Introduction

We recently received Toshiba's latest X305-Q725 laptop, which targets the mobile gaming sector. We have our own thoughts on what is best in this sort of market, and we know plenty of people that think this sector is a joke, to put it bluntly. However, while many people have no interest in desktop replacement notebooks, there are users that want this sort of system, and this review is targeted at that audience. Everything clear? Good, let's continue.

This is the first laptop we've been able to test that ships with a quad-core CPU, and moreover it's a Penryn-based mobile quad-core chip as opposed to one of the larger units that simply uses a desktop CPU. The processor isn't left without a supporting cast, though, with NVIDIA's current top-end mobile GPU, a 64G SSD backed by a 320GB HDD, 4GB RAM, and Windows Vista 64-bit Ultimate. How does the laptop perform and where are its strengths and weaknesses? That's what we're here to find out.


Right from the start, we know that this isn't going to be a laptop for everyone. When we mentioned battery life testing, our marketing contact was quick to point out that mobility wasn't a primary focus of this system. We agree with that assessment, but that doesn't mean we don't think gaming laptops inevitably have to have poor battery life. NVIDIA has worked with Intel and other companies to provide for hybrid graphics solutions where the discrete GPU can be disabled to conserve battery life, turning over graphics duties to the integrated solution. With high-end mobile GPUs using 10-20W even when idle, the ability to shut off such components could prove extremely useful. Unfortunately, Toshiba didn't attempt to provide such functionality, so the 9800M GTX is a constant drain on the battery. Couple that with a quad-core CPU, dual hard drives (one SSD and one 7200RPM drive), and plenty of other extras and we're once again looking at a laptop that is far more of a transportable desktop replacement (DTR) as opposed to a mobile computing solution.

There's nothing wrong with that sort of design, of course: plenty of people could use a portable workstation they can easily move between the home, clients, and office. We still think Toshiba could do more to address battery life, but the fact is all of the other components would still keep battery life under two hours in all likelihood. Until we get quad-core CPUs that can fully power down extra cores, plus supposedly better power management courtesy of Windows 7, the ability to get top-end AC performance without killing battery life remains out of reach.

So, what exactly does the Toshiba X305-Q725 offer, how much does it cost, and is it worth it? Let's get to it and find out.

Notebook Overview
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  • Beno - Thursday, March 19, 2009 - link

    "there are users that want this sort of system, and this review is targeted at that audience. Everything clear? Good, let's continue."
    these users need professional help!
    Reply
  • szcsongor - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    Why? It's that hard to imagine that there are people (as me) who are travelling a lot (and working in different countries) AND who want a system, what is good for work and playing with the latest games? Travelling with a desktop PC is rather difficult...
    The truth is that I bought this rig in a refurbished (but perfect) condition for 1800USD, and for this price I think it wan't a bad deal. I wouldn't have paid 2000+USD for it either...
    Reply
  • InternetGeek - Sunday, March 15, 2009 - link

    I for one find the Qosmio's shape horrible, but the computer is a decent one. That Clevo smokes it on most benchmarks though, and does look nice as well. Where would you buy one online?

    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, March 15, 2009 - link

    AVA Direct, Sager, and WidowPC all come to mind immediately. Eurocom is another option. The last I looked, I think Sager was actually the cheapest place for a fully equipped Clevo D901C system, but that can change at any time. Also, as I mentioned in a blog post, Clevo is coming out with the D900F that will use Core i7 desktop CPUs, so if you want more performance that's an option come ~April. Reply
  • Globemaster - Friday, March 13, 2009 - link

    I'm away from home for up to 220 days per year, so without my Sager (Clevo 901C) I wouldn't be able to play the games I want, ever. My limited time at home needs to be spent keeping up the house/yard and with the family. I only get to game on the road, hence the utility of these types of notebooks - it's obviously a niche, but it seems like almost everything is these days. Reply
  • vj8usa - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    How come the specs of the laptops being compared against aren't all listed? It'd be nice to know what kind of hardware you're pitting this laptop against. It'd also be nice to perhaps put the CPU/GPU of each laptop next to its name in the charts. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    If you visit the http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/">Mobile section of our site, you'll be able to find all the specs of recently tested laptops. Most of them are in the http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=339...">gaming laptop roundup, and then there's a http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=341...">couple more http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=343...">laptop roundups. The http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=337...">Gateway P-7811 was covered in a separate article. I suppose I could try to include specs, but the problem is with this many laptops included in results the specs page would get very long. I sort of assume people that follow the mobile articles have read the previous reviews and know what to expect, but that's obviously not the case all the time. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    Nice article, but I'd like to request that you put a "higher is better" or "lower is better", or whatever determines better for each of color graphs. Only the last one says "lower is better" and I'm completely naive to these tests. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    All of the graphs are sorted so that the better scores are at the top of the charts. As for what the terms mean, I discuss that more in depth in an article I http://www.anandtech.com/displays/showdoc.aspx?i=2...">wrote a while back. In terms of what they should be, normally I'm fine with a maximum brightness of 200 nits, and a contrast ratio of 500:1 or better.

    Color accuracy and gamut are nice to have, but if you don't do image editing or color matching it often doesn't matter. If that's the case, good black levels might be more important than raw color accuracy. Watch a movie on a display with a poor black level, and even if the colors were accurate you'd likely be somewhat annoyed by the missing blacks.

    Hope that helps some.
    Reply
  • 7Enigma - Thursday, March 12, 2009 - link

    That makes it much easier. Maybe just a single line (if you don't want to put Lower/Higher is better) at the beginning of the section saying they are ranked from best to worst in each of the graphs? For instance, I have a pretty good understanding of calibration from performing maintainence on my RPTV, and so things like contrast, black level, color bleed into white, etc. I get. So I get that contrast ratio should be high, but didn't necessarily think the black level number should be low (makes sense now, but not when I was first viewing the charts).

    Anyways very nice review. I especially liked that you qualified the review in the first paragraph (and reiterated throughout) stating whom this laptop is targeted at which should (hopefully) limit the regular criticisms in the comments section against this niche market. I personally don't have a use for it, but enjoy reading about the new mobile pseudo-desktops, and certainly understand their value for several different professions.

    Now go and pressure Anand for the SSD roundup! :) Please...
    Reply

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