Name: Toshiba Qosmio X870-11Q
Type: Gaming laptop
Review Model Specifications: Intel Core i7-3610QM 2.30GHz (Ivy Bridge), Nvidia GeForce GT670M graphics, 17.3 inch screen (1920×1080, 3D capable), Blu-ray RW optical drive, 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD, 16GB DDR3 RAM, 4x USB 3.0, HDMI out, VGA out, SD card reader, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Windows 7 64-bit pre-installed
Toshiba’s Qosmio X870-11Q gaming laptop is a beast of a machine, both in terms of its size and its powerful processing grunt. With a full HD 3D-capable screen and the latest Intel processors and Nvidia laptop graphics chips, it’s unquestionably impressive. But can stellar gaming performance overcome some industrial design missteps? Read on to find out!
Toshiba’s Qosmio X770 was a brutish gaming laptop that sat easily amongst last year’s finest gaming portables. For its successor, the X870-11Q, Toshiba have made significant improvements under the hood of the mammoth gaming machine, leading to one of the most confidently-powerful laptops on the market.
It’s certainly of an intimidating stature. Measuring 418mm wide and 272mm deep with a 17.3-inch screen, it’ll punish anyone planning on carrying around its 3.4kg heft all that often. Built from a metal/plastic alloy with a grey sheen and red highlights, and complete with a backlit keyboard that glows red in low light, it will make you look like a gaming badass should you decide to bring this along to a mate’s house for an on-the-go frag session. There’s no escaping however that, at this size, Toshiba expect the X870 to spend most of its time stationary on your desk at home.There’s a reason for this machine to be so gargantuan however. Toshiba have been seriously generous both under the hood and in the external features of the X870.
Looking first at what’s tucked away under the chassis, Toshiba have made ample room for Intel’s Ivy Bridge Core i7-3610QM processor (clocked at 2.30GHz), Nvidia’s top-tier GeForce GT670M laptop graphics chip and 16GB of DDR3 RAM. You’ll also find a 128GB SSD for fast-booting the pre-Windows 7 64 bit edition and a 1TB HDD for storing plenty of games and media files. It’s a spec sheet that rivals even the most capable of full-size desktop machines.
Moving onto ports, the machine is equally capable. There are no-less than 4 USB 3.0 ports, a full size HDMI port, an Ethernet port, VGA out, SD card reader and even a Blu-ray rewriteable optical disc drive. All connections sit on the sides, rather than rear, of the machine. Harmon Kardon speakers with SRS Premium Sound HD features pair up with a 3D-capable, full HD 17.3 inch screen for an unashamedly indulgent laptop.
There are a few industrial design choices that we’re not too keen on however. Though the chiclet keys have good travel and feature a separate number pad, their glossy finish means they can stick a little under the finger. The same goes for the single-button trackpad, which despite being generously sized (122mm x 80mm) felt erratic and sticky, which wasn’t helped by its textured surface. It does however feature two finger gestures for zooming and scrolling though. That textured feel is also on the casing, which makes for a bit of a fingerprint collector. Lastly, there’s the chunky power pack for the X870. It’s brick-like in size, further hindering portability, and has a connection plug that feels unsettlingly lose. Despite this, the Qosmio X870-11Q feels solidly put together; there’s little flex in the casing, and the overall design is certainly eye-catching.
It’s easy to turn a blind eye to these slight failings when faced with the staggering performance of the Qosmio X870-11Q. Running the Geekbench benchmarking test saw the X870-11Q hit highs of 13,530, an easy match for the best gaming machines on the market.
Moving onto real-world usage scenarios, we tried a range of challenging games on the machine at the full 1080p resolution. It performed impressively well. Firing up Deus Ex Human Revolution, it averaged out at 42fps on ultra settings and 100fps on high settings. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim performed equally well averaging 48fps on high settings, 72fps on medium settings and 100fps on low. Skyrim hit an average of 30fps on ultra settings, which is comfortably playable for a game that can pull even well-spec’d machines to their knees. Perhaps the most intensive test of all came with Metro 2033, which makes heavy use of DirectX11 features; even at its highest settings it comfortably sat at around the 25fps mark.
Things take a notable hit when running in 3D mode, and you can knock as much as a 1/3 or so off those frame rates when donning the included 3D specs. The 3D technology is no mere gimmick though; using Nvidia’s 3D Vision active glasses tech, when running a game that doesn’t test the machine too much (say, Half Life 2) the 3D effects pop with life, with depth and intensity settings that can easily be set to your taste through the Nvidia control panel.With performance like this, it’s frustrating that Toshiba have chosen to plug the machine so full of bloatware; you’ll do well to uninstall the many unnecessary casual games, shoddy software and desktop shortcuts to web links upon first firing up the machine.
Even when running for lengthy periods of time with graphically intensive games, the Qosmio never became uncomfortably hot. The fans keep the machine at temperatures that won’t feel all that uncomfortable in your lap, and without too much intrusive whirring noise from the fans themselves.
As you’d expect from a machine with such horsepower though, battery life takes a beating. You’ll be lucky to get more than about 55 minutes out of the machine when under a heavy load, though that’s hardly surprising considering what’s running under the hood, and not far off the standard you’d expect from a gaming machine of this kind.
The bright vibrant screen is likely quite a drain on the battery too, but that’s a fair trade off for such a lovely display. When running at full resolution, colours are accurate and contrast levels deep with detailed blacks, making it a joy to play lush-looking games on. The same goes for Blu-ray discs, making the X870-11Q a fine second screen if you’re looking to watch a movie outside of the living room. The speakers too are detailed and loud without distorting, though they do suffer from the lack of a built-in sub-woofer.Verdict:
The Qosmio X870-11Q is a genuine powerhouse when it comes to performance with graphically intensive PC games. Throw even the most demanding of DirectX11 games at this machine and Toshiba’s latest will handle them in full HD resolutions at impressive, consistently high frame rates without breaking a sweat. The trackpad and keyboard are a little sticky for our liking, and it’s not exactly the most portable of machines, but this is easily Toshiba’s best gaming laptop yet, and more than a match for Alienware’s similarly priced gaming-focussed machines.
By Gerald Lynch | August 20th, 2012