- Review Price: £1300.00
- Glasses-free 3D with webcam eye-tracking
- 15.6in, Full HD, 120Hz lenticular display
- Core i7, 6GB RAM, 640GB HDD
- Nvidia GeForce GT 540M graphics
Before we get onto the laptop itself, let’s have a quick overview of the 3D technology. It basically consists of a lenticular layer over the screen that utilises angled lenses to separate the perspectives for each eye. For its laptops, Toshiba has further added an eye-tracking webcam to ensure that you’re always in the ‘sweet spot’ (the ideal position to get the full effect), unlike its glasses-free TVs, where you have a number of predetermined spots you can stand in to get stereoscopic goodness.
This does obviously limit the F750’s 3D to one user at a time, but Toshiba is mostly justified in claiming that the vast majority of laptop usage will involve a single viewer. Still, if you want 3D with more than one person at a time on a portable device, glasses are still the way to go – in which case, Toshiba has you covered with its new X770 Nvidia 3D gaming laptop.
We’ll examine how well the F750’s unencumbered 3D works in a moment, but first let’s take a look at the laptop itself. With Core i7 processing, 6GB of RAM, dedicated 3D graphics and dedicated Nvidia graphics, not to mention Blu-ray XL, its screen tech certainly isn’t the only interesting thing about it.
However, you really need to like shiny things for this laptop’s design to appeal. Everything, from the lid to the keyboard, wrist rests and touchpad buttons, is glossy. And yes, that does mean you’ll be spending a lot of time with a lint-free cloth if you’re adverse to seeing smudges and fingerprints all over your new hardware.
Toshiba has shown it can shake the gloss obsession with beautiful examples like the Satellite R830, and we just wish it could extend that subtlety across the range. When we asked about the decision to make everything shiny, we were told it was what the consumer wanted according to Toshiba’s research – and unfortunately that’s likely to be true for the majority of consumers.
Toshiba has toned things up from the subtler combination of black and red that we saw on the Qosmio X500, and here the entire lid is red, with a light pattern giving a little variety. It certainly works if you like red, though it’s probably a bit brash for our tastes.
Thankfully the interior is predominantly black, with a red border running around the edge of the base, and some white backlighting around the power button, and a strip of it above the touchpad (which makes it easy to find in the dark). The palm rests sport a faux carbon finish that doesn’t add much or prevent fingerprints from being any less obvious.
Connectivity is decent. On the left you’ll find VGA, USB 2 and 3, and HDMI 1.4. At the front is a SDXC card reader, while the right houses headphone and microphone jacks, a second USB 2 port, and of course the tray-loading optical drive. In this case it’s a Blu-ray XL recorder, which means that – unlike a regular Blu-ray writer – it can write discs of up to 100GB, a handy feature for permanent backups. The TV tuner antennae you see on our photos won’t be present on shipping European models.
Moving onto the laptop’s insides, it will come with a whopping quad-core Intel Core i7-2630QM, which supports up to eight virtual cores, and runs at 2GHz by default (with a maximum Turbo frequency of 2.9GHz). So where processing power is concerned, the Qosmio F750 is more than a match for many desktop systems.
It’s backed by a reasonable 6GB of RAM and generous 650GB hard drive, though the latter is of the slower 5,400rpm variety. Of course Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi N are also present, and the webcam is of the HD variety.
Naturally, for a flagship 3D laptop, the graphics card is one of the most important elements. Unfortunately, to keep the machine’s price around £1,300, Toshiba has compromised a little here with an Nvidia GeForce GT 540M sporting 2GB of RAM. While this is a solid card that will provide a great experience with 3D Blu-rays and can even run some fairly advanced 3D games in 2D, for stereoscopic 3D (which requires twice the processing power) in demanding titles like Crysis it might not hold up all that well. Still, if you’re willing to scale down the resolution and detail a bit, it will do the job. We just wish Toshiba had elected to go with a Core i5 and GT 560M combo instead.
As it’s a GeForce card, Nvidia’s Optimus graphics switching technology is supported. And the F750 needs all the spare juice it can get, as the best estimate we received for how long its 48Wh/4200mAh battery would last was three hours (though we’re guessing that’s with 3D enabled).
On the usability front the F750 holds up very well. Its keyboard offers a good layout, and the large keys are well-spaced. Though their semi-glossy finish makes them just a tad slippery to the touch, key feedback is superb, with plenty of travel and a nice, positive click. Basically, typing is a pleasure.
The touchpad has the distinct honour of being one of the few non-glossy parts of this laptop. A lightly textured matt surface makes it good to work with, and though its individual chromed buttons are a little on the stiff side, they’re still very usable.
Harman/Kardon is responsible for the audio, and as it managed to make a humble netbook like the Toshiba NB550 sound great, it’s no surprise that the F750 holds up well here, although (keeping in mind that it was hard to tell outside of a proper testing environment) we did feel bass was underdeveloped.
Last but certainly not least, in 2D the 15.6in, 1,920 x 1,080 screen showed itself to good advantage in our limited time with it. As it’s a 120Hz panel, motion was very smooth. Contrast seemed reasonable and viewing angles were surprisingly good. But of course, the real area of interest here is 3D – how does the F750 fare in its world-exclusive glasses-less glory?
There’s no question that glasses-free 3D works. Once the webcam had latched onto our eyes, we definitely saw the extra dimension. This Qosmio offers some advanced 2D-3D conversion processing that worked well, and it’s all without looking like a total nerd, pressing any on buttons, or darkening your environment. Also, fluorescent lights had no discernible negative impact. The sheer amount of technology at play here is undeniably impressive, and it’s pretty cool to see 2D and 3D side-by-side on the same screen without any eyewear.
However, it’s far from perfect. For example, when changing position, the webcam kept up remarkably well (a separate window showed us the wireframe tracking, a bit a la Kinect) but the lenticular layer adjustment lagged slightly and was painfully obvious when it did happen. During general viewing, sharpness was compromised, and we saw a pixel-like effect similar to that of watching a projector screen from so close you can see the cloth texture. The dreaded crosstalk also put in a strong appearance, far more than with glasses-using alternatives like the HP Envy 17 3D.
We’ll withhold final judgement until we’ve had a proper play in our lab but, based on our brief impressions, we would happily put up with the discomfort of 3D glasses for the benefits they bring over this specific incarnation of Toshiba’s glasses-free 3D. However, if you want to get in on the lenticular action or just really hate wearing 3D glasses, the Qosmio F750 should be available at the end of August for around £1,300.
Graphics & Sound
|Operating System||Windows 7|
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