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4 Hot Multimedia Notebooks Reviewed

The Toshiba Qosmio F45-AV412

The Qosmio F45 retails for less than half the price of the HDC. It’s considerably less bulky and hefty than the HDX as well, and is also smaller and lighter than other Qosmio models. In fact, this notebook comes fairly close to delivering most of the features that anyone might want in a truly portable media notebook PC.

Surprisingly, the unit lacks an HDMI connector (an essential hook-up for high-def output), which all the other notebooks in this article offer to their users.

We found the F45-AV412’s appearance oddly reminiscent of the Apple iPod, especially with its white keyboard deck and dark screen bezel and top deck. We’ll start with a rear view of this notebook, which displays the Qosmio logo emblazoned on the top deck, and hints at the keyboard deck with its white "center stripe" above the rear connectors.

A rear view of the Qosmio F45-AV412 with the top deck halfway lifted shows the logo on the deck but also shows the rear ports and connectors. From left to right, those are: DC power in, fan/ventilator port, VGA, S-Video, RJ-45 GbE and a security cable lock aperture.

The left edge of the unit, from left to right: two stacked USB ports, a PC-Card/Express Card slot, a Firewire connector plus a memory card reader (SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, and xD card).

The front edge has a cover latch at top center, and the optical drive tray, lower left, and that’s it.

The right edge of the unit, from left to right: two USB ports, wireless networking switch, audio ports (microphone in, line in and headphone) and a modem port.

The Qosmio F45 we received from Toshiba included an Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo T7100 processor that delivered reasonably snappy performance, even though the unit also included 4,200 rpm SATA drives (all others used 5,400 RPM drives) that managed to outperform the others anyway. The gory details appear in our benchmark results section later in this story.

The iPod-like appearance of the Qosmio F45 is most noticeable in our final photo of the unit, which shows the Vista desktop on its screen at the center of the shot, and the glossy white keyboard deck below, with blue-illuminated buttons aplenty to the left and right of the keys.

With the screen up, ready for use, the glossy white keyboard deck makes a stark contrast to the matte-black plastic used on the rest of the case.