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First Look

Positioned as a desktop replacement, the Qosmio F50-10K is equipped with a 15-inch LCD display. 17-inch screens, which are more appropriate for such market positioning, are installed in Qosmio G models. The F50-10K can even be viewed as a high-performance mobile solution as it weighs no more than 3 kilos and its dimensions are quite typical for a 15-inch notebook. Unfortunately, Toshiba did not include a bag or pouch to carry the notebook in into the kit.

The first impression about a notebook is emotional, and the manufacturers try hard to make their products memorable and attractive. However, tastes differ and it’s next to impossible to suit everyone’s aesthetic preferences. I am personally not enthusiastic about the Toshiba designers’ ideas. The Qosmio series has been changing repeatedly, getting less and less restrained and austere. As a result, the F50-10K lacks any straight lines in its countenance, but has a striped texture and bright white LEDs on the case. Although painted black and white, the notebook doesn’t look quite serious to me.

I don’t like the quality of the materials, either. The notebook is made from glossy plastic painted gray on the lid and almost black inside. Just as you can expect, the plastic gets soiled easily. Scratches, dust and greasy fingerprints are all just too visible on it. It is a shame there is only one cleaning napkin included with the notebook. Besides, the plastic is not rigid enough. The notebook’s lid can be easily pressed in down to the LCD screen, and the interior surfaces also bend too much. Well, I should acknowledge that the case does not really screech or twist because it has a rigid base made from a tougher material. Anyway, the notebook doesn’t look sturdy to me, and you should be careful when carrying it with you.

Thus, the Qosmio F50-10K is not immaculately designed despite its high price. Although the designers have tried to make it look luxurious, for example by adding the metallic framing of the interior surface, the low quality of the material spoils the effort. The characteristic plastic burls on the pseudo-metallic frame look particularly awful.

The white shining elements adorning the notebook – the stripes between the touchpad and keyboard, the rim of the volume control, the touch-sensitive buttons below the main keyboard, and the decorative LEDs near the speakers – do not make it any better. Frankly speaking, this illumination is even bad because it will dazzle the user at work. Fortunately, you can turn it off with a special button.

Well, not all users are so fastidious about a notebook’s exterior. More importantly, the developers have made some mistakes in terms of consumer properties. First of all, I mean the notebook’s 15-inch display. Its size and resolution of 1440x900 may be more or less normal for a multimedia computer, but its matrix is too low quality. The display has very small viewing angles, especially vertical angles. The developers have obviously used a far-from-best version of a TN matrix. The maximum brightness of the screen may also prove to be too low for comfortable work under bright ambient lighting, especially as it has a special glossy coating called TruBrite. And one more ergonomic drawback of the Qosmio F50-10K is that you cannot unfold it by more than 135 degrees. I had really expected more from such an expensive notebook!

I don’t mean the Qosmio F50-10K has no good points at all. Its Harman Kardon audio system consisting of two speakers (located above the keyboard and directed at the user) and a subwoofer (in the bottom panel and directed downward) is comparable to inexpensive standalone speakers, which is good for a notebook. The external volume control – a wheel located under the keyboard – is handy, too.

The audio subsystem supports Dolby Sound Room technology to deliver surround sound via two speakers or headphones.

The keyboard is high quality, too. Although it bends under a strong pressure, I have no complaints about the design of its buttons which do not rattle and move softly. The keyboard has a standard layout, its keys being large enough for comfortable work.

Located in its traditional place below the keyboard, the touchpad has a rough, uneven, surface that feels nice at first but may be irritating if you use it for long. The touchpad buttons have sufficient stiffness. There is a fingerprint scanner between them – I don’t quite understand why it is integrated into a multimedia desktop-replacement notebook. A third touchpad button would be more appropriate.

Above the keyboard and between the speakers there is a row of touch-sensitive multimedia buttons together with buttons to turn off the highlighting and turn on the web-camera. Like the volume control rim and the decorative strip above the touchpad, these buttons are highlighted in white at work.

The indicators on the notebook’s front panel have the same highlighting.

The monochrome color scheme of the notebook is somewhat disrupted by three color LEDs: blue for the 1.3-megapixel web-camera and two orange LEDs for the wireless interfaces and the optical drive.

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