With its Qosmio F750 3D Toshiba has removed what is probably the biggest barrier to 3D adoption (aside from the lack of good content), the need to wear glasses - this notebook boasts a glasses-free 3D display. In addition to its clever display, the Qosmio F750 3D looks to be an otherwise well-configured, and well-made notebook; on paper, at least, the combination sounds compelling.
Toshiba has chosen a particularly snazzy shade of red to adorn the outside of the Qosmio F750 3D, while sticking to a sensible black, with a touch of faux-carbon fibre, on the inside of the system. The touchpad looks almost improperly placed, offset slightly left of centre, but it is actually aligned to the middle of the keyboard with hands in a touch-typing position, which is better practically, if not aesthetically. Oddly, the surface of this touchpad sits flush with the palm rest surrounding it, rather than recessed as is more usual, with only a rougher texture discerning it. The lack of any indication that the edges can be used for scrolling is another small annoyance.
The keyboard is a decent, if not outstanding, example. The keys are well-spaced, and have a reasonably good feel. In order to fit in a numeric pad, Toshiba has had to shrink the size down to slightly less than full size, which means that both the backspace and return keys are reduced, making them slightly harder to hit. However, it doesn't take to long to get used to this.
The buttons that really let the Qosmio F750 3D down sit along to top right of the keyboard. Aside from being touch-sensitive, rarely a positive attribute, they operate inconsistently. The Wi-Fi and 3D mode toggle, for instance, flash to acknowledge their activation, but offer no clue as to whether they are on or off (other indicators do, but it is still confusing), while the mute button also dims all of the laptop's backlights - including one above the touch pad. Nonetheless, having less than perfect dedicated controls of these functions is still better than having none at all.
Either a positive or negative considering your disposition is the boat-load of pre-installed software that Toshiba supplies. McAffee anti-virus isn't a terrible inclusion, even if Microsoft's free alternative is an equally good (and less intrusive) option, but the pre-installation of Skype and a trial of Office 2010 are more likely to be unnecessary, or even immediate uninstalls, for many users.
Toshiba's proprietary DVD and Blu-ray playback software enables the 3D capabilities of the Laptop to work fully. This ties in with a piece of third-party software by a company called SuperD, that uses face-tracking to adjust the 3D effect to work as effectively as possible depending on your position.
Although the glasses-free 3D technology inside the Qosmio F750 3D's display frees you from the constraints of wearing glasses, it still has drawbacks of its own. 3D video is not displayed at the laptop's native resolution, but rather at what Toshiba claims is "equivalent to 1,366 x 768 pixels" - unless you sit back from the screen it could be an annoyance as 3D only highlights the lower resolution. It's also worth noting that engaging the 3D mode gives the image a strange sheen, and it takes a little while for the eyes to adjust to this. Finally, because of the way the glasses-free 3D works, it only does so for one person (or, if you want to push it, two with their heads pressed right together).
Aside from those issues, the glasses-free 3D works as advertised. It has to be conceded that if 3D is your bag, it looks as good as it ever will on the Qosmio F750 3D, though I still wouldn't go so far as to claim that Despicable Me is any more enjoyable a film with its characters bursting out of the screen on occasion. The Qosmio F750 3D also has a 2D to 3D conversion utility, that attempts to add an extra dimension to 2D DVDs, but suffice to say it is probably best left unused.
3D gimmickry aside, the screen does a good job of presenting a crisp, bright and vivid picture, as we've come to expect from LED-backlit displays. The 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution gives a pixel pitch that feels right for the 15.6in size of the screen. Text is sharp, but not too small to read comfortable, and there's enough desktop real estate to get some serious work done without too much difficulty.
The components nestled within the Qosmio F750 3D's chassis do their part to aid in the pursuit of productivity, too. A 2.2GHz Core i7-2670QM processor is joined by 6GB of RAM, a 640GB hard drive and a fairly powerful nVidia GeForce GT540 graphics chip, equipped with 2GB of its own memory. For the majority of everyday computing tasks this makes the Qosmio F750 3D more than capable, and even gives the system enough headroom to play a few games; Battlefield 3 on high settings proved an unsurprising stretch, but Team Fortress 2 ran without any issues.
Frustratingly, neither SYSmark nor MobileMark seemed willing to run on the Qosmio F750, but in subjective testing it more than handled every task we could throw at it, from photo editing, to video conversion, with aplomb. However, performance comes with a downside: powerful components and a large, bright display don't make for extraordinary longevity on battery, unfortunately. Getting much more than a couple of hours doing anything particularly intensive would be a small miracle.
Even ignoring its party piece, the Qosmio F750 3D makes a good impression. It's well-featured, offers good performance, and is attractively (not to mention sturdily) built. The glasses-free 3D technology makes its own compromises to avoid that of having to wear headgear, but works well enough. Even the price isn't terrible - the cost of the Qosmio F750 3D is certainly an easier pill to swallow than some of Toshiba's more expensive 3D models, such as the Qosmio X770 laptop.
Manufacturer: Toshiba (opens in new tab)
Price: £1,299 (opens in new tab)