What's hot: Gaming and video performance is great. The harman/kardon and Dolby Home Theater combination produces one of the best audio experiences on a notebook.
What's not: Keyboard is a bit too flat. HD 1920 x 1080 display is a very pricey upgrade, viewing angle poor on lower res display.
Reviewed March 10, 2010 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor
It used to be if you wanted a gaming notebook that can play today’s latest graphics intensive games you’d end up with a large chunk of hardware that looked like a notebook in an armor suit andset you back at least $2K. Remember the Alienware Aurora m7700? But today we get gaming notebooks that have even larger screens, faster processors and more graphics power in a slimmer body and the price doesn’t have to hurt your wallet. The Toshiba Qosmio X505 belongs in this category with an 18.4” widescreen, running the latest Intel Core i7 and i5 CPUs and NVIDIA discrete graphics with plenty of GPU power. Even with the higher-end Core i7 configuration you can find a system that costs $1,500 or less. If you get the Core i5 configuration the notebook is even cheaper starting at $1,199. Based on our gaming tests, a Core i5 system runs nearly as effectively as the Core i7 when playing games like Modern Warfare 2, F.E.A.R. 2 and Crysis. Of course it helps that both configurations have the same beefy NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M graphics card with 1GB GDDR5 dedicated memory. The catch? A full HD 1080 display will set you back even more.
We take a look at the Qosmio X505-Q860 model with the Intel Core i5-M430 CPU running at 2.26 GHz (with Turbo Boost Technology up to 2.53 GHz). The Qosmio X505 has 3MB L3 cache and 4GB DDR3 memory at 1066MHz. The notebook comes with a 500GB SATA hard drive, a SuperMulti DVD burner with Labelflash, built-in Wi-Fi, an HDMI port and a card reader. The system comes with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and a ton of Toshiba’s own software.
Design and Ergonomics
We really dig the Qosmio X505’s look: the Toshiba Fusion finish in black with red edging, large red mouse buttons and red media play control and LED lights. While it’s large the Toshiba doesn’t look chunky, and the 18.4” widescreen dominates. The TruBrite TFT LCD display has 1680 x 945 native resolution with 720p content support (again natively) and 16:9 aspect ratio. It looks reasonably bright with good color saturation, but it does have glare. What a shame that the X505 doesn’t have a full HD 1920 x 1080 display given the screen size, graphics power and Blu-ray drive, you say? That is indeed available as an option but it brings the price up to $1,899 (you do get the Core i7 720QM in that package). The Toshiba Qosmio X505 has a standard PS/2 keyboard with multi-touch TouchPad pointing device and two large mouse buttons. The keys on the keyboard while large are quite flat; it will take you a bit of practice to get used it if you come from a desktop keyboard that has bigger travel.
The Qosmio has two columns of multi-media touch controls that sit flat next to the keyboard on the left. They make it easier to control music and video playback, but they are also prone to accidental touches. We’d love to see these moved to the large empty space above the keyboard. Two Harman/Kardon speakers use the area above the keyboard toward the edges, and combining these awesome speakers with Dolby Home Theater technology, the Qosmio sounds spacious with strong bass (you can feel the notebook shaking from the bass boom). There is no fingerprint scanner on the Qosmio X505, but there is facial recognition software that works with the built-in webcam for secure login. The Qosmio X505 has memory slots on the bottom and they are very easy to access, just under a screwed-on door.
The touch controls.
Horsepower and Performance
Toshiba currently offers the Qosmio X505 in both Intel Core i5-430M dual core and Core i7-720QM quad core CPU configurations. The top of the line Core i7 version has a Blu-ray disc drive and an HD 1920 x 1080 display that increases the price from $1,199 for the Core i5 to $1,899. The mid-range $1,499 X505 has a Blu-ray drive and a Core i7 but lacks the HD display. All Qosmio X505 models have dedicated graphics powered by the NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M with 1GB GDDR5 memory, plus up to 1.3GB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory using NVIDIA TurboCache technology. So the total available graphics memory is really about 2.3 gigs. Gamers rejoice! The Qosmio X505 has 4GB DDR3 1066MHz memory in two SODIMM slots with a maximum memory capacity of 8 gigs. The 500 gig SATA, 7200rpm hard drive in our laptop was made by Hitachi and it benchmarked nicely. On the Qosmio X505 with Core i5 you get a DVD SuperMulti drive with Labelflash that supports 11 formats. The eject button on the DVD drive is very small and hard to find in the dark. The Toshiba has built-in Wi-Fi (Realtek) b/g/n, and only the Core i7 models have built-in Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR.
