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A Qosimo By Any Other Name

Holiday Buyer's Guide 2005
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It has taken us a few weeks to figure out how to pronounce the name of this notebook by Toshiba; we prefer to call it "Big Bertha".

The Toshiba Qosmio G25 is powerful and good-looking, but also big and heavy.

In our full review of the Toshiba Qosmio G25-AV513 we call it a "beautiful monster," primarily because of its size and heft (that's the monster part) and because of its stunning good looks. With dimensions of 16 x 11.5 x 1.9" (40.6 x 29.2 x 4.8 cm), it sure is a big 'un, and at 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg) - not including carrying sleeve or power supply brick - it's not exactly light, either. These characteristics explain why Toshiba takes great pains to position it as a desktop replacement, and to de-emphasize the portability aspect.

With a Pentium M 760 2.0 GHz CPU and 1 GB of DDR2 PC4200 memory, along with two 2.5" (6.3 cm) SATA hard disks and a dual layer DVD±RW/CD-RW optical drive, it makes a pretty darn good PC, notebook or not. The 17" LCD screen also offers a large, bright image and great display quality, and the built-in Harmon Kardon speakers do a good job for their size. And of course, because this unit's a Media Center PC, it also includes various audio-out options. These include a cleverly-disguised TOSLINK optical SP/DIF output to hook the unit up to an entertainment center, plus the usual coax/RCA connectors, and a capable Hauppauge PVR-150MCE TV tuner/capture card.

One of the best things about this Qosmio is how easy it is to set up and use, a feature that many Media Center PCs could do well to emulate. While the built-in display works reasonably well for watching TV or DVDs, the unit is also easy to cable up to an external television set, be it a conventional SDTV or a more modern HDTV rig. (While the unit does not include HDTV capabilities per se, Avermedia and other vendors offer PC Card HDTV tuners that can remedy this situation.) It also comes equipped with the InterVideo WinDVD DVD player/decoder software, and is ready to play back movie or even sound DVDs as soon as it's unpacked and booted up.

But beyond the unit's multimedia capabilities, there's a lot more to like about this Qosmio. It arrives equipped with scads of software, including a collection of over 20 Toshiba tools and programs that include setup and diagnostic tools, an optical drive silencer, RAID software, power saver utilities, and a lot more. Third-party goodies likewise abound, including Micosoft Office OneNote 2003, MS Works 8.0, WinDVD Creator 2 Platinum, Sonic Solutions RecordNow Basic, Quicken New User Edition 2005, Easy Firewall, and more. Add Microsoft Windows XP 2005 Media Center Edition to the mix, and you've got everything needed to set up a capable home or small office system, above and beyond its multimedia role.

At an MSRP of just about $3,000, this unit doesn't come cheap. But its sleek good looks make it welcome in the living room (even on a coffee table) and its power and capability make it useful in both the office and the bedroom (where it makes a pretty nice little media center all by itself). Santa may have to stretch to fit this into his budget, but boy, will somebody be happy when they see it under the tree!

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