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Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q896 Laptop Review Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Article Index
Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q896 Laptop Review
Performance and Conclusion

Toshiba includes a program called Media Controller for transferring media around your network.  Do you have some ripped files on your laptop that you want to move to the Playstation 3 in the family room?  Just send them over with Media Controller without having to use a FTP program, it’s all drag and drop.  For consuming video, I used Windows Media Center to output all Blu-ray, music, pictures and ripped movies to my various displays.  It worked very well for navigating through my files with a Media Center compatible remote (I use the Gyration GYR4101CKUS Air Music Remote) and Toshiba automatically includes the launch buttons for both the DVD & Blu-ray player applications that come with the PC.

One minor problem I had with playing Blu-ray media was that inserting a Blu-ray disc launched the wrong program, Toshiba’s proprietary up-scaling DVD software rather than Corel’s WinDVD software that plays Blu-ray discs.  If Toshiba’s software is supposed to be playing Blu-ray content, it certainly didn’t work for me.  It did, however, upscale DVDs extremely well.  The Corel software worked perfectly for Blu-rayr and it was just a matter of associating inserting a Blu-ray to launch the other program; easy for an advanced computer user, but not likely for the average consumer.

Toshiba Side view

However, getting to my actual Blu-ray content was vastly faster on the Qosmio X505 than any of the players in my home.  I don’t believe the drive loaded the content any faster, but rather the speed of the data being processed was superior in all fronts.  I always try to only watch specific scenes from movies, but got sucked into The Dark Knight again, which looked fantastic from the internal Blu-ray drive.  Even with the bloated BD-Live titles, I was getting to the actual movie in half the time it took on an above average Blu-ray player.  You can turn the main screen off as well to only display content on your preferred screen.  I did see the slightest bit of lag time between the laptop screen and the HDMi output, but that’s to be expected when sending massive amounts of data to the screen.  While I used a sound system most of the time, the Harman Kardon speakers are easily the best built-in laptop speakers that I’ve ever heard.  They are incredibly crisp, have a solid midrange and carry over a small room like a bedroom.  There’s also Dolby sound processing built in, so you have the ability to use a virtual 5.1 headphones setup if you want to watch a late night movie without disturbing your significant other. 

The Toshiba Qosmio X505 is also a powerhouse when it comes to gaming.  I threw recent games like Fallout: New Vegas and Call of Duty: Black Ops at the graphics processor and it didn’t even blink an eye.  It was cranking out the full 1080p resolution with full graphics options on and it was a silky smooth experience.  It can handle multitasking with ease as well.  Last week, I was listening to (and partly watching) Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen on Blu-ray while surfing the net, working in Photoshop, typing up a new Word doc along with a variety of other minor applications running.  It also recovers from Sleep mode faster than any laptop I’ve ever owned, typically taking about a second to return to an operable state.

Webcam view


Obviously, this isn’t a portable solution for travel.  If you want to carry this heavy laptop around, you will need an enormous laptop bag as well as room for the giant power adaptor.  It’s barely a solution for carrying around the house.  I would recommend finding a spot and sticking with it, preferably near another compatible 1080p display.  Another issue is the slightest bit of bloatware that comes with the machine, easily wiped out after the first week as you get tired of Norton trying to sell you their overpriced virus package with endless popup reminders. 


The Toshiba Qosmio 505-Q896 is, by far, the fastest laptop that I’ve ever used and makes for an incredibly user friendly HTPC experience with Media Controller and Windows Media Center.  There’s not many competitors in the 18.4” class of laptop and Toshiba is very price competitive (Retails for $1699, can be found for about $1500 online) compared to an over-marketed brand like Alienware.  If you want to expand the reach of the media located in your main home theater to other sections of the house and are looking for a new desktop computer, consider combining those goals and take a look at the Qosmio X505.  Alternatively to the home theater space, this laptop is also perfect for graphic designers seeking heavy Photoshop & Illustrator use, directors & musicians looking to edit / produce media though tools like Premiere Pro and gaming fanatics that crave the latest tech to play 2010’s releases at 1080p resolution.


What are your thoughts on using a laptop for both HTPC media and generaluse?

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