on 2 December 2011
I have to start by stressing that I base this review purely off a different version of the Qosmio X range.
I bought the Qosmio X500-128 over a year ago, and have suffered continually for it. Before I get onto the main point of the review, I would like to add that Toshiba pack the Qosmio range with all the bells and whistles it can think of, and some of them work. However, lots are short-lived, and the huge volume of background services that Toshiba have running to allow for all the mildly interesting and mostly redundant extra features, like Toshiba ReelTime (probably the most pointless program I have ever come across), have an effect on the system much like a small migraine has on a brain. The brain goes on functioning, but that migraine will keep on slowing it down and serves only to be a very noticeable irritation.
Anyway, the first problem I noticed was the sudden appearance of a BSOD only 2 months into the life of my new laptop. This escalated within 3 weeks to 5 BSODs. I contacted Toshiba about this, and was told that it was likely due to software I had installed, or an old driver (on a 2 month old laptop, mind) and that I could restore to a previous point or revert back to factory settings, which was a feature of the Toshiba laptop, as it has a split drive (which actually is just irritating, causes me to have to jiggle stuff between the two as it fills up, and doesn't even work as intended as I will go on to explain).
I reverted the laptop to factory settings, and all was well for another month. Then I got the dreaded BSOD again (with no software changes, and it actually became 7 BSODs over the next 2 weeks). Further on this, the fingerprint scanner started messing around, working intermittently and generally not doing what it was designed to do. I contacted Toshiba about the BSODs and was told the same thing as before, with a non-sincere apology for the inconvenience, as is standard protocol and pretty much robotically applied to all customer complaints. I decided I could manage with a slightly faulty fingerprint scanner, as I had no real time for sending my laptop off, seeing as I had a lot of work to do, and was working away from home anyway.
Having reverted the system back to factory settings for the second time, I went through the long process of setting my system back up as necessary, being a little more wary with any programs I didn't really need, to try to limit the effect in case I was to blame.
The next 4 months went by much the same as ever, with BSODs popping up, then reverting back to factory settings, followed by a short period of peace before repeating.
Then the fingerprint scanner stopped working altogether. Not only did it no longer read fingerprints, it didn't even show up as a connectable device under Device Manager. This was swiftly followed by more BSODs, and some other errors.
The final straw came half a month before the end of the 1 year warranty. I was about to head back home, but the computer kept crashing, and then it decided not to start up at all. I'd done a backup recently, but was still concerned. The computer refused to start up, telling me it was missing a system file, rdyboost.sys. From what I understand, this isn't a major system file anyway, but it refused to start at all. The feature on the D drive that is supposed to cover these situations (as it has a system file backup contained in it) failed to do a damn thing. I then remembered that I had made a system backup disc, which is suggested by Toshiba by a window that pops up every time you start up. I thought this would be the very problem it was useful for. It turned out, however, that the 2-disc system files back-up couldn't sort out the problem. In fact, the discs didn't help at all, seeing as the computer refused to acknowledge that they contained anything of use at all. So, with that option out the window, I called Toshiba and was told that the hard drive was probably corrupted, so I had it booked in for repairs, stating also that the fingerprint scanner was faulty. I was told that, despite the obvious fundamental flaw in the idea, they couldn't look at both issues at the same time, but had to focus on one problem at a time, then send it back when they thought it might have been resolved. When you factor in that Toshiba sends their laptops to be repaired in Germany, this becomes something of an insanely stupid notion, but as I don't pay for postage and packaging at least, let Toshiba pay out for the extra mileage by all means.
Before I finished the call, I also pointed out that there may be some data on the D section of the drive that might not have been in my backup, and was it possible to retrieve it. This was firmly declined, because they don't provide that kind of service even within warranty and on their own hard drives. But I let this be, as I didn't believe it to be a big concern. I did ask whether they were able to restore my files onto the computer from the backups I had taken, of which there was a file backup and a system image. These had both been created with NTI Backup now EZ, a truly terrible backup program that came on a Toshiba portable hard drive I had purchased for the job. The guy on the other end of the phone said that they didn't do that, and that I shouldn't really use the system image because it may be corrupt, and that there might be problems with the file backup as well. When I asked him about the problems I'd had with NTI Backup now EZ (it generally restors 2 or 3 versions of random files all over the computer - I'm still clearing up copies now as it costs me well over 50GB in unnecessary duplicates), I was told that Toshiba aren't responsible for software on their own external hard drives, and they couldn't help me. I gave up hoping for any more help, and hung up.
Almost 2 weeks later, the laptop returned. The hard drive had been replaced, I believe was the case, although the brief repair report was in German. Fortunately, they told me they had taken care of the many updates the system normally installs on the first start up, so the laptop should be ready to go. However, upon starting the laptop, a popup immediately came up telling me the fan in the computer wasn't working, and that the computer should be shut down immediately to prevent the system from overheating.
I called Toshiba again, and explained my predicament. I was told that it could just be a software-related bug, that the software was misinterpreting system readings and bringing up the fan alarm when it wasn't really an issue, and that I should revert to factory settings just in case. This I did, and then waited for the system to install the 104ish updates that I thought I had avoided. After this, surprise surprise, the same error pops up. However, I have now just left the warranty period. Upon calling them, I am told that it could be a problem, and despite my conviction that the fan problem can only have happened because of them (literally, what do they think I might have done - opened up the laptop and broken the fan within minutes of receiving my laptop back from them), I'm told that it's now a hazy issue, whether they can actually accept the repair as free of charge. Eventually, after the man on the other end of the phone has spent 15 minutes calling other departments to find out the exact policy on repairs that fall into the category I'm in, I'm told that they "very generously" (their words exactly) will look into the issue free of charge, unless it turns out to be something I've done wrong, in which case I'm liable to pay for postage, packaging and repair myself. So off the laptop goes again.
I finally get the laptop back, and for some reason the fingerprint scanner works again despite no mention in the repairs (presumably to do with the corrupted hard drive). I have been using the laptop for a further 5 months now, and have had BSODs sporadically, and occasionally the wireless card needs resetting or it loses connection entirely for no apparent reason, and the system appears to be slowing.
In summary, there is a reason that Toshiba discontinued the Qosmio X500-128 less than 6 months after I purchased it. It didn't work. It was faulty, it was overstated, it was too packed for its own good, and I suspect it was unstable from the start. The one feature that remained mostly reliable through it all, a great graphics card, was squashed slightly by the fact that they chose to fit this laptop out with a 1680 x 945 screen, instead of a 1920 x 1080 screen which would really have demonstrated its true ability.
All in all, a real shame, and my experience has destroyed my belief in Toshiba's abilities to produce quality laptops.