will launch automatically. Sound wise the Qosmio G20 has Harman Kardon speakers located in each corner. Instead of a mesh grille the driver is clearly visible through the spoked cover. The integrated speakers go very loud and sound is very impressive for a notebook. The virtual sound option, surprisingly, actually made a difference producing a more spacious sound and I kept it on by preference.
Of course you’ll get an improvement with higher quality external speakers but this should do for watching a movie. The volume control is a dial integrated into the chassis on the right hand side with blue lights to indicate the level. Very cool.
Software wise Toshiba has provided Microsoft Works along with Norton Internet Security. Recovery CDs are also included.
There’s no doubt that the Qosmio G20 is very impressive machine, both in girth and specification. It’s nicely put together and is a great advert for Microsoft’s Media Center. However, it’s not quite the outstanding machine that it could have been. A higher resolution screen would have been desirable, but the lack of a digital TV tuner as standard and the poor quality TV Out are major black marks. Despite these flaws it could still do very well as a desktop PC, DVD and TV replacement. As it’s sold in Dixons you can actually go in and try one and see how it suites.
Flawed in certain respects this is still a very good Media Center machine and well worth auditioning down at your local Dixons emporium.
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