We put the Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q860 with the Intel Core i5 through PCMark Vantage benchmark tests and provide score comparison with the Lenovo ThinkPad T410 which also runs on the Intel Core i5 (though with a bit faster i5 CPU, the M420 at 2.53 GHz). The Qosmio scores a lot higher in gaming than the Lenovo thanks to the dedicated NVIDIA graphics. The Fujitsu LifeBook NH570 is another 18.4" notebook with the Intel i5 and NVIDIA GTS 330M graphics in the same price range, so we've included its benchmarks as well. We also provided the Windows 7 Experience Index numbers for the Qosmio X505-Q860 in comparison to the Qosmio X505-Q870 which runs an Intel Core i7-720QM at 1.62GHZ with 4 gigs DDR3 memory and the same graphics. As you can see the Q860 scores evenly with the Q870 in gaming and graphics.
PCMark Vantage Benchmark Results:
Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q860:
PCMark Suite: 6195
Memory Suite: 4536
TV and Movie Suite: 3672
Gaming Suite: 5688
Music Suite: 6292
Communication Suite: 4617
Productivity Suite: 5202
HDD Test Suite: 4076
3DMark06 score for Core i5/NVIDIA GTS 360M with 4 gigs RAM: 10,300
All productivity software runs smoothly on the Qosmio X505, and IE loads web pages very fast. Music playback, DVD playback and streaming video from Netflix all worked very well on the Qosmio, and even Hulu streams smoothly without noticeable frame drops. Flash can cause jerky Hulu playback on many notebooks including the Lenovo ThinkPad T410 also running on the Intel Core i5 CPU.
Since the Toshiba Qosmio X505 is blessed with such good gaming power, let’s look at the gaming experience. We tested games like Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, Crysis and F.E.A.R 2 on the Qosmio, and found the notebook handled games like Modern Warfare 2 and F.E.A.R. 2 with ease. It managed Crysis much better than the last generation of gaming notebooks like the Gateway P-7808u FX running on the Intel Core 2 Quad with dedicated graphics. The average frame rate in Crysis was around 22 fps and in missions that gave older gaming notebooks trouble the Qosmio had a frame rate of 18 fps where other notebooks only got 5 fps.
Here's the gaming video we composed to demo gameplay:
CoD Modern Warfare 2 settings:
Resolution: 1680 x 945
Aspect Ratio: Auto
Screen Refresh Rate: 60 Hz
Sync Every Frame: No
Specular Map: Yes
Depth of Field: Yes
Soften Smoke Edges: Yes
Bullet Impacts: Yes
Texture Quality: Automatic
Resolution: 1680 x 945
Anti-aliasing quality: 4x
Objects Quality: High
Shadows Quality: High
Physics Quality: High
Shaders Quality: High
Volumetric Effects Quality: High
Game Effects Quality: High
Postprocessing Quality: High
Particles Quality: High
Water Quality: High
Sound Quality: High
Fear 2 Project Origin settings:
Resolution: 1600 x 900
Effects Detail: Maximum
Particle Bouncing: Medium
Shell Casings: On
World Detail: Maximum
Corpse Detail: Medium
Sound Quantity Limit: Medium
Water Resolution: Medium
Texture Level of Detail: Maximum
Enable Shadows: On
Texture Filtering Anisotropic 4x
Light Detail: Maximum
Shadow Detail: Maximum
Vertical Sync: On
Model Decals: Maximum
Motion Blur: On
Reflections and Displays: Maximum
Ambient Occlusion: On
The Toshiba Qosmio runs most applications at an acceptable 40-45 degrees Celsius CPU temperature. After running games like Crysis and Modern Warfare 2 for a few hours, the CPUs went up to 59 degrees Celsius and the GPU rose to 56 degrees Celsius with the GPU fan 100% deployed. The fan blows out from the back. So make sure that you don’t have anything blocking the heat vents.
Ports and Slots
The Toshiba Qosmio X505’s large body provides ample space for ports and slots. The Qosmio has 3 USB 2.0 ports plus 1 eSATA port that doubles as a Sleep and Charge USB port, an i.LINK port (IEEE-1394), an RJ-45 Ethernet port and a security lock slot. For video and audio, the Qosmio has a RGB monitor output port, an HDMI/HDMI-SEC (REGZA LINK) port, headphone port with S/P DIF support and a mic input port. For expansion, the Toshiba has an ExpressCard slot (ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54) and a memory card reader that works with SD, SDHC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO and MMC Cards.
