- Massive, beautiful, 18.4" screen
- Tons of power, yet little heat or noise
- Nice build quality
- Poor speaker performance (no bass)
- Mouse buttons are difficult to work with
- Bloatware and spammed advertisements
Aimed at both media enthusiasts and gamers, the Qosmio X505 is Toshiba’s largest and most powerful desktop replacement machine featuring a quad core processor and a mid-range nVidia GPU. Does the X505 live up to expectations? Read our review to find out.
Our Toshiba Qosmio X505 review unit has the following specifications:
- Intel Core i7 720QM (1.6GHz, 6MB L2 Cache)
- Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit
- 18.4-inch WUXGA glossy screen (1920×1080)
- 6GB DDR3 1066MHz RAM
- 64GB Toshiba SSD
- 500GB Hitachi HDD
- nVidia GTS 360M, 1GB VRAM
- Internal fixed Blu-Ray optical drive.
- Realtek 802.11n Wi-Fi, Atheros Gigabit Ethernet
- LED Backlit Keyboard
- 12-cell 8000mAh battery
- One-year warranty
- Dimensions: 17.4 x 11.6 x 1.63 inches
- Weight: 10.5 pounds, not including the 2 pound power adapter
- Price as configured: $1,899
Build and Design
Our first impression of the Toshiba Qosmio X505 is that it is big, heavy and is a champion when it comes to build quality. When it comes to design, the X505 has a very sophisticated look. The piano black finish with metallic red highlights could appeal to people who never would have considered a “flashy” notebook. The glossy surface is a fingerprint magnet though. Even the LEDs on the notebook match with the black and red theme.
Despite the X505’s all-plastic design, build quality is superb. The base of the notebook uses high quality plastic that should brush off bumps and bruises easily. The palm rest and other areas of the notebook are satisfyingly firm and gives us the impression that the internal design and structure of the notebook was carefully planned. The LCD housing does a good job of protecting the screen as well. We were not able to produce distortions on the screen with poking or prodding on the back side of the LCD housing, and it also resisted twisting motions well.
A notebook this large has to have a solid screen hinge to support the weight of the LCD, and Toshiba delivers in that respect. The hinge is firm enough to keep the notebook closed and open when needed, but the screen wobbles a little when bumped and the hinge occasionally squeaks. It also takes some effort to open the notebook.
Screen and Speakers
The Toshiba Qosmio X505 comes with a glossy 18.4-inch CCFL backlit screen with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 (the 16:9 equivalent of WUXGA). Colors are bright and vibrant, text is crisp and sharp and videos are smooth and clear. With a maximum measured brightness of about 141 nits, it is a little dim compared to LED backlit screens and will be unsuitable for outdoor use, but indoors (like on the desk that this notebook will rarely leave) the screen is stunning.
The X505 has eight distinct levels of screen brightness that can be adjusted by using Fn+F6 and Fn+F7 key combinations. The brightest settings on the notebook won’t wash out colors or strain the eyes, and the dimmer settings for the screen are great for darkroom entertainment. During normal use, we would usually have to leave the screen at one of the four highest brightness levels for comfortable use.
Notebook screens tend to have poor vertical viewing angles, and the X505 is no exception. Colors and text fade fast when viewing the notebook screen from above or below. Horizontal viewing angles are much better and are quite impressive. Even at the far left or right field, the screen is still easily readable and the visual quality of text, images and videos were consistent throughout.
When we typically see that a notebook with Harman/Kardon speakers, there are high hopes that we are going to have a great listening experience. The two very large front speakers live up to our expectations with excellent audio in the treble range, but the bass range is non-existent. Music fades when there is low volume in the treble range. For a notebook this large, the lack of perceptible bass is a big disappointment.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The X505 has a comfortable keyboard that easily outperforms many other notebooks. The LED backlit keyboard uses a fairly standard layout and design that has a great amount of feedback but is just a hair too springy. The spacing and feel of the keyboard is just about right and we think many people will like it.
At first, the glossy finish on the keyboard was a drawback; the keys seemed to grab our fingers a little bit. After a day or two, with a sufficient amount of oil building up on the keys, that problem was resolved. The only unresolved problem that is that we cannot find a way to turn the LED backlight off on the keyboard…
The large amount of palm rest real estate on an 18.4-inch notebook means that the X505 has a full size keyboard, a number pad and a few inches to spare. Toshiba uses that space by including eight capacitive touch special function buttons to control media playback, volume and power settings on the notebook. It’s a nice feature but there are two big problems with these buttons: they are easy to accidentally trigger and they always beep at you when you hit them. Even the mute button beeps at you when you hit it.
Like the keyboard, the touchpad requires a little bit of oil to build up for optimal use. At first we found ourselves running off of the flush touchpad, but we adapted quickly. The tactile feedback provided by the touchpad was excellent and its responsiveness was equally satisfying after we updated the touchpad drivers. The touchpad also has an on/off button (and a giant red LED indicating if that the pad is on or off) that you can deactivate if needed. The two large touchpad buttons are red and hard to miss, but they are also difficult to work with since they require a lot of force to get them to register a click.
The Synaptics touchpad on the X505 also has a few other productivity features like circular scrolling, multi-touch zoom and multi-touch rotation motions, and even two-finger scrolling, which required us to space our fingers uncomfortably far apart for the touchpad to acknowledge the gesture. The rest of the features worked well.
Ports and Features
Let us be real – this is an 18.4-inch desktop replacement machine. Toshiba has the room to put any type of port on this computer that they want, and they did a good job of including the essentials. With three USB ports, one combo eSATA/USB port, audio ports, a Firewire 400 port, SD card slot, Ethernet port, VGA out and HDMI outputs, the notebook has almost everything a user needs. The X505 also has an ExpressCard/54 slot above the optical drive so you can expand upon the notebook as you see fit. There is even space for a DisplayPort connector on the notebook, but we are unsure why Toshiba chose to omit that feature. Our only complaint is that we wish there were more USB ports. The VGA port might baffle you a little, but Toshiba smartly figured that a lot of HDTVs have VGA ports dedicated for computer connections (and not all HDTVs have enough HDMI inputs). Let’s have a quick look around the notebook.
Right: Audio in/out, 2x USB ports, a VGA out port, AC power and a security lock slot.