• Price: 1870

  • Company: Toshiba

  • Pros: Plenty of power and a great screen. HD DVD playback is a neat extra. Good looks.

  • Cons: Pricey, and very heavy.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

Toshiba’s latest luxury notebook is the first portable computer to pack an HD DVD drive for playing high-definition content. However, the Qosmio G30-163 is more than just an expensive toy for cash-flashing consumers.

The unit’s specs are enough to please any creative. It’s powered by a 2GHz Core Duo T2500 processor, 1GB of DDR2 SD RAM, and a 256MB NVidia GeForce Go 7600 graphics card. This setup will run most creative applications without a problem, and you’ve got two 120GB hard drives on which to store your projects.

The ability to play HD DVD content is a great novelty too, and would impress clients. The screen complements the HD output – the 17-inch widescreen display has a native resolution of 1,920-x-1,200 pixels, and a glossy finish to increase the viewing angles. The screen gets its power from two lamps instead of the usual single lamp, bumping up the picture’s brightness considerably.

The disc drive doubles up as a dual-layer DVD burner, so you don’t miss out on essential functionality for the sake of HD playback. However, you do pay a premium for the HD drive.

The G30 has been designed with the living room as well as the office in mind – so it’s stylish and wouldn’t look out of place in either. However, it’s bulky, and weighs over 4.5kg.

The ergonomics of the unit make it easy to work with. A full-size keyboard is coupled with an innovative dual-mode trackpad. The second mode sees its corners become hot spots for choosing pre-selected tools, applications, or links.

Among its other connections are four USB 2.0 ports, one Type II PC Card slot, and one ExpressCard slot compatible with the ExpressCard/34 and ExpressCard/54 standards. A four-in-one media card reader is provided as well.

The G30-163 is ideal for the creative. The first notebook to offer HD DVD playback doesn’t come cheap, though. However, Toshiba has put together a powerful package that will satisfy your design needs as well give you early-adopting kudos.