The Toshiba Qosmio X505-Q860 comes with a 12-cell rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery that’s 8000 mAh in capacity. The size and weight of the notebook almost guarantee that it will not be a traveling notebook and that it will stay close to an AC outlet. What will further that scenario is the power supply that comes with the Qosmio, an 180W (19V x 9.5A) auto sensing AC adapter that’s literally almost as large as a brick (6.73 x 3.39 x 1.63 inches) and weighs almost 2 pounds. The power supply is a world charger with 100-240V at 50-60Hz.
Power brick and over-sized domestic building brick.
The Toshiba Qosmio X505 comes with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and Microsoft Works 9. Toshiba bundles its own DVD software for creating discs and playing DVDs, facial recognition software for fast and secure login, Toshiba ConfigFree utility as well as Toshiba recovery and power management eco utility. The Qosmio X505 also has the new Toshiba ReelTime, a dock-like interface that gives you a quick look at active applications/windows and one-click access to your documents, photos, videos and more. Like many Toshiba notebooks, Corel DVD MovieFactory for Toshiba is included.
Trial software includes a 60-day trial of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 Edition and a 30-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2010. There’s some bloatware as well, including “special offers” and Intuit Quickbooks and more.
The lid's pattern, close-up.
The Toshiba Qosmio X505 is among the largest notebooks at 18.4” and 9.7 lbs., and the CPU and graphics updates make it a powerful everyday desktop replacement and a darned good gaming machine. The Core i5 is cheaper with only the DVD drive option, but the video and gaming performance is quite good relative to the more expensive Core i7 models. If you must have a Blu-ray drive and/or an HD display, then you should look at the Core i7 models, but for those who don’t need a quad core machine or a Blu-ray drive, the Core i5 can save you a bundle. The Qosmio X505 has excellent audio and runs at decent temperatures even after hours of gaming. The keyboard could have more travel and the touch-control multimedia keys would have found a better location above the keyboard.
Pro: Gaming and video performance is great. The harman/kardon and Dolby Home Theater combination produces one of the best audio experiences on a notebook.
Con: Keyboard is a bit too flat. Upgrading to an HD 1080 display costs big bucks and the lower res display has poor viewing angles.
Display: 18.4” widescreen TruBrite TFT LCD display, 1680 x 945 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, native support for 720p content. VGA port onboard. NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M with 1GB GDDR5 discrete graphics memory, plus up to 1.3GB dynamically allocated shared graphics memory using NVIDIA TurboCache technology.
Battery: 12-cell 8000 mAh Lithium Ion battery. Power supply: 180W (19V x 9.5A) Auto-sensing, 100-240V, 50-60Hz AC adapter. Power supply dimensions: 6.73 x 3.39 x 1.63 inch. Power supply weight: 1.94 pounds.
Performance: Intel Core i5-M430 at 2.26 GHz (2.53GHz with Turbo Boost Technology), 3MB L3 cache. 4GB DDR3 1066MHz memory, 8 gigs max. Two main memory slots, both may be occupied. 500GB hard drive.
Size: 17.4 x 11.6 x 1.63 inches. Weight: starts at 9.7 pounds.
Drives: DVD SuperMulti drive with Labelflash supporting 11 formats. Maximum speed and compatibility: CD-ROM (24x), CD-R (24x), CD-RW (24x), DVD-ROM (8x), DVD-R (Single Layer, (8x)), DVD-R (Double Layer, (6x)), DVD-RW (6x), DVD+R (Single
Layer, (8x)), DVD+R (Double Layer, (6x)), DVD+RW (8x), DVDRAM (5x). Blu-ray Disc drive on the Core i7 models.
Networking: 10/100 Ethernet (Atheros), WiFi 802.11b/g/n (Realtek) and Bluetooth (only on the Core i7 models). Webcam with built-in mic.
Ports and Slots: 4 USB slots (one of them is Sleep and Charge and 1 eSATA), VGA, Ethernet RJ45, mic input port, headphone and S/P DIF combo jack, HDMI-CEC (REGZA Link) port, 5-in-1 media reader and ExpressCard 34mm slot.
Audio: Harman/kardon stereo speakers, Dolby Home Theater sound.
Software: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition OS. Microsoft Works 9 and Microsoft Silverlight preinstalled. Toshiba software includes Recovery Media, Toshiba ConfigFree, DVD Player, ReelTime, Power-saving eco utility, Face recognition and PC Health Monitor. MS Office 2007 60-day trial software and Norton Internet Security 2010 30-day trial included. Third party software includes Corel DVD MovieFactory for Toshiba and Adobe Acrobat Reader.