We have a term for technology like Toshiba’s Qosmio F755 laptop. It’s “demo cool.” It wows you in a demo, but after some serious testing, you’re not quite sure you’d want to use it day in and day out. Though we’re impressed by the technical achievement of Toshiba’s glasses-free 3D technology, it’s just not developed enough to earn our recommendation.
Unlike most stereoscopic 3D displays, which require you to wear a pair of 3D glasses, Toshiba’s lenticular display creates a stereoscopic 3D illusion with the naked eye. That illusion did impress us. Watching a 3D Blu-ray video of an aquarium, you are almost fooled into believing there are fish swimming around in the laptop. This technology works both in a window and full-screen, promising to integrate 3D into a normal part of the PC-using experience.
The webcam in Toshiba's F755 tracks the position of a user's eyes to create a convincing 3D image without the need for stereoscopic glasses.
There are, however, some downsides to a glasses-free 3D display. To maximize the effect, the laptop uses the webcam to track your head movements. We found that the 3D effect was best if one person watched the video, sitting right in front of the laptop, and keeping his or her head completely still. Head movement or an oblique viewing angle significantly reduced or disrupted the 3D effect. We also found the display slightly grainy, looking like there was a faint grid overlaying the screen, even when using the laptop for non-3D purposes. In addition, we experienced some eye strain after prolonged 3D viewing.
The biggest disappointment, though, was that 3D graphics drivers weren’t available in time for this review. With the right drivers, it should be possible, at least in theory, to play most games in stereoscopic 3D. However, the included Nvidia GeForce GT 540M with 1024MB GDDR3 doesn’t deliver cutting-edge gaming graphics. In our benchmarks, its frame rates were well below those of our zero-point gaming notebook. Even if the drivers worked, stereo 3D would cut that frame rate in half, since each frame would need to be rendered twice—making it even slower.
In our content creation benchmarks, the Qosmio F755 performed well, with the help of its 2GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM processor, 6GB DDR3/1333 memory, and 750GB, 5,400rpm hard drive. We were also pleased to see a rewritable Blu-ray drive; that’s a technology that should be included on every system.
With its power supply, the notebook weighs more than eight and a half pounds; that’s quite heavy for a device that only has a 15.6-inch display. The system lasted a respectable 102 minutes in our battery drain test.
Toshiba’s put together a technological marvel with the Qosmio, and its bright-red chassis looks pretty slick, too. We’re not sure, though, if the high price is justified by the limited utility. As of now, it’s only good for watching 3D Blu-ray movies, and the lenticular display has some obvious downsides. At this point, if you’re looking for a 3D laptop, you’re better off putting vanity aside and donning on a pair of 3D glasses.