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Toshiba Qosmio G40-10E
Toshiba's Qosmio multimedia notebooks have always been a little bit special. On the last occasion we saw one, the G30-102, Toshiba had added an HD DVD drive, the first in a notebook at the time, and Toshiba is at it again with this, the G40-10E. This new model represents a major update for the range, with a completely overhauled chassis, new components and the addition of an HD DVD-R optical drive, making it the first writable HD DVD drive in a notebook.
As one might expect for a notebook with such exotic features the G40-10E doesn't come cheap, costing anywhere between £1,650 and £1,900. Still, for the money you do get an impressively well appointed piece of kit. At its core is an Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, which runs at 2.0GHz and features 4MB L2 Cache, an 800MHz Front Side Bus and all the dynamic throttling trickery that makes Intel's latest CPUs so power efficient. This is supported by 2GB of 667MHz DRR2 RAM and a 512MB nVidia 8600M GT providing the graphical grunt; there's even 1GB of Intel Turbo Memory to boot.
Rounding off the base configuration is a single 250GB SATA HDD which, although ample for most people's needs, may be a little cramped for a multimedia notebook - especially one designed with high definition media in mind. Mind you, it's nothing a relatively inexpensive external drive wouldn't solve and, if you're determined to have more internal storage, then Toshiba has a solution in the shape of the G40-108. This is the 'Big Daddy', as it were, of the Qosmio range and features 400GB of storage thanks to two 200GB drives, as well as an upgraded 2.4GHz T7700 Core 2 Duo CPU. That model will, however, set you back upward of £2,000 - just in case the cheaper one wasn't expensive enough as it is.
With the exception of the CPU and hard drive configurations, however, the two Qosmio models are identical. Obviously I've already mentioned the HD DVD-R drive but just as important is the 17in, 1,920 x 1,200 display, which is perfectly suited to reproducing high definition films in full 1080p glory, as is the Dolby Home Theatre certified Realtek audio. There's also a Hybrid Digital TV Tuner and all the audio and video connectivity you're ever likely to need, including an HDMI port for quick and supposedly easy connection to an HDTV.
There are a few other little extras too, with Toshiba including a Media Center remote and an HDMI cable for good measure. The remote does, however, require external infrared detectors which plug into the back of the notebook, which is either a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. On the one hand it would have been nice to have infrared built into the chassis, while on the other this implementation means you can store the notebook out of the way when connecting it to an HDTV. On balance, however, a built-in solution would probably be preferable, though it's hardly worth getting into a flap about.