Leisure on Your Laptop

From entertainment center to central processing unit.

Your mobile computer is no longer just for work on the run: Now you can catch up anywhere on that episode of CSI you recorded on your notebook's hard drive. Toshiba's new Qosmio laptops (www.qosmio.com) jam a PC, movie theater, digital video recorder (DVR), instant-on TV set, photo gallery, and music player into one sleek machine.

I test-drove the $2,999 Qosmio G15-AV501, featuring a bright, 17-inch wide-screen display. Its DVR allows you to pause and rewind live television as well as record your favorite shows using the dual-drive 100 GB storage or the DVD SuperMulti burner. Or use the buttons in front of the keyboard to launch TV or movies without booting up. Seasoned multitaskers can surf the Web and crunch spreadsheets with the TV screen's size reduced, or with sound in the background.

The Qosmio's Harman/Kardon surround-sound speakers are impressive for a notebook -- the guitars on U2's new song "Vertigo" rang out in all directions. A Raiders of the Lost Ark DVD looked terrific on the wide-screen LCD; I forgot I was staring at a laptop screen. And the integrated Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG network connectivity maximizes the Wi-Fi signal.

The one big downside: My battery lasted for only 1 hour and 38 minutes, not the best for a Pentium M notebook -- but not surprising for a laptop offering the wonders of live television.

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