Toshiba Qosmio G40-10E - Toshiba Qosmio G40-10E

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Aesthetically the Qosmio is certainly striking, though in a kind love it or hate it way. Naturally, its 17in display means it’s a big machine, measuring 440 x 229 x 45.3mm (WxDxH) and weighing a totally importable 4.4kg. This isn’t the problem however, and neither is the outside, which is finished in an attractive navy blue with elegant silver ‘Qomsio’ lettering.

No, the real contention begins when you open it up. An all white finish is nothing new and certainly helps with that initial impact, but the effect is rather spoiled by the huge garish dials and the extra-specially ugly speaker grilles. Indeed, Toshiba seems to have some difficulty with speaker grilles, with the Satellite P200-143 sharing a similar affliction caused by some nasty looking clear plastic. Similarly, the two dials, which provide volume control and media navigation, seem disproportionally large for their functions, as if they’ve been put there simply to take up the space created by the capacious chassis.

Happily, these are minor afflictions and elsewhere there is plenty to praise. Though the keyboard doesn’t feature a number pad as some do, it has an excellent layout and sports crisp and responsive keys which make typing easy. Just above the keyboard are some neat touch sensitive media keys, providing Play/Pause, Stop, Next/Previous controls as well as media player shortcuts. They also glow blue, a feature shared by the two dials, though one of the touch sensitive buttons allows you turn this off should you so wish it.

Another particularly noteworthy feature are the speakers which, although ugly to look at, certainly don’t sound ugly. In addition to the two main drivers above the keyboard there are also two discreet discrete – yes both of them – tweeters situated either side of the keyboard, as well as a subwoofer underneath the notebook. These, combined with the superb Dolby Home Theatre virtualisation, make for a very impressive audible experience, with crisp and clear dialogue and a surprisingly convincing soundscape. Naturally they will never replace a proper speaker setup, but for causal film and music playback they are superb and are good enough that you won’t be reverting straight to headphones when no external speakers are to hand.

This excellence in sound is accompanied by the superb display. As previously noted the 1,920 x 1,200 native resolution is ideal for 1080p recordings, but it’s not just the resolution that brings HD content to life, the overall quality of the panel is simply exceptional. Images are sharp and detailed, colours vibrant, motion smooth and whites clean and bright. The only slight disappointment are the black levels which, despite the contrast boosting glossy finish, aren’t quite as impressive as other elements of the display. In truth, though, this disappointment is based upon the high expectations created by the display as a whole and overall it’s still one of the finest notebook displays I’ve ever seen.