Toshiba's years of experience in the television market ensures that it always equips its Qosmio multimedia laptops with high-quality displays that work well for watching video, browsing photos, and other forms of entertainment. However, the Toshiba Qosmio X70-A is one of the company's few attempts to produce an out-and-out gaming laptop.
It's a pretty good effort too – although, like most high-end gaming machines, its heavyweight performance comes with an equally heavyweight price tag. There's just one configuration available at the moment, priced at £1699.00 with a 17.3-inch screen, quad-core Haswell i7 running at 2.4GHz (3.4GHz Turboboost), 16GB of memory and both a 1TB hard drive and a 256GB solid-state drive. Graphics duties are handled by either the integrated Intel HD 4600 or an nVidia GeForce GTX 770M with 3GB of video memory. The only other option is an older Ivy Bridge model called the X870 that also includes a 3D display and glasses that push the price up to £1799.00. See all high-end laptops reviews.
Like most gaming laptops the X70-A is a bit of a beast. It weighs in at 3.4Kg and measures 44m thick when folded flat, so it's very much a stay-at-home laptop. It has a more subdued design than many of its gaming rivals, with a matte black aluminium case finished off with smart red trim around the edges. It does, however, include the obligatory smouldering red backlight on the keyboard just to let you know that it means business.
And while the X70-A is very expensive, at least Toshiba hasn't cut any corners. The 1920x0180 screen is sharp, colourful and very bright, with almost a full 180-degree horizontal viewing angle. The vertical viewing angle is a little more limited, but you have to physically lift the front edge of the keyboard up off your desk and tilt the screen right back before visibility starts to drop, so you'll always have a good view of the on-screen action during your gaming sessions. It's not touch-sensitive, but we doubt that many gamers will be particularly worried about that. See also: Group test: what's the best laptop?
Toshiba Qosmio X70-A: multimedia
The speakers came as a pleasant surprise, too. Designed by Harman Kardon, the four-speaker system is one of the loudest we've ever heard on a laptop. It produces a warmer sound than most laptops, and even manages decent bass output too. It's certainly more than adequate for watching streaming video, listening to some music or gaming, without needing to plug in any headphones or speakers. The X70-A also includes a Blu-ray player for watching high-def movies, and you can use either the HDMI interface, VGA or built-in WiDi if you want to connect it to a larger screen.
Even the keyboard and trackpad are well constructed. The keys have a very smooth action and will be comfortable for prolonged use, while the large trackpad responds quickly to even a gentle tap and lets you right-click by tapping with two fingers rather than having to press the right mouse button.
There's no cutting corners on performance, either. The large hard drive only runs at 5400rpm, but it provides plenty of room for all your games, music and videos, while the secondary SSD adds some zip to overall performance. The X70-A managed a score of 6164 when running the general-purpose PCMark 7 benchtest, which puts it right up among the most powerful laptops we've seen in recent months.
The same is true of gaming performance. The X70-A managed a comfortable 43fps even when running Batman: Arkham City at 1920x1080 with all the DX11 eye-candy and both graphics detail and anti-aliasing set to ‘high', while turning those settings down to ‘medium' allowed it to hit 50fps. We've seen other gaming laptops, such as the Chillblast Messiah, that can exceed 50fps with Batman on ‘high', but that costs £1800.00, so the X70-A holds its own in terms of value for money.
The only minor disappointment is battery life. The 47Wh battery is quite modest for such a large laptop and barely stretches past three hours (185 minutes) when using the integrated graphics to stream video from the BBC iPlayer. Still, a laptop as big and heavy as this isn't going to leave home very often so that's not the end of the world. See all laptops buying advice.