Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/25/review_toshiba_qosmio_dx730_102_all_in_one_desktop_pc/

Toshiba Qosmio DX730 PC TV combo

Touchscreen desktop entertainer

By Cliff Joseph

Posted in Hardware, 25th January 2012 12:00 GMT

Review

Toshiba’s Qosmio laptops regularly appear in our hardware reviews but the new Qosmio DX730 is a bit of a departure. In fact, it’s not a laptop at all. It is, according to Toshiba, the very first desktop PC that they’ve ever released here in Europe. And it’s a pretty good one at that.

Toshiba Qosmio DX730-102 all-in-one desktop PC

Touching idea: Toshiba's Qosmio DX730

As you might expect with Toshiba’s background in consumer electronics, the DX730 very much puts its emphasis on entertainment and multimedia. The all-in-one unit provides a bright, sharp 23in touch-screen display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, as well as a hybrid analogue/digital TV tuner. An HDMI input is included too, so you can plug in a games console or set-top box. There’s also a rather nice set of custom-designed Onkyo speakers built into it, complete with a separate subwoofer.

Prices start at £699 for the DX730-100 model, which includes – shock horror – a 2.1GHz Intel Pentium B950, along with 4GB RAM, 1TB hard disk. For £799 you can step up to the DX730-101, which swaps the Pentium for a 2.2GHz Intel Core i3-2330M. On test is the top-of-the-range DX730-102, priced at £999, which runs a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-2430M and also throws in a Blu-ray player and 6GB RAM.

Toshiba Qosmio DX730-102 all-in-one desktop PC

Windows Media Centre-savvy remote is among the peripherals

The slimline system is neatly designed, with the screen and wireless mouse and keyboard all finished off in the same glossy ‘precious black’. I wasn’t wild about the keyboard, though, as the keys lie very flat and low and don’t feel very responsive. The sideways-mounted tray-loading Blu-ray drive is also a bit dodgy – it’s fiddly to insert disks, and the plastic tray mechanism feels rather flimsy.

Those are relatively minor flaws, though, and I was more irritated by the morass of bloatware that awaits you when you turn the PC on for the first time.

Toshiba Qosmio DX730-102 all-in-one desktop PC

Virtual keyboard: for when those Bluetooth batteries go flat

There’s a variety of programs and notifications that appear on the initial startup, and some of them linger afterwards too, making regular appearances to remind you to register the anti-virus software or start making a back-up. I particularly hated the customised iGoogle page on Internet Explorer, which replaces the normal clean and simple Google home page with a page full of rubbish.

Making contact

To make up for all that, I did have some fun playing with the touch-screen controls. Touch controls still seem to be a bit of a gimmick on desktop PCs, but they can be a quick alternative to using the mouse when performing simple tasks like launching a web browser or flicking through a batch of photos.

Toshiba Qosmio DX730-102 all-in-one desktop PC

Touch control configuration

I also like the fact that Toshiba’s Flicks software allows you to customise the touch controls for tasks such as stepping forwards or backwards through a series of web pages. However, typing on a virtual keyboard when you’re trying to do a Google search or enter a web address isn’t particularly comfortable or efficient. I’m afraid that Windows in its current form simply isn’t well suited to touchscreen operation.

Toshiba Qosmio DX730-102 all-in-one desktop PC

Rear sockets include HDMI and TV aerial connectivity

Going back to the mouse and keyboard, I found that the DX730 felt smooth and responsive when resorting to these options, and the clarity of the screen was a particular strong point. However, you could argue that the DX730 is a little underpowered for a desktop machine in this price range. It’s actually configured more like a laptop – perhaps no surprise there, Apple has been doing this with iMacs for years – as the Qosmio relies on a mobile CPU and Intel's HD 3000 integrated graphics. While it all works well enough, at this price I’d expect a discrete graphics card at the very least.

Toshiba Qosmio DX730-102 all-in-one desktop PC

On-screen touch controls for Windows Media Centre functions

Even so, the machine’s PCMark 7 score of 2680 was perfectly respectable and outperformed a number of the Core i5 laptops that we’ve tested recently. The latest 3DMark graphics test-suite wouldn’t run on the Intel integrated graphics, but the DX730 did manage a passable 30fps when running Far Cry 2 so it can handle a spot of casual gaming if it needs to. And, of course, there’s the HDMI-input option if you want to plug a games console into it as well.

Toshiba Qosmio DX730-102 all-in-one desktop PC

Entertaining options

The TV features work well too, allowing you to watch and record Freeview TV programs using Windows Media Centre. There’s a separate remote control included with the DX730, but you can use the touchscreen controls here too – and I actually had a bit of a Minority Report moment when realised I could use my fingers to flick through the TV guide and other options in Windows Media Centre. I was also pleasantly surprised by the Onkyo speakers, which gave the DX730 the best sound I’ve ever heard from any all-in-one PC or Mac.

Toshiba Qosmio DX730-102 all-in-one desktop PC

Somewhat pricey, but a decent performer overall

Verdict

For a desktop PC costing £1000 should a discrete graphics processor, and possibly a quad-core i5 would not seem out of place, but no doubt the additional cost of the touchscreen has seen corners cut here. Unlike Toshiba's Qosmio branded latops, this all-in-one PC is no gaming rig, but the sleek design and the versatile multimedia features of the DX730 will appeal to many home users, especially for use in a bedroom or study where it can also double up as a TV and music system. ®

More Desktop PC Reviews

Lenovo
ThinkCentre
Edge 91z
Apple
Mac Mini 2011
HP
TouchSmart 610
Sapphire
Edge HD
Apple
iMac 27in