A Design Out of Time

Toshiba's Qosmio F755 chassis occupies a strange halfway point between last generation's 18-inch behemoth and the sleeker, modern 17-inch X775. While the F755 is smaller than either, its style is like a slightly muted version of its predecessor yet missing some of the aspects of the X775 that make it more appealing than previous Qosmio notebooks.

The F755 continues Toshiba's ancient commitment to glossy plastic everywhere, but the patterned style used on the lid and palm rest at least helps to shore up some of the major problems of the material. I found the Qomsio F755 to be a lot better about not picking up fingerprints than many of the other glossy notebooks I've tested. The red lid and reddish trim around the body of the notebook is actually fairly attractive, and I like the style of the hinge and the gentle slope upward, allowing Toshiba's engineers to use the back of the notebook for a couple of ports.

What I'm really not a fan of is Toshiba's glossy tile keyboard. While the one used on the F755 is actually reasonably comfortable to use, it's still a major step back from the chiclet keys used in the X775 and most of Toshiba's modern notebooks. The action in the individual keys is good, though, and Toshiba seems to be one of the only manufacturers that's putting real, intelligent thought into keyboard layouts on 15.6" notebooks. Every time I see a notebook at 13.3" or bigger that doesn't have dedicated document navigation keys, I die a little inside, so Toshiba's commitment at a time when other manufacturers' keyboards are getting slimmer and slimmer is much appreciated. I can't seriously be the only person in the world who uses those keys with regularity.

The touchpad is a part of the palm rest (which always looks chintzy to me), but the texture is different and I found it easy enough to use that I never connected an external mouse while I was testing the F755 (except when gaming). The glossy silver plastic used for the buttons picks up fingerprints horribly, though.

Truth be told I like the overall aesthetic of the F755 a bit more than many of Toshiba's other notebooks, particularly the use of white LEDs as a tertiary color, and I'm a fan of the style of hinge Toshiba uses here. Yet the overreliance on glossy plastic still bothers me, and the tile keyboard was a horrendous idea that never should've seen the mileage it did. It's not as bad as Acer's old floating island keyboard (you can't imagine how happy I am to see they're migrating away from that disasterpiece), but it was never a good idea and the notion that glossy keys are "premium" is insane. Premium keys are supposed to work better than regular ones, not worse.

Introducing the Toshiba Qosmio F755-3D290 Application and Futuremark Performance
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  • chillmelt - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    Color me blind but.. really? Why is the weakest A8 APU always being compared to some of Intel's best CPUs, on stock settings (reference sample) no less? An appropriate A8 APU can at least run around with a 6770M GPU. It's not like laptops with 3530-MX and discrete GPUs don't exist... Reply
  • silverblue - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    I can see your point. The 3500M has a stock speed of 1.5GHz and turbo of 2.4GHz, whereas the 3530MX is 1.9/2.6. Even if you spend all your time at turbo with a single thread, it's still going to be a little faster in anything but GPU-limited situations, and for general workloads, decently quicker. However, perhaps AMD haven't sent one over to AT just yet; we can't expect a review on something they've not been given.

    I'm quite pleased to see the 3500M still very high up the battery charts even with a relatively small battery. A 3530MX with a 71Wh battery would be sweetness indeed if only they could attach a decent panel to the thing.
    Reply
  • ckryan - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    I just continue to be amazed at the ridiculous nature of displays being ham-fisted into laptops these days. On average, even high end laptops have dismal screens, so when a laptop has a decent screen it's reason to take notice. If there was one thing I could convince manufacturers like Dell, HP, Toshiba, Samsung, Sony, etcetera etcetera, it's that the display is so vitally important. Years back, everyone wanted a laptop. Now everyone wants a tablet. I use laptops less and less (when I can help it, that is) because my $99 TouchPad has a superior display. Now, I need a laptop and couldn't accept a tablet as a replacement but many can. Better screens won't stop the slide of laptops, but I think it would help. I know I won't buy another laptop until I can get one with a display in the style of my desktop, TV, and tablet (which is to say, good and IPS). It's difficult to tell people what it's all about, but I believe consumers with exposure to great displays are going to catch on to laptops with similar screens even if they aren't hip to the nomenclature.

    The Qosmio may have a terrible display, but it's not in rare company. In the same way, Dustin's AIO reviews reveal that if you're going to buy an all in one, display options are not stellar their either. Dell is the 800lb gorilla with questionable judgement -- Dell has an eIPS touch screen desktop monitor, but won't put it in their AIO. Getting a decent panel in a Dell notebook is like playing Russian Roulette. In the mean time, Apple is pushing better displays in mobile products and their AIOs. You'd figure with all the cribbing going on that PC makers could at least steal Apple's idea to put a halfway decent LCD in a product. Macbooks have TN panels, but at least Apple gives you a less-than-godawful TN panel for your money. Sure, some laptops don't have awful displays, but that's just because the bar is set so damn low.
    Reply
  • ananduser - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    Well HP has IPS Radiance displays in their 15" Envy. Sony has some nice mate screens going on. Things aren't so bleak as you make them sound. Reply
  • r3loaded - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    There are several people like you and me (at least certainly on the internet) who yearn for a decent screen in a laptop. While HP do offer IPS in their Envy and EliteBooks and Lenovo have some high-end laptops with similar screens, the rest of the market offers nothing. The new AOC monitor that was just announced has shown it's possible to make a 23 inch IPS monitor for $200 (even if it's eIPS rather than H-IPS), which is not a lot more than TN competitors. It's therefore possible to make laptops with IPS screens that don't cost insane amounts.

    Unfortunately, manufacturers are still stuck in their race to the bottom mentality, and still can't work out how to build a laptop from good quality materials with a good screen. It's borderline insane that a $500 tablet has a better screen and build quality than several $1000+ laptops.
    Reply
  • Draconian - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    $1700 for a 540M? Bah. You can buy a Clevo P170HM with a 6990M for $1800. Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    from the review: The i7-2630QM and its successor the i7-2670QM are, in my opinion, the price/performance/power sweet spot of the mobile market right now

    I happen to own for work a latitude with the 2630QM and yes it is great and low powerconsumption when idle. But Dell is asking 120$ more for a cpu upgrade from 2540M.

    That is 120$ for a 0.2ghz more? nah 2630 aint the sweetspot i would never add that much money for a bit more cpu, that is just throwing money away. SNB is very efficient so a 2.5 with turbo to 3.2 with HT not enough.... i call that imagination and bsht.
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    The reason for that bump in price is because the 2540M is a dual core processor, while the 2630QM is a quad core. The extra cores are worth it, at least in my opinion. For garden variety crap I don't know that I'd care that much, but for any kind of real work I'd take the quad every time. Reply
  • Menty - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    Aye, the Q stands for quad :). The 2540's a dual. Reply
  • duploxxx - Wednesday, November 23, 2011 - link

    you are right, i was comparing with my 2620M.

    Any kind of real work quad any time... for what to drag about, a mobile device doesn't require SNB quad unless you want to use it as a workstation or to drag about it... that will be really the bulk of users... I would trade that Quad for a daul any day, with the price difference you buy an SSD which makes the laptop fast. Not the money you give away for a few unused slower cores more.

    this design is totally out of balance
    Quad SNB
    5400RPM HD
    Reply

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