Toshiba Qosmio F50 (PQF55A-01L021)

A multimedia notebook with good looks.

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Toshiba Qosmio F50 (PQF55A-01L021)
  • Toshiba Qosmio F50 (PQF55A-01L021)
  • Toshiba Qosmio F50 (PQF55A-01L021)
  • Toshiba Qosmio F50 (PQF55A-01L021)
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Design, performance, reasonable benchmark results, excellent design

Cons

  • Battery life, bulky size, glossy display

Bottom Line

Toshiba’s Qosmio F50 is ideal for multimedia, but it is also well suited as an all-purpose notebook. If you can live with the glossy display, there is plenty to like about this unit and it has performance to match its looks.

Would you buy this?

Sporting an attractive gloss black design with chrome edges, Toshiba’s Qosmio F50 simply screams style. It isn’t all about looks, though, as under the hood is a very capable multimedia entertainment machine that is also suited to occasional gaming.

The F50’s 15.4in screen lends itself to multimedia playback but means the notebook isn't great as a travel companion. It's rather bulky to use while on the road and its battery life isn’t great. At 3.7kg it's a little heavy for a 15.4in notebook. It hasn’t been designed as a travel notebook, however. Its strengths lie in multimedia and occasional gaming.

The Qosmio’s reasonably powerful specifications ensure that you will be able to run most office applications, but this machine is also capable of photo and video editing and movie playback.

The display produces excellent colour and is crisp and clear, but not all users will appreciate its glossy surface. It is quite reflective under any sort of light, but is particularly annoying under regular florescent office lighting. It looks great in a darker environment, but if you plan on working in an office-style environment the F50’s screen may not be your cup of tea. Viewing angles are reasonable though not outstanding.

Under the right lighting, the glossy display looks excellent and the Harman/Kardon speakers are reasonably impressive considering their small size. Using the HDMI port you can also attach the F50 it to a high-definition television or AV receiver.

The F50’s specifications sheet makes for fairly impressive reading, and the Centrino 2 sticker emblazoned on the chassis only confirms this. It has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P8600 CPU; 4GB of RAM (expandable to 8GB); a 500GB, 5400RPM hard drive; and a 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics adapter.

A 3DMark06 score of 4437 suggests the Qosmio is clearly capable of some gaming, although this isn’t the focal point of its capabilities. Conveniently, the unit also ships with a hybrid digital and analog TV tuner, as well as an FM tuner. This means the F50 can be used as a full-blown media centre (using Windows Vista’s Media Centre software) for recording and time-shifting TV shows.

The Qosmio produced a score of 92 in our WorldBench 6 tests. While not blistering, the Qosmio F50 is certainly speedy for most tasks.

In addition to being great to look at, using the F50 is a delight. We particularly loved the keyboard — the gloss black keys won’t suit all tastes but they are well designed and spaced and are comfortable to type on for long periods. (They're also quiet.) These features are complemented by the large space to rest your palms and the row of function keys, which are separated from the top of the keyboard.

In addition to HDMI, the Qosmio F50 includes an ExpressCard slot, a D-Sub port, microphone and headphone jacks, 4 USB ports (one an eSATA and USB combo), a 5-in-1 card reader, a FireWire 400 port and a fingerprint reader. For networking, a Gigabit Ethernet port is present, along with support for 802.11a/g/n wireless networks and Bluetooth. The Qosmio’s 8-cell battery lasted a solid but not outstanding 1hr 40min during our DVD rundown test, further emphasising the fact that this isn’t a traveller’s notebook.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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