Given the size of the Qosmio, Toshiba has been able to provide a great deal of connectivity, with no less than five USB ports, both ExpressCard and PC Card slots and loads of audio and video connectivity. Indeed, so comprehensive is the connectivity on the Qosmio that I actually had to resort to using the manual to check what all they do. This may seem a benign admission but given that I am a) a man and b) a technology journalist, the words ‘instruction manual’ are a source of embarrassment and fear.
Emotional torments aside, starting on the left of the notebook you’ll find two of the five USB ports, which are separated by an ExpressCard and a PC Card slot mounted above and below each other, a four-pin FireWire port and a 5-in-1 memory card reader supporting SD, MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro, MMC and xD formats. There’s also a Wireless On/Off switch; an essential convenience on a notebook these days. This is a tidy collection, though it goes without saying that there isn’t enough space to use an ExpressCard and PC Card simultaneously.
Though there aren’t any connections on the front of the notebook it does house one rather important item: the HD DVD drive. Having it on the front has a number of advantages, obviously it frees up space for connections around the sides, but it also enables easier access to the HD DVD drive when using the notebook with an HDTV.
Also on the front is one of the more annoying aspects of the Qosmio, the clasp for the screen. Unfortunately Toshiba has fallen for the all too common mistake of placing it on the chassis itself, rather than in the edge of display. As a result opening the notebook can be needlessly fiddly, which is a mistake from a company so well versed in notebook design.
Moving to the right edge, this side is dominated primarily by audio and video connections. Starting from the front there are two audio outputs, one a dedicated headphone jack and another a combined headphone and S/PDIF port. This is quite a neat addition, enabling you to have a set of speakers attached and still use headphones plugged directly into the notebook at the same time.
Next to these is the ubiquitous microphone input for connecting an external mic, though there is one built-in next to the 2.0 Megapixel webcam above the display. There’s also a 3.5mm AUX input, giving you the opportunity to connect an MP3 player to the notebook. Since the speakers are pretty good this is a useful option to have, and anything played through it will also benefit from the Dolby sound processing.
Following all these audio connections is another USB port, and after a gap there are two video inputs: one 3.5mm input for use with the provided Composite breakout cable and a four-pin S-Video. Both provide useful connectivity for camcorders and the like, though obviously you’ll be restricted to standard definition resolutions.
Don’t relax yet though, there’s yet more to be found on the back. First there’s an RF input for the Hybrid TV Tuner, with the DC-in and two connections for the provided infrared receiver just above that. It’s worth noting too that, much to my relief, although the infrared receiver is external, it isn’t the horrible giant box affair that Microsoft bundles with its Media Center remotes, just a small receiver on the end of a wire.
A four-pin S-Video output provides standard definition output for those that may require it and next to this are another two USB ports, mounted above and below one another, and a D-SUB port for an analogue connection to a PC monitor or TV. However this probably won’t be needed too often because, lurking in the corner next to the Ethernet port, is the precious HDCP enabled HDMI